This Cookbook Is All About Healthy Eating, Instant Pot Style

Yes, the Instant Pot really can make healthy cooking easier!

October 08, 2018

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Today’s must-have kitchen tool is the Instant Pot. Don’t have one yet? The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook by HealthyEats contributor Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC will have you adding one to your shopping cart in no time. I sat down with Dana to get her insight on how you can use an Instant Pot to get your healthy cooking done in a flash.

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Q: The Instant Pot is the trendiest piece of kitchen equipment around! Does having an Instant Pot make healthy cooking easier?

Dana: It’s a trend that lives up to the hype. The Instant Pot is basically several kitchen appliances wrapped in one. It rose to fame as a user-friendly pressure cooker but you can also use it for baking (yes, baking), sautéing, slow cooking, yogurt making, and more. Cooking with this kind of high pressure moist heat helps cook foods fast and retain the nutrients. It also helps with meal prep; I make healthy staples like hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and brown rice in bulk for a busy week ahead.

Q: What is the biggest challenge about the Instant Pot?

For many people it’s just getting over the initial fear of using it! Like many others, I have horrible memories of grandma’s stovetop pressure cooker busting a bolt and decorating the kitchen with piping hot food, but that won’t happen with the Instant Pot. This machine is equipped with several safety mechanisms to cook “under pressure” safely. Most Instant Pot users I know fall in love and realize pretty quickly that it’s easy and safe to use. The book was authorized by the team at Instant Pot and it was so helpful to have them as a resource while working on the recipes and the notes and tips throughout the text.

Photo by: Autumn Driscoll

Autumn Driscoll

Q: What do you recommend beginners make in their Instant Pot?

I love using the Instant Pot for one-pot meals, soups and comfort foods that usually take need a lot of attention like risotto. Some of my favorite simple recipes from the book include Sweet Potato, Pumpkin-Apple Butter, Chicken Apricot Curry, Korean Barbecue Beef and Spicy Lemon-Chive Mussels. Complicated sounding recipes like Coconut Crème Brule and Braised Short Ribs are much easier than you might think.

Q: What are some unexpected dishes you can make in an Instant Pot?

It may be surprising to learn you can bake in your Instant Pot. Using ramekins or small bundt pans, you can make breakfast casseroles, frittata, cheesecake and cobbler. Peach French Toast Casserole is my go-to when family comes to visit for the weekend. You can also make insanely delicious tamales, racks of ribs, and my savior homemade chicken stock … from a frozen chicken … in less than 2 hours!

Q: How can using an Instant Pot change the way you cook for you and your family?

I love how the Instant Pot gives me more time to spend with the family after a hectic day. I can make a home cooked meal, often with leftovers, in less than 30 minutes. I like to prep the ingredients ahead of time to make for super efficient weeknight cooking. You can also use it save time on foods that typically take much longer to prepare. I use my Instant Pot to proof bread dough or cook down tough cuts of meat and then finish them in the oven instead of cooking them for hours.

Dana was kind enough to share one her favorite recipes from her cookbook The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook for Chicken Sausage Paella.


Photo by: Kelley Schuyler

Kelley Schuyler

Chicken Sausage Paella

Serves: 4

1 tbsp olive oil

4 oz chicken chorizo sausage, thinly sliced

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 tsp saffron

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock

1/2 cup water

12 oz uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup chopped green olives

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Lemon wedges for serving

Select Sauté, and add the olive oil to the inner pot. Add the chorizo and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until the sausage browns and becomes crispy. Transfer to a plate and set aside

Add the rice, saffron, kosher salt, chicken stock and water to the pot. Stir well.

Cover, lock the lid and flip the steam release handle to sealing position. Select Pressure Cook (High), and set the cook time for 8 minutes. When the cook time is complete, quick release the pressure.

Remove the lid, select Sauté and add the shrimp, olives, and peas to the pot. Cover, but do not lock the lid. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the shrimp becomes opaque.

Remove the lid, add the cooked sausage back to the inner pot and stir well.

Transfer to serving bowls, and garnish with the lemon wedges. Serve hot.

Calories: 435; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Sodium: 478mg; Carbohydrates: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 33g

Excerpted from Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook reprinted by permission of Alpha, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Dana Angelo White

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