3 Instant Pot Recipes a Nutritionist Makes When She's Super Busy

Fresh and healthy

Healthy Instant Pot recipes
The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, by Megan Gilmore

Although the term "comfort food" typically conjures up images of cheesy pastas, creamy soups, and carb-filled casseroles, that doesn't mean that fresh and healthy ingredients don't have their place in comfort cooking, too.

In search of healthier versions of some of our favorite comfort food classics, we turned to the pages of certified nutritionist and author Megan Gilmore's The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook. Spanning a deliciously cheesy taco casserole to a creamy Tuscan chicken with mashed cauliflower potatoes, these lightened-up recipes will inspire you to keep your Instant Pot within arm's reach all season long.

Ready to clear off some counter space to make room for the internet's favorite kitchen appliance? Here are three Instant Pot recipes a nutritionist makes when she doesn't have time to cook.

Creamy Tuscan Chicken With Mashed "Potatoes"

Creamy Tuscan chicken with mashed "potatoes"
The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook , by Megan Gilmore, copyright © 2018 Megan Gilmore

This creamy chicken dish is Italian comfort food at its finest. When you cook cauliflower at the same time as the chicken, the cauliflower becomes extremely tender and easily mashed into a low-carb mash similar to mashed potatoes. Served with a dairy-free garlic cream sauce, this one-pot dinner is totally irresistible.

Makes: 4 servings
Per serving: calories: 253; fat: 13 grams; carbohydrates: 10 grams; fiber: 5 grams; protein: 26 grams
Prep time: 10 minutes
Pressurize: 5 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Quick Release
Total:
31 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
1 pound fresh or frozen cauliflower florets
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
Heaping 1 cup baby spinach or chopped kale

Directions:

Pour the coconut milk into the Instant Pot and add the cauliflower florets. Place the chicken breasts directly on top of the cauliflower, then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.

When the cooking cycle is complete, quickly release the pressure by moving the steam release valve to Venting. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest. Use oven mitts to lift out the pot and drain the cauliflower, reserving the liquid for the sauce. Pour the drained cauliflower into a separate bowl and set aside.

Return the pot to the Instant Pot housing and add the reserved liquid. Press Cancel, then press Sauté. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, and garlic and simmer, stirring constantly, for about five minutes, until the sauce reduces by about one-third. Taste and add more salt as needed, then stir in the spinach until it wilts, about one minute more. Remove the insert from the pot and set it aside so the sauce can cool and thicken a bit more (though it is still a relatively thin sauce that packs a lot of flavor).

Creamy Tomato Soup

Creamy tomato soup
The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, by Megan Gilmore,

This lightened-up tomato soup gets its creaminess from an unexpected source: butternut squash. Squash becomes ultra-tender when cooked under pressure, so it blends seamlessly into this soup, adding a natural sweetness and velvety texture.

Use frozen butternut squash that has already been peeled and cut to make the prep work for this recipe a snap.

Makes: 4 servings
Per serving:
calories: 150; fat: 8 grams; carbohydrates: 21 grams; fiber: 3 grams; protein: 3 grams
Prep time: 10 minutes
Pressurize: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Natural Release: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound frozen peeled and cubed butternut squash
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups water
½ cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
Chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Press Sauté and add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until softened, about five minutes. Press Cancel and stir in the garlic while the pot is still hot.

Add the squash, tomatoes with their juices, basil, salt, and water to the pot. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for five minutes, then allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. Once done, open the lid and stir in the coconut milk, and, if you find that the soup could benefit from some added sweetness, the maple syrup. To blend, use an immersion blender directly in the pot, or transfer the soup to a blender. Serve warm with ground black pepper and chopped fresh basil sprinkled over top.

Easy Taco Casserole

Easy taco casserole
The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, by Megan Gilmore

If you'd like to change up your usual taco routine, try this quick casserole for a nutrient-rich alternative. When shopping for ground beef, look for an organic brand (from cows raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones) that is 85% to 90% lean. Grass-fed beef is naturally lower in fat than its conventional counterpart and contains more vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, but you can also use ground turkey in this dish with similar results.

Makes: 4 servings
Per serving (without toppings):
calories: 346; fat: 6 grams; carbohydrates: 48 grams; fiber: 13 grams; protein: 29 grams

Prep time: 10 minutes
Pressurize:
8 minutes
Cook time:
10 minutes
Natural Release:
10 minutes
Total:
38 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 red onion, chopped
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 cup water
1½ cups prepared salsa
¾ cup bulgur (or quinoa, to make it gluten-free)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1½ cups cooked black beans, or one 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado slices, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese, for topping (optional)

Directions:

Press Sauté and add the olive oil, beef, onion, and salt to the Instant Pot. Sauté until the meat is browned and cooked through, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you stir, about eight minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Press Cancel to stop the cooking cycle.

Add the water and salsa and stir well, making sure that nothing is stuck on the bottom of the pot. Without stirring, sprinkle the bulgur over the top, making sure it doesn't touch the bottom of the pot (which might give you a "Burn" error). Scatter the bell pepper and black beans over the bulgur to help it cook evenly, then secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for one minute.

When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid. Stir the mixture well, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

To serve, transfer the mixture to a serving platter and top as desired. Serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for three or four days.

Reprinted with permission from The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, by Megan Gilmore, copyright © 2018 Megan Gilmore. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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