JL Goes Vegan has been on my blogroll pretty much since I started reading vegan blogs. I enjoy looking at her recipes and reading posts about how her journey to and through veganism has grown. When she first began posting about using a pressure cooker and how much she loved it, it grabbed my attention. So much so, in fact, that I’m now the proud owner of two pressure cookers: a big one for canning and a smaller one for cooking up beans and making meals.
I love my pressure cooker for home-cooking beans because it’s so darn fast. I can soak a bowl of them overnight and cook them while I’m eating breakfast. And I’ll admit that’s where my cooker gets the most use. However, you also can’t sneeze at the fact that it’s possible to make an entire meal literally in minutes with one of these suckers. What other kitchen gadget lets you dump in a bunch of veggies, legumes and grains, lock on the lid and go about your business while the entire meals cooks itself?
People like Lorna J. Sass and Jill Nussinow are wizards at coming up with recipes that make the most of pressure cookers to create delicious, quick-cooking meals. Now JL has joined their ranks with her own cookbook, Vegan Pressure Cooking.
I was gifted with a copy of this fun little book to review, which made me a happy camper since I wanted to have a look at it when I heard it was coming out. It starts off with a quick introduction and FAQ for pressure cooking, then dives right into recipes for beans, grains, veggies, soups, stews, one-pot meals and even a few desserts.
The recipe offerings are diverse, ranging from Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats to Asian Adzuki Bean Chili. Some use dry beans while others make use of canned for even faster cooking. You’ll find basic instructions for cooking batches of plain or seasoned grains as well as vegetable side dishes to accompany a variety of meals. For a book that’s only about 170 pages, it packs a lot in!
I started my test run of the book with Chick’n Lentil Noodle Soup. Using vegan “chicken” seasoning, soba noodles and lentils along with veggies, it’s meant to mimic the ever-popular comfort food.
Now, I have a recurring problem with the amount of liquid called for in recipes not being enough for my pressure cooker. I have a sneaking suspicion that I keep the pressure too high, which lets too much steam out. When cooking beans in large amounts of water, this isn’t much of a problem, but when you’re trying to make something that needs to absorb water without burning…yeah. It can be an issue.
So it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me that, when I let the pressure out for this recipe, the lentils that provided the “meaty” texture for the soup weren’t done. Nor were they done after bringing everything back up to pressure with more water. After some strategic simmering, I wound up with a very tasty soup that did indeed have the flavor of traditional chicken noodle, but with seriously overdone noodles. Also, much as I like soba, I think I would try this with a whole-grain spaghetti next time for a more authentic noodle texture. (As a side note, the corn muffins from Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook make a fabulous accompaniment to this.)
Next up was the Mushroom Rice. Because I’m a fiend for rice.
This recipe is exactly what it sounds like: rice with mushrooms cooked in vegetable broth. But I knew I couldn’t use just any mushrooms–they had to be really, really good mushrooms. So I stopped by the Mariaville Mushroom Men while at the farmer’s market and spent way too much money on locally grown specialty varieties.
And it was worth every penny.
Earthy and rich, this is one heck of a batch of rice. Again, I had trouble with the cooker starting to go dry about 15 minutes into the cooking time–I could smell the rice burning–and had to add more water. It wound up taking an extra cup of liquid but finished up well and made the entire kitchen smell so good that I wanted to eat it all right away.
I made the full batch and ate it several times over the course of a few days:
- With stir-fried veggies and sesame seeds
- In a nori roll with wasabi (I’m still trying to find where my sinuses launched off to)
- Mixed with white beans and peas alongside salad
- On its own as a snack!
The texture from the mushrooms is just the right kind of meaty without, of course, being actual meat. Check out the recipe later on in this post to make it yourself!
The Basic Seitan, alas, didn’t come out nearly as well. I was very excited about the idea of making seitan in the pressure cooker as I’m not a fan of having to baby-sit a pan of steaming broth to avoid the looming possibility of it becoming spongy. The dough for JL’s version includes chickpea flour, which gives it a nice texture, and a rather unusual seasoning combination that made me raise my eyebrows. Ginger, cinnamon and molasses in seitan? Since I’m willing to try just about anything plant-based once, I made it as written with the exception of substituting tomato paste for the avocado oil.
The flavor? Great. I can’t argue with it at all. The spices give it a unique aroma and a taste that sets it apart from most seitan recipes. However, I must have cooked mine too high despite endeavoring to cook at “low pressure” as instructed, because–you guessed it–I wound up with soggy seitan (hence the lack of pictures). If I try this one again, I’ll have to turn the heat down a lot more!
Last night I made the Asian Adzuki Bean Chili mentioned above. No pictures of that, either–this time, because I was too busy sucking it down. Curiosity drove me to buy some dry adzuki beans the last time they were on sale and I was glad to have them for this recipe. It’s a very unique “chili” that combines Asian flavors like dulse with carrots, cabbage and beans. Along with a little siracha and some rice, it was absolutely delicious.
Vegan Pressure Cooking gets two thumbs up from me! The recipes are easy to follow and, thus far, totally delicious. No matter what type of cuisine you prefer, you’ll find something that fits your taste–and your schedule–in this book.
The folks at Fair Winds Press are generously providing a copy of Vegan Pressure Cooking to one lucky QV reader!
If you’re itching to fire up the pressure cooker with some new and tasty recipes, leave a comment on this post telling me why you love pressure cooking. Or, if you haven’t tried it yet, why you want to start!
Get your entries in by Monday, February 9th for your chance to win!
Giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering!
One winner will be chosen using RANDOM.org. Good luck, and happy cooking!
reprinted with permission from the publisher
Serve this mushroom rice with a lightly seasoned Asian stir-fry or roll it up in a nori sheet with your favorite vegetables for a hearty vegan sushi roll. When selecting mushrooms, shiitake, cremini or maitake are all nutrient-packed flavorful choices.
1 teaspoon sesame oil (QV note: or substitute water or vegetable broth for cooking)
1 cup (70g) chopped mushrooms
1 cup (190g) long-grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups (355ml) vegetable broth (QV note: or more as needed)
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) tamari
In an uncovered pressure cooker, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes. Add the rice and broth. Stir to combine.
Cover and bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 22 minutes. Allow for natural release.
Remove the lid and stir in the tamari to taste.
Makes 4 servings.