One-pot meals are the BEST. If you battle Mt. Dishes like we do, you know the sigh of relief you feel when your meat, veggies, and starchy side can all fit in one container and done!
This one has a ton of nutrition, is super frugal, and tastes a teeny bit like lasagna. For real. If you can get over the fact that there’s no pasta or ricotta…
Back when it was just a slow cooker recipe before I tried it in the Instant Pot, I remember getting a comment from someone who thought it was more work than she was used to for a slow cooker. I think of that every time I make the dish because if you’re cooking with real food at all it’s about 30% of the work of most meals! Cut onions, pepper and carrots, and assemble.
Seriously, people. This woman must have used exclusively canned recipes with no whole foods. Whatevs. Trust me when I tell you this will go on your “easy meals” list.
We definitely need a double batch for any chance at leftovers, and the Instant Pot will fit it! It’s pretty exciting to me how easily slow cooker recipes convert to the Instant Pot.
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
The Instant Pot has gotten a lot of hype over the last couple years – for good reason. It really can do just about anything.
Although it can seem a bit daunting to use at first, it really becomes quite simple once you give it a try.
Use the techniques, tips and simple recipes from the Instant Pot Guidebook to get started, and before you know it, your Instant Pot will become indispensable!
Pressure Cooker Easy Italian Lentil Dinner (Gluten-Free)
- 3/4 c. dry green lentils
- 1/2 c. brown rice
- 2 1/2 c. homemade chicken stock (add another cup if not soaking)
- 1 c. tomato sauce (8 oz. can) or 1 6-oz. can tomato paste + and extra ½ c. stock (or if you’ve got some spaghetti sauce open, just use a cup of that!)
- 3/4 c. chopped onion or 1/4 c. dried minced onion
- 1 c. chopped green and/or red pepper
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
- a few big handfuls of greens
- optional: other vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, green beans (frozen is fine!)
- 3 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves crushed garlic or ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- Combine rice and lentils in the Instant Pot or a separate bowl and cover with water.
- Allow to soak overnight with the machine turned off (or in the bowl, covered).
- Note: If you’re not soaking, add another cup of broth to the recipe.
- Drain the water off, then add all the other ingredients except the cheese to the Instant Pot and mix well.
- Set the IP to “poultry” which will cook at high pressure for 15 minutes (you could also do this manually).
- Click in the lid and make sure the valve is closed.
- When the time is up, use the quick release. After the pin goes down (usually about 2 minutes), give the whole appliance a little jiggle to release any potential pockets of steam trapped in the thick food. You can also do a natural release (ignore it for 15 minutes) and the food won’t be overcooked.
- Add the cheese on top and wait 10 minutes on warm to melt it with the lid on or stir it in to melt almost immediately.
- Serve with optional warmed spaghetti sauce on top.
* Roast a chicken to easily have delicious shredded chicken on hand in the freezer and meals like this are a cinch! It’s ok if the chicken is put in frozen, too, it will thaw as the meal cooks and you can just stir it in. You might add 2-3 minutes of cook time if the chicken is frozen.
* Soaking the rice and lentils is not necessary for the cooking BUT it increases the nutrient benefit. More here and here.
* No Instant Pot? First of all, get one. But while you’re waiting, this recipe was originally done in the slow cooker. Super easy.
* Make it meatless for Lent by omitting the chicken. Still filling and delicious. Use vegetable broth or water if you want totally vegetarian.
Trouble Getting Healthy Food on the Table Every Day?
Enter Real Plans
Real Plans is an online meal planning software & app that is probably smarter than I am.
It works with all food restrictions to help families find the perfect meal, generate a shopping list, scale it up if needed, and you’re totally in control. Use your own fav recipes, skip a suggestion and tell Real Plans all the foods you don’t like/can’t eat, and it will still do half the work of meal planning (or more) for you.
Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type, including GAPS, Paleo, AIP, Whole30, vegetarian and more!
My dear friend Wardee at Traditional Cooking School can do just about anything with her Instant Pot – cakes, bread, main dishes, veggies, even “stacking” multiple kinds of food at once!
She’s offering a free sourdough cornbread Instant Pot recipe!
This cornbread is delicious, nutritious, super easy to make, and it only needs 12 minutes of cook time.
But…Isn’t Pressure Cooking Unhealthy?
As much as I pride myself on trying to follow the research and not be taken in by one-source wonders, I admit that over the years I haven’t been able to re-do every piece of research I read. When I first read Nourishing Traditions, I remember that pressure cooking was damned, and that stayed in my head. My stovetop pressure cooker was never used again.
Then I started reading of a shift, first from Food Renegade in this post with very convincing evidence. Most recently Wellness Mama, another trusted source for me, posted about the science behind pressure cooking. And finally my Instant Pot came out of its box…much to our breakfast delight!
I wasn’t surprised that a couple readers asked this question on the steel cut oats recipe, since it became a pretty pervasive thought among those who read NT. I think the other gals did a great job covering the various angles of “hey this is not traditional!” and “won’t you lose nutrients cooking at high pressure?” I highly recommend reading their posts if you’re feeling unsure.
More goodness in the Instant Pot series here at KS, including:
- Apple Cranberry Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats
- 2 more meat-based Whole30 compliant recipes
- how to make slow cooker recipes in the Instant Pot
- the gamification of cooking for men
- 10 basic techniques for the Instant Pot
- The Mexican version of this very recipe