Santa left an Instant Pot® under our tree. Since I’m somewhat skittish of the whole pressure cooker thing, the CompostMaster and I oriented ourselves to the new kitchen appliance as an adventure in togetherness. So what did we make first? Vegan Red Lentil Chili.
About the Instant Pot
I’ve seen friends rave about their Instant Pots online, but never understood the reason for the fuss. My slow cooker works just fine for me. My mom (and her mom) used a pressure cooker a lot when I was growing up, which made sense because the first Crock Pot® had yet to burst onto the scene.
But Santa caught a Black Friday sale and the Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer was mine a month later. (Note that’s an affiliate link.)
First up: Red Lentil Chili
Our diets sorely lacked fiber over the holidays and the weather has been frigid lately by Virginia standards. So I flipped through the recipe booklet included with the pot and decided the red lentil chili seemed perfect for a post-Christmas meal.
When we saw the 10-minute cook time, we thought we’d be eating 15 minutes after we got everything into the pot. We didn’t factor in the 40 minute warmup and the 30 minute natural pressure release time. I recommend you start this recipe at least an hour before you want to eat.
I’ve heard of putting chocolate and cinnamon in chili, but I’d never thought to add dates. They gave just the right amount of sweetness to offset the spice.
I’m looking forward to experimenting more with the Instant Pot in the new year.
Other Recipes Featuring Lentils
Like lentils? You might be interested in these other recipes too:
- 8 cloves garlic
- 3 ounces pitted dates (about 6 Medjool)
- 2 large red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
- 1 (28 ounce) can low-sodium fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 pound red lentils, rinsed, drained, and picked over to remove debris
- 7 cups water
- 6 ounces low-sodium tomato paste
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1½ tablespoons dried oregano
- 1½ tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- fresh parsley, chopped
- With food processor running, drop whole garlic cloves through feed tube. Stop processor and add dates, red bell peppers, and tomatoes. Blend until smooth.
- Pour mixture into Instant Pot. Add lentils, water, tomato paste, onion, vinegar, oregano, chili powder, paprika, chipotle chile powder, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 10 minutes.
- Let pressure release naturally or use the Quick Release method.
- Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with parsley.
Want more fat? If you're following a higher fat diet, serve with slices of avocado or stir in some freshly grated Parmesan or vegan cheese. To make vegan cheese: Combine 1 cup nuts, ½ cup nutritional yeast, and 1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning in a blender or food processor and process until you get the consistency you want.