Cooking beans from scratch always intimidated me before I had a pressure cooker. I read the back of the bag multiple times in the grocery store and always decided to take the easy way out with canned beans. Soaking seemed too time-consuming and then I’d have to cook them on the stove for much longer than it takes to open a can and put the beans in the microwave.
Now that my son is here and eating solid food, I am trying to stop taking shortcuts and focus more on health and nutrition. With the Instant Pot or another pressure cooker, you can cook beans from scratch in less than 2 hours from start to finish. You can skip the soaking process if you want, and they will cook in 30 minutes (once the cooker reaches pressure)! This saves a lot of sodium and added ingredients, plus it allows you to avoid BPA and other chemicals in the lining of the can.
You only need a one pound bag of dried black or pinto beans, a teaspoon of salt, tablespoon of olive oil, and 8 cups of water. In 30 minutes of cooking time, you will have very tender, well-cooked beans. They are perfect for making veggie burgers! You can decrease the cooking time to 20-25 minutes if you decide to soak them first.
- 1 lb dried black or pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 cups water
- Sort through the beans to pick out any rocks or debris. Rinse beans well in cold water.
- Add beans to the Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
- Add salt and oil, then water. Stir.
- Lock the lid, and make sure it is set to Sealing.
- Use the manual mode, high pressure, and set the timer for 30 minutes.
- Allow pressure to release naturally for 25-30 minutes before removing the lid.
My husband has been sick this week. He no longer has a fever but he has a lingering cough and sore throat. He was craving comfort food that would warm him up without harshness to his throat. This vegan tetrazzini was the perfect recipe to comfort him!
This recipe is the base for the tetrazzini. It is very good just like this but feel free to be creative and add any veggies or proteins that you crave or that you have on hand! Last night we added Gardein “chicken” strips, baby portobello mushrooms, and peas. If you are adding the vegan chicken, you can chop or shred it and add it to the sauce after the cheese is added. I sautéed the veggies separately and added them to the pasta and sauce before it went into the oven.
- 1 lb dry pasta (spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccine work well)
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp vegan butter/margarine
- 5 tbsp flour
- 1 cup nondairy milk, unsweetened
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Bring water to a boil for the pasta. When water is boiling, add the salt and pasta. Cook pasta as directed on the box. You may want to use the minimum cooking time because the pasta will cook some more in the oven.
- While pasta is cooking, place the vegan butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. When butter is melted, stir in the flour and continue stirring as it cooks for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the nondairy milk and veggie broth. Bring mixture to a boil while stirring. When it boils, turn the heat to low and continue stirring. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Add the vegan cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted. Add the pepper and garlic powder.
- When the pasta and sauce are cooked, combine in the greased pan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.
We buy a lot of bananas. They often get overripe before we get through them. We used to end up throwing them out too often.
My mom visited while I was pregnant and saw our bananas on the kitchen counter, and she found a recipe for vegan banana bread and made it for us. I finally made it myself last summer and now I’ve probably made it 20 times at least!
After making the bread multiple times I decided to buy a muffin pan and try making banana muffins instead. They’re more portable and made into a perfect serving size so I don’t end up eating half of a loaf of bread in one sitting. This recipe should make about a dozen medium-sized muffins (this batch I used 2 bananas and made 11).
Here is the recipe:
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2-3 medium ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In large mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In small bowl, mash banana and stir in oil, vanilla, sugar, and brown sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add banana mixture to dry ingredients in large bowl and stir until combined. Do not overstir.
- Grease muffin pan or use liners, and fill each until 3/4 full. Bake 25-30 minutes.
We have had some warm weather lately in southern Alabama so I decided to try a seafood substitute last night to go with our leftover wild rice soup. I did not have any seaweed or kelp to add to them this time. They would probably taste closer to actual crab with seaweed but my husband and I both loved them without it. I will try again later with the seaweed and give an update on how they turn out.
Here is the recipe:
Hearts of Palm “Crab” Cakes
- 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (save 4 tbsp of the liquid)
- 2 14oz cans hearts of palm
- 1/4 cup vegan mayo
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp parsley flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (I used Slap Ya Mama)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup white onion, diced
- 1 1/4 cups bread crumbs, plus more to coat the cakes
- Place the chickpeas and hearts of palm in a blender or food processor and pulse until crumbled. You can also use a fork or just your hands to mash them.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the reserved liquid from the chickpeas and whisk until froth forms on the surface. Add the vegan mayo, lemon juice, mustard, and soy sauce. Stir in the seasonings.
- Add the onion, breadcrumbs, and the chickpeas and hearts of palm. Stir gently to combine.
- Cover the bowl and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- Spread bread crumbs on a plate or a sheet of parchment paper.
