There are two types of people in this world; people who are obsessed with their Instant Pots, and people who wish their friends with Instant Pots would shut up about them already. We are in the former category, so buckle up! We’re taking a deep dive into how to use the kitchen companion we’d be lost without.
When we wax poetic to the uninitiated about our love for IP, the most common response we get is, “Isn’t it just a crockpot? Can you make anything besides chili in it?” Let’s get to the bottom of this pot of lies; this appliance is not simply a slow cooker! That is one of IP’s many settings, but it can also saute, pressure cook, and steam. The IP can make anything from perfect rice and oatmeal, to hot wings in mere minutes. It’s quicker than using your stove top or oven, uses less energy, and won’t heat up the whole kitchen.
Pressure cookers had always scared us a little, mainly because older models have been known to, how should I put this...explode? A pressure cooker is basically the opposite of the slow cooking crockpot; it uses contained steam pressure to cook food quickly. The potential hazards from the old-style pressure cookers have been eliminated with the computerized Instant Pot. The speed from prep to plate is astounding; rice, fish, and shrimp are perfect in 4 minutes, almost all veggies are done in 5-6 minutes, chicken breasts are done in 8 minutes, and beans and lentils are done in a snappy 10-15 minutes. All this without standing over a hot stove. With accurate presets, the IP can make everything from a giant Japanese pancake to homemade yogurt! Google any ingredient + Instant Pot and you’ll find tons of recipe options. Homegirl is versatile.
The true miracle of the Instant Pot is that everything can be cooked within it, no extra pots or pans needed. The interior bowl is dishwasher safe, making the clean up minimal. We have yet to find an ingredient we can’t Instant Pot. We have even taken our IPs on vacation (how else are you going to make Chinese soup dumplings at an AirBnB in Joshua Tree?!). We are full of Wild Wild Country cult love for this gadget, nay, for this movement.
We've crafted the perfect weeknight meal to highlight the different functions of our beloved IP.
Spaghetti Squash & Sausage a la Instant Pot
Spaghetti squash (medium)
Sausage (1 lb)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cups rough cut kale leaves (stems removed)
2 cups grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 shallot sliced
Cheese (Parmesan, Romano, pecorino, etc. work well)
1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and poke the flesh with a fork.
2. Place 1 cup of water and steamer tray or heat safe trivet into the bottom of the pot. Place the spaghetti squash halves onto the tray.
3. Turn on your Instant Pot to the Pressure Cook setting at normal temperature (make sure your valve is set to sealing. Cook your spaghetti squash for 7 minutes, then quick release. Quick release carefully by flipping the valve from sealing to venting. Put a towel over the steam vent to keep your kitchen/yourself from getting a steam facial.
4. When the valve releases, take the spaghetti squash out, and let cool until easy to handle.
5. While the spaghetti squash cools, change Instant Pot to the sauté setting, at normal temperature.
6. Sauté the sausage, turning to brown on all sides until juices run clear. Remove the sausages to rest on a plate.
7. Add minced garlic and shallot directly into the pot with the remaining sausage grease. Sprinkle salt to aid in caramelization.
8. Once the shallots are translucent, add the kale, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Add salt, stir and saute on high for a few minutes.
9. Turn down Instant Pot to the slow cook setting, at high temperature and cover. Cook until the tomatoes have burst, and the mushrooms and kale are tender, approximately 8 minutes.
10. To serve, scrape out spaghetti squash with a fork, breaking up the strands. Top with veggie mixture, sliced sausages, and garnish with basil and grated cheese. Rejoice in only having to wash one single pot!