Me and My (Vegan) Insta Pot

You know it’s a cult, right?

Everywhere I look people post recipes and almost embarassingly gushing testimonies to their fling with the famous pot. You can bake cheesecake in it, they rave, and have cooked, well, nearly instant curry, oatmeal and coconut milk yogurt. You can make an enchilada, a taco or the Brazilian national dish. I get it.

But pressure cookers have always scared me. I think terrorists have used them for bombs and since I can start fires with my toaster these cookers always struck me as risky. Plus, I mean, they’re not exactly instant are they? In takes 20 or so minutes to pressurize and another 30+ to let off steam. Plus cooking time. So I resisted.

In the end though, I had to have an instant pot. and now I love it. But here’s the thing: I don’t use it to cook curries or bananas flambe. With the exception of an occasional batch of pea soup I use the Insta Pot for beans. What a difference it makes!

In the old days–a few months ago–beans required a prolonged and advanced preparation. There was the whole pre-soaking thing. A long time ago I put beans in a pot with water and left it out and went to sleep. Now, especially since I took a food safety course, I’m scandalized at this behavior. I can picture the bacteria moving into and multiplying in my kitchen. So the soaking beans have to stay in the fridge. This is difficult because my refrigerator has very limited available real estate.

And I love beans! Especially Rancho Gordo beans! I learned about these beans years ago before they were famous. So humble was this bean establishment in those days that I could correspond and email with founder Steve Sando and the rest of the staff. Now, quite deservedly, Steve S. and Rancho Gordo have gone on to be super stars in the gourmand universe (kind of like an old boyfriend who goes on to date a model or pop singer). But I still love their beans–their incredible diversity, they way they glimmer like jewelry,the creaminess and wonderful taste. I’m a Bean Club member. Seriously. Which brings its own kind of embarrassment. But I digress.

With my Insta Pot if I want beans (which as a vegan I often do), I just rinse the beans and pop them in the pot. In less than 2 hours I have perfect beans. What kind of beans are these, my sweet husband asks. And I say Eye of the Goat, Midnight, Rio Zape and Tiger.

Here’s my own, unprofessional recipe.

Beans for Dinner


  • 1 pound of beans (any type–depending on your own preference and your menu)
  • At least 8 cups of water (or broth or wine or beer or whatever–liquid)
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon white or yellow miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon Epazote
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (with the mother!)
  • Seasoning as desired (I use lemon pepper, chili powder, red pepper, paprika and chipotle sauce and/or pepper)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  1. Unless you are rushed for time (and then just start the beans and cook the onions else where) turn on the sauté setting of the Insta Pot. Chop and caramelize the onion.
  2. Change the setting to high pressure. Then, throw the beans and the liquid in the pot, adding to the onion.
  3. Add the Epazote and a little of the chili powders.
  4. Set the timer to a 30 minute cooking time. (I know this seems long but remember, the beans are dry.)
  5. Once the beans have cooked, allow the Insta Pot to de-pressurize and decompress for about 45 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the cover of the Insta Pot. Add the miso, the cider and all of your remaining seasonings (as well as your onions if you were rushed and cooked them separately.)
  7. At this point you probably have quite a bit of liquid in the pot. If, after stirring for a bit, it’s still too much, bale out and discard a few cups of the liquid. But not too much.
  8. Change the setting back to sauté and let the beans cook and thicken. Be very careful. The bottom will be very hot and you don’t want anything to burn and ruin your lovely beans. Be attentive. When you decide the beans are done you may want to take hot pads and gloves and pull the pot out of the cooking apparatus so that the beans stop cooking.
  9. Adjust the seasonings.
  10. Sprinkle with a little chopped cilantro, if you like. Bon Appetit!

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