If you have seen a vegan cookbook and thought, “Well, I’m not vegan so I wouldn’t use it” think again. As an omnivore, I’m here to tell you that some cookbooks are good for everyone. Vegan Under Pressure falls into this category. I wanted to review it because I like to dabble with vegan cooking and I had just gotten an Instantpot pressure cooker (if you are interested in getting more information about it, you can click on the link). This cookbook is a good example of thinking outside of the box when it comes to what you can make in a pressure cooker.
What I like most about this cookbook is Jill Nussinow‘s excellent directions and descriptions. Believe it or not, I am most impressed with the risotto recipe. And as you can see above, I made it my own by adding greens and serving my family some almond meal crusted chicken. I have made this risotto many times by just following her directions and it comes out great every time.
Every recipe I tried was a winner and almost all of the recipes are gluten-free with a few exceptions. She explains this in the book and marks each recipe appropriately.
She goes into great detail about how to cook almost anything vegan in the instantpot. As a new pressure cooker owner, this enhanced my comfort level greatly. She includes tables with how to cook beans and lentils so if you have your own recipes, it’s easy to adapt.
I was really impressed with not only how easy the recipes were but how family-friendly many of them were. I tried out a few on my 12 and 10 year old and they liked everything. I have learned that some cookbooks are pretty pictures with so-so recipes. Then there are real chefs, who understand cooking, who take the time to make sure you can recreate their ideas. This is what this cookbook is. The flavor profiles and balance are great.
I also tried the polenta (without the herbs). The recipe is below. My daughter and I agreed it was very good!
Overall, if you have a pressure cooker and even if you aren’t vegan, I would have to recommend this book. It’s a winner!
Herbed Polenta (reprinted with permission from Vegan Under Pressure)
From me: If you want a firmer polenta, use only 3 cups of water. If you want a creamier polenta, follow the recipe below and substitute about 1/2 cup of water or broth with milk or milk substitute (plain and unsweetened).
From Jill: Pressure cooked polenta doesn’t need stirring, which is a real bonus. You might end up with a lump or two but cooking this way saves a lot of time. Adding sun-dried tomatoes (see variation below) or dried mushrooms when cooking polenta adds big flavors.
Be sure to get coarse corn grits, also called polenta, rather than corn meal or corn flour which are much finer and will turn your pressure cooker into a fine mess. Ask me how I know.
5 minutes high pressure: 10 minute natural pressure release
1–2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
1/2 cup finely minced onion
2 or more teaspoons minced garlic
4 cups broth or water
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1 cup coarse polenta
1. Heat the oil, if using, in the cooker over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 1 minute. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
2. Add the water or broth, salt, bay leaf, the oregano, rosemary, half of both the basil and parsley, and stir. Sprinkle the polenta over the water. Do not stir.
3. Lock the lid in place. Bring to high pressure. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Let the pressure come down naturally, releasing any remaining pressure after 10 minutes has elapsed. If the pressure releases before 10 minutes is up, let the polenta sit in the pot for the full 10 minutes.
5. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Remove the bay leaf. Whisk the polenta to smooth out any lumps. If the polenta seems too thin, stir and simmer over medium heat for a few minutes, or lock the lid back on the cooker for 5 minutes and let sit.
6. Serve as is, or pour into glass pans to cool. Once cool, bake, grill or pan fry.
Variation: Sun-dried tomato and olive polenta: add 1/3 cup finely diced sun-dried tomatoes when cooking the polenta. After the polenta is finished cooking, add 1/4 cup chopped olives, of your choice and stir in.