Friday, October 4, 2019

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review)

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review)

Got an Instant Pot but don't know what to do with it? It's a common scenario - you get the latest kitchen gadget, one that's going to make your life easier, but it sits unused on your kitchen counter. There's a mental barrier to getting started with a small appliance you haven't used before. (There is for me anyway.) And the Instant Pot can be hit and miss. Cook something a smidge too long and you can turn it to mush. (I once made a soup with broccoli and all that was left of the broccoli was a bunch of green streaks in the soup broth.)

Fortunately you can turn to the experts for the help and inspiration you need to give your Instant Pot a fair shot - experts like Nisha Vora, author of The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook: Wholesome, Indulgent Plant-Based Recipes and creator of the popular blog Rainbow Plant Life.

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The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review) - Israeli Couscous and Lentils

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook has more than 90 nourishing recipes and a comprehensive guide to the Instant Pot and its functions. The wide range of vegan recipes includes Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Tacos, Sweet Potato Bean Burgers and Blueberry Cheesecake. 

From the "Satisfying Sides" chapter, I made Israeli Couscous and Lentils (above). The recipe calls for Israeli (also called pearl) couscous, which is slightly larger in size than regular couscous and adds a pleasant texture to the recipe. I was able to purchase the couscous at a bulk foods store. This dish also includes French (Puy) lentils for a good dose of fibre and protein. 

I must admit I didn't quite follow the directions - I forgot to pre-soak the lentils and I ended up cooking them on the stove for a bit so that they could cook in the Instant Pot in the same amount of time as the couscous. In the end my couscous and lentils dish appeared wetter than it does in the photo in the book. Perhaps I should have reduced the water in the recipe since the lentils were already cooked? I also swapped out the green olives for kalamata because I discovered we didn't have green olives in the cupboard. Either way, this hearty dish was quite tasty and worked well as a filling main dish with some fresh bread on the side. 

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review) - Red Curry Rice Noodle Soup

The next recipe I made from The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook is from the "Soups, Stews and Curries" section. Red Curry Rice Noodle Soup is a perfect recipe for a chilly fall day. Again I was short of a couple of ingredients - mainly fresh cilantro and basil - but the soup turned out to be delicious nonetheless. (The recipe does not call for broccoli - I cooked that separately with garlic and olive oil and threw it on top for ease of serving.)

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review) - Peach Raspberry Crisp in Instant Pot

Of course I had to sample something from the cookbook's desserts chapter. Peach-Raspberry Crisp seemed a tempting choice, with its foundation of peaches and raspberries and crisp topping of rolled oats, flour, walnuts and sugar. Once again I came up short on ingredients (planning wasn't my strong suit this week!). I used frozen raspberries in place of fresh, regular all-purpose flour instead of almond flour and omitted the walnuts. (We ran out of walnuts, plus the kids don't like them anyway.) With all of these changes, the crisp was still satisfying and delicious.

The recipe involves making the filling in the Instant Pot and the topping on the stove in a skillet.

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review) - Peach Raspberry Crisp Topping

Despite the two steps, it really doesn't take much time at all to prepare this tasty crisp. The topping can be whipped together while the fruit is cooking. While the topping cools, you make a cornstarch or arrowroot slurry to thicken the fruit filling (on the Instant Pot's saute setting).

The only thing I would caution is to be careful that your Instant Pot (including the lid) is very well cleaned between recipes. I had made the curry soup the day before making the peach crisp and, although I thought I washed the Instant Pot well enough, I tasted the faintest hint of the soup seasonings in the crisp.

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review) - Peach Raspberry Crisp

Recipes I'm still looking forward to making include Homemade Coconut Yogurt, Chinese Takeout-Style Tofu and Broccoli and Pasta Primavera Alfredo.

A Frequently Asked Questions section in The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook answers common questions about the Instant Pot, such as "How long does it take for the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally?"  and "How much liquid do I need to add to the Instant Pot?" There are also cook time charts for grains, beans, lentils and vegetables.

If your Instant Pot has been sitting idle for a while, Nisha's Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook might be just what you need to get going. It offers a steady source of inspiration to make healthy, nourishing, filling plant-based recipes in your Instant Pot.

Other Instant Pot Recipes

One of my favourite things to make in the Instant Pot is this Instant Pot Maple Pecan Oatmeal. I have also gathered 50 vegan Instant Pot recipes from some of my favourite bloggers.

Questions for you

Do you have an Instant Pot? What do you make with it most often? Do you make good use of it?

Buy The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook by Nisha Vora:

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The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (Review)

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