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This week’s new recipe for vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes marks my very first recipe designed for the Instant Pot!
Let me tell you first about the Instant Pot. I didn’t think I was going to like it.
I bought it because I want to teach people how to cook, and I knew enough about the Instant Pot to know that it’s helping a lot of people make delicious home-cooked food for their families.
Here I was stubbornly thinking I didn’t have room on my counter for another appliance!!
Turns out I did, cause I made room!
After realizing how useful and time-saving the Instant Pot was, I gave it the counter top space where my Kitchen Aid stand mixer was. (I stored that in a place where I can still get to it when I need it of course.)
I also discovered than an Instant Pot can now be purchased for $50-$60 dollars, which is very reasonable for what you get.
The First Time I Used My Instant Pot I Couldn’t Believe It!
My experience the first couple of times using the Instant Pot was like a zillion light bulbs sparking around my brain zone.
Oh my goodness! This is SO EASY!
Oh my goodness! This is SO QUICK and it makes DELICIOUS food!
Oh my goodness! This is WHY so many people LOVE the Instant Pot!
Haha. I am a goofy girl indeed. Why did I wait so long to try this?
Full disclosure, I use pressure cookers all the time, but they are the stove-top style with the jiggle tops.
These stove-top guys are common in India, and that’s how I came to know about and use pressure cookers in the first place.
However, with a stove-top cooker, you need to pay attention for the first whistle, turn the heat down, set a timer for the cook time, then turn off the heat when it’s done.
And, well, if you don’t turn it off, there is a very, very, slim chance that your pressure cooker could scorch and have a meltdown. It’s not likely to explode. That is myth.
However, when using the Instant Pot, none of what I just said is even remotely relevant.
The Instant Pot is truly worry-free!
How Does The Instant Pot Work?
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you might be wondering how it works. I’m going to attempt to demystify it here for you.
There is a nice manual if you need it, but I did not read the manual.
What I did do is find a recipe to try out.
I made a tomato soup with coconut milk in about 5 minutes of active cooking time, and it was really, really good.
The simplest way to cook food in an Instant Pot is to put all the ingredients in the pot and close the lid.
I kind of fumbled with the lid until I saw there is a clear place where it fits on if you use your eyes!
The lid produced a digital jingle sound to indicate it was closed.
There are a lot of buttons on this gadget, but the buttons that most people will need are simple.
Start with either Sauté to fry something, or directly start with Pressure Cook.
Pressure Cook can be High or Low. You almost always use High.
Once set to pressure cook, you only need to adjust the number of minutes you want it to cook at high pressure.
After that’s set, you wait.
The wait part is key. The pot will take a few minutes to warm up the contents of the pot to full pressure before the cook time kicks in.
You’ll know it’s cooking because the minutes on the display will begin to count down.
After the countdown is done, it’s sort of funny, because the Instant Pot beeps, and then starts counting up again.
How Do I Know When To Open The Lid Of My Instant Pot?
It takes about 10-15 minutes after the cook time is done for the pressure to come down naturally, which is when you can open the lid.
There’s a valve that pops down to indicate the pressure is clear.
There’s nothing to get concerned about in any event because the Instant Pot won’t let you open the lid if there’s any danger. Just don’t try to force anything.
If you need to get in there earlier there’s something called a pressure release valve.
That’s when you’ll get a controlled rush of steam pressure coming out. Careful you don’t get your fingers in the way.
You’ll Love Keep Warm Mode
Whether you leave the lid on, or even if you open it, the Instant Pot kicks into “Keep Warm” mode automatically until you hit Cancel. I think this ought to be at a food safe temperature. I have to check!
This is a brilliant feature though, because you can keep your dinner warm until you are ready to serve it. Or maybe members of your family help themselves at different times.
Since you’re not beholden to keeping the food hot, it is literally worry-free for the cook.
Sound good? How about giving it a try with my latest recipe for Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potato!
Recipe For Vegetarian Chili With Sweet Potato
Let’s start with easy! Your active cooking time for this recipe will be just 5 minutes.
There is a bit of prep chopping up the vegetables, but it is amazing how not having to actively stir the pot makes life easier.
The vegetarian chili itself is rich with lentils and kidney beans, which are high in vegetarian protein and fiber. Feel free to substitute with your favorites.
The nutrient-dense sweet potatoes are a total bonus that add a pleasant, sweet flavor to the chili.
Finally, there is my favorite part: loads of spices.
It calls for Mexican chili powder, which is more flavorful than spicy, because it’s made from a small amount of cayenne pepper, mixed with a large amount of other spices, like paprika, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, and sometimes salt.
There’s also smoked paprika in this recipe, which gives the vegetarian chili a slight meaty taste.
If you go to the vegetarian chili recipe post, I also give lots of suggestions for fun toppings you can have with your chili to turn this meal into a feast.
After all, you’ve got time while the Instant Pot is doing your cooking for you to prepare your toppings, or perhaps a nice green salad to go with it.
Thanks for reading my extra long newsletter today!