Last night I taught my first class on using the pressure cooker.
Most of the students were in my class last week - The Five Fabulous Vegan Food Groups: Why you should eat them and how to cook them - where I made dishes to represent a typical day of eating vegan and to demonstrate how easy it is to each vegetables, fruit, beans, nut and seeds, and grains each day. I made the following:
- Breakfast: Green Smoothie
- Snack: Curry Cashew Butter with Celery
- Lunch: Creamy Kale Miso Soup
- Dinner: Mediterranean Beans and Greens (over brown rice pasta)
- Dessert: Cherry-Banana Soft Serve
If that wasn’t enough, earlier in the afternoon I prepped a kale salad (4 cups of kale massaged with one ripe avocado, juice of half a lemon and about two tablespoons of hemp seed) and I baked a tofu on a cast iron skillet – with simple marinade of olive oil, tamari sauce, rice vinegar and garlic powder – and cubed it. I wanted to them have a few things to nosh on while I cooked up the food.
Well that sort of happened again last night. At the end of last week’s class I queried the students about how they wanted me to approach food prep for the pressure cooker class. We decided I should simply make and entire meal and that seitan would be the star.
Yeah, only I would give seitan to a group of people who represent the continuum of a vegan journey.
Truth be told I was a little nervous yesterday. I’m not an expert on pressure cooking. I just own three pressure cookers and use them four to five times a week. I needed to translate my zeal for the pressure cooker into concrete information for my students in a condensed time frame and make an entire meal. So what did I do? I made every single dish on the class menu that afternoon.
The good news is that the seitan, soup, potatoes and gravy came out great.
Test dinner, all sprinkled with cinnamon!
So I made them again, last night, for ten students.
Setting up the demo table for the seitan (video below!).
Photo courtesy of Shannon M.
The dinner menu:
- Creamy Squash & Apple Soup
- Cinnamon-Ginger Seitan
- Mashed Fingerling Potatoes (using this method)
- Cinnamon-Ginger White Bean Gravy
Oh, the gravy! I developed this recipe specifically for the class and paired it with the seitan, using ingredients that would pull it all together.
Ginger-Cinnamon White Bean Gravy
- 1 cup dry navy beans, soaked overnight
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
- 4 cups of water
- 1 bay leaf
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1/8 t. each: ginger, cinnamon, ground black pepper
- 1 and 1/4 cup veggie broth
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/8 cup nutritional yeast flakes
For the beans
- Heat olive oil in the uncovered pressure cooker on medium heat.
- Add garlic, beans, water and bay leaf.
- Bring to pressure.
- Cook at pressure for 6 – 15 minutes.
- Timing is based on how you’ve soaked the beans. If soaked overnight cook for 6 – 8 minutes. For quick soaked beans, cook for 12 – 15 minutes (For quick soaked add beans to 3 cups of water, bring to pressure, allow for a natural release; quick release after 10 minutes; rinse and drain then cook).
- Allow for a natural release.
- Remove pressure cooker lid away from you.
- Stir in lemon juice and taste for doneness (simmer on low if beans are not fully cooked).
For the gravy
- Heat butter in saucepan on medium-high. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
- Add ginger, cinnamon and pepper and stir well.
- Stir in veggie broth and soy sauce. Bring back to a boil.
- Add 1 and ½ cup cooked beans.
- Use an immersion blender in the saucepan to blend the gravy, approximately 20 – 30 seconds. (You can use a blender; simply return the gravy back to the saucepan once blended.)
- Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add nutritional yeast flakes, stir well, cover and simmer for five more minutes, stirring as needed.
YIELD: MAKES 3 – 4 CUPS
During the lecture portion of the class (which I did while slicing and dicing), I included “JL’s favorite things to make in the pressure cooker”:
- Vegetable broth: 1 gallon freezer bag full of vegetables or veg-scraps + 8 cups water + 2-3 favorites spices + bay leaf. Bring to pressure. Cook at pressure for 10, 12 or 15 minutes. Natural Release. Strain.
- Quinoa: 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups vegetable broth, cook at pressure for ONE minute.
- Beans: My protein of choice, make them in minutes, no cans! SOAK them – for your digestion and for quicker, even cooking.
- Grains: Oatmeal, pearled barley, amaranth, and amaranth, I love ‘em all!
- Lentils: Super-fast, no soaking, great in soups.
- Chickpeas: You’ll never buy hummus again. Chickpeas, sesame oil, garlic and onions all in the pressure cooker (use your favorite pressure cooker cooking time chart to determine how long to cook them), finish off with lemon juice. Place in the food processor, add a little tahini, drizzle in cooking broth if you need more liquid. YUM.
- Soups/chili/stew: Mix and match grains and beans by cooking time – use lots of broth or water, lots of veggies and you can’t go wrong.
- Root veggies: 6 minutes, tops. Quick release. Freezes well. Potatoes, parsnips, turnips, oh my!
I have to give a shout-out to my good friend Justin Trolle. He recently caught the pressure cooker bug – thanks to my nudging – so I asked him to come to the class and bring his electric pressure cooker, which I know nothing about, to share how to use one and to jump in whenever an electric pressure cooker question came up. He was awesome.