Just after the New Year, I was having a Facebook conversation with a good friend or mine, a friend whose advocacy for non human animals is from the heart. One of the great things Sheila Ann does, is to take the time to investigate plant food recipes, to try them out and to let us know what some of her favorites are. She also gives us the skinny on innovative kitchen appliances and packaged foods which can make living as a whole food plant based eater and vegan easier, funner (not a real word) and healthier (as in reduced or no sugar, salt and oil)
I was intrigued by her posts about the Instant Pot, a modern day electric pressure cooker that sautés and moonlights as a slow cooker. It also makes yogurt, cooks rice and beans from dry, makes dynamite veggie broth, soup and stew – and that is just the tip of the plant powered iceberg.
Now this is a far cry from the pressure cooker my mom used back in the day. I always trembled with fear when she would drag out this pot, fill it with food and set it on a bright red coil on our stove. Before long the pot would be steaming. The little pressure valve would sit precariously on the lid and clatter back and forth menacingly with the steam as a warning sign. It threatened to blow at any moment, sending the hot contents of the pot splattering around the kitchen and injuring anyone foolhardy enough to stand nearby. When the time was up, Mom would grab the pot and put the lid under running cold water to reduce the clattering and and steaming. It always seemed to me to be just in the nick of time.
So, when Sheila started posting about the much improved machine, I was intrigued by the idea, a tad trepidatious, considering my childhood, and put off by the steep price. I live in Canada and this electric kitchen contraption was invented by Canadians, but sold for much more money than in the States, even with the frightful 30 or so percent exchange rate. For this reason, I was reluctant to buy one. It was over 300.00$ Canadian at the time and under 200.00$ Canadian in the States.
Well, what a whirling dervish my American friend became. Not only did Sheila find free shipping to Canada, she was able to take advantage of a 50.00$ coupon. I agreed to the price and then, as if this was not enough, Sheila gifted it to me. Call me flabbergasted and grateful, because that is what I was.
Fast forward to today and I am happily using my Instant Pot for all sorts of goodies, although I have to admit to not getting the legumes properly cooked. They are always a little too mushy. But, give me a cooking challenge and I will persevere.
One pot meals in the Instant Pot:
- a breeze to make and convenient to have in the fridge.
- nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- no overflowing of the pot onto the stove top making a yucky mess..
- generally less cook created chaos in the kitchen for messy chefs like me.
- and, thanks to my Instant Pot, I always have a dish of steel cut oats in the fridge – a fast, nutritious and tasty breakfast or maybe even a snack.
Reviewed Recipe: (from Healthy Slow Cooking website)
½ cup steel cut oats
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped small
1½ cups water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp nutmeg
sweetener of choice, to taste
Add the oats, apple, water, and spices to your Instant Pot. Put your lid on and make sure the vent is closed. Plug it in and select the manual setting and set to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. The Instant Pot timer will begin counting down the time once it gets up to pressure.
Allow the pressure to release naturally. You’ll know when it’s ready because the round silver pressure gauge will drop down. This will take about 5 minutes.
Open and mix in your choice of sweetener. Serve topped with your favorite nondairy milk. I like to use unsweetened vanilla.
Note: if you don’t like your oats chewy, then you can cook them longer.
Doubling the Recipe:
- Works like a charm.
- Increase the cooking time to six minutes.
- Makes 5 cups which can be stored in the fridge for four to five days.
- Reheat in the microwave or on low on the stove top with a little water or plant milk.
Steel Cut Oats
- Stick with steel cut if you are going to try this recipe.
- Dry ingredient to liquid ratio is important and specific in an Instant Pot recipe.
- Nutritionally, Steel Cut Oats are marginally superior to Rolled and Quick Oats and contain twice the amount of fiber, as well as additional protein and calcium.
- They also are lower on the Glycemic Index.
- They are kind of chewy and are delicious topped with ground flax seed, plant based milk and fresh fruit.
- I like leaving the peel on my apple.
- A skinless apple packs less of a nutritional and fiber punch than its fully clothed friend.
- However, the peel of a conventionally grown apple can also contain harmful residues from synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
- Organic apples may also have been sprayed with natural/organic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, but the theory is that these are less harmful than those used in conventional farming.
- Be sure to soak and scrub all apples in a bath of vinegar and water whether peeling or not.
- I almost never have allspice in my cupboard, so I just increase the nutmeg by 1/4 teaspoon.
- Truth be told, adding spice is a personal preference.
- The quantities cited here are just about right, in my view, but fiddle around with the right level of spicy-ness for you and yours.
Sweetener of Choice
- Dates, definitely dates, especially Medjool Dates.
- I removed the pit and cut 6 of these tasty, nutritionally dense morsels into smallish bits using my kitchen scissors (no charge for the cutting up tip) and added them to the pot prior to cooking.
- They contributed just the right amount of sweetness in addition to giving a velvety texture to the porridge.
Vegan Annie’s Handy Kitchen Tips
Having an Instant Pot is not a requirement for enjoying tasty oats for breakfast.
Porridge adds a nutritional punch to our dietary health.
Porridge of any kind can be dressed up with fresh or dried fruit, nuts, seeds, plant milks and maybe even a little jam if your sweet tooth is turned on.
For a happy and satisfied tummy, you can have your oats and eat them too.
May all beings be happy and free.