- Form the mixture into patties approximately 2 inches in diameter. You should have 10-12 patties. Coat both sides in bread crumbs.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large skillet. Add patties and cook each side for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.
- We served ours with malt vinegar but vegan tartar sauce would work well also.
Sunday is the perfect day to cook a healthy dinner that will provide leftovers to enjoy during the busy week ahead. Tonight I made a filling soup full of veggies, with wild rice to add some extra texture and substance. We will have enough leftover for lunch tomorrow and possibly one more meal after that.
Instant Pot Vegetable-Wild Rice Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Small onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 12oz sliced white mushrooms
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
- 15oz frozen butter beans
- 15oz can baby corn
- 1 cup wild rice
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add oil and garlic, onion and celery.
- When onion is translucent, add mushrooms. Sauté 5 minutes.
- Add eggplant. Stir for 2 more minutes.
- Add vegetable broth, butter beans, baby corn, wild rice, and water. Stir.
- Stir in Italian seasoning and pepper.
- Press “cancel” on the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and make sure that it is set to “sealing”.
- Use the manual pressure cook setting, high pressure, and set timer for 25 minutes.
- Allow pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes.
- Release remaining pressure and remove the lid when it is safe.
- Stir and serve!
After our long run this morning, my family went to Montgomery, AL to shop for our son’s first birthday. While we were there, we had to visit Whole Foods! We got some baby snacks, a vegan cupcake, and of course our favorite veggie burger, the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger. We bought two packs of them…we have to stock up when we have the opportunity!
We had mushrooms, Daiya cheddar cheese, and some low carb-high fiber wraps in the fridge at home. I cooked two burgers in a skillet with cooking spray and sautéed the mushrooms with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. My husband and I each had two wraps with half of a burger, Daiya cheese, and mushrooms in each. It only took about 15 minutes to prepare which was perfect after a long day of running, driving, and shopping.
After being on the road for a couple of days, tonight we wanted something simple for dinner. With the Instant Pot, it’s easy to throw all of the ingredients into one pot, seal the lid, and let dinner cook while the baby plays and has his bath. My husband stopped on the way home for some wine and crescent rolls to go with dinner tonight. It was the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day…trying to go out to eat would have been a nightmare tonight!
Rice & Veggies in the Instant Pot
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- Bag of frozen organic peas and carrots
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 2 tsp cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (I use Slap Ya Mama)
- Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot and stir.
- Close lid and make sure it is placed on “sealing”.
- Set to Pressure Cook, set time for 6 minutes on high pressure.
- When it has cooked, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes.
- Make sure the pressure is fully released before opening lid. Stir before serving.
I don’t know why I never thought of giving our 11 month old son avocado toast before today. Avocado and bread are probably his two favorite foods. We had a ripe organic avocado on the kitchen counter and I gave him half of it on his high chair table. I tore up a piece of toast into bite-sized chunks and mixed them in with the avocado and he LOVED it! Then I made some toast for myself and spread the other half of the avocado on it. It’s the perfect breakfast to share with a vegan baby!
We have a busy week planned so we wanted to minimize dishes tonight. We had asparagus in the fridge that we needed to use. We sautéed mushrooms with the asparagus and cooked some leftover pierogies that were in the freezer. My husband wanted some carrot chips on the side also. We love them! They’re similar to sweet potato fries but a bit healthier. We always buy a bag of carrot sticks or Publix dip chip carrots but they would work fine with fresh cut carrot sticks also.
Baked Carrot Chips
- 1 lb carrot chips or sticks
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper or seasoning of choice (I use Slap Ya Mama)
- Preheat oven to 425.
- In medium bowl, toss carrots in olive oil to coat.
- Arrange on large cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Sprinkle seasoning over carrots.
- Bake 10 minutes, stir and bake 10 more minutes.
- After 20 minutes they should be done, but we leave them in the oven for 10 minutes after we turn it off to make them extra crispy.
- Remove from oven and enjoy!
Yesterday’s baked beans recipe made a LOT. We had a big serving last night and again for lunch today, and plenty to freeze for the next time we get a craving for smoky beans!
Today Eric and I both had our long runs, so when we got home we were both so hungry. We wanted something quick and easy to make as well as filling. We had a tube of polenta in the fridge along with half of a container (about 6oz) of mushrooms, so we decided to have those with some baked beans. It was delicious and took less than 15 minutes to make!
I cooked the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then I sliced the polenta into 1/4 inch round slices and put it in the same pan with garlic and onion powder. I sautéed it until the polenta was soft and golden brown. We heated up the beans and mixed it all together. Protein, carbs, low fat, no cholesterol, and a lot of flavor!