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Instant Pots Equal Fast, Easy, Delicious and Healthy!

My husband Bob jokes that his own mom couldn’t make a meal without her pressure cooker and we also had one in the early years  of our marriage.  But we’ve been married over 35 years now and who knows what happened to it!   I was always terrified of losing the little pressure cap.  But now there’s something even better!  The microwave seemed like a modern-day miracle, and the instant pot, in many ways, is too.

TRUTH:  I’ve ignored them, even as they’ve become more popular and several of our friends and sisters rave about their value. But earlier this summer at our Vegetarian Club dinner, a visiting professional health pro and very accomplished chef endorsed the Instant Pots in a HUGE way for quickly cooking healthy meals.  The next month another very accomplished cook demonstrated them.  As she showed us how to use it, what it could do, how her family used not one, but several of them constantly and then let us taste some of her goodies – I was hooked!

We went and got one at Costco The price range was $80-$90.  Not free, but we were ready.  Note: Costco did not have the 6-quart instant pot, so we bought the 8-quart model.  If I could do it again, I think I’d get the 6-quart.

TRUTH:  It’s a little intimidating at first!  I left it in the box for 2 weeks. Finally I got brave and with a little time on YOUTUBE university and one frantic call to my sister, I was on my way and cooked my first pot of black beans successfully.  In just 30 minutes! You can save a lot of money and control the sodium by cooking your own beans. You can use them immediately or freeze for later.

Within the next few days  I made the Farmers Market Rustic Vegetable Soup listed below. This is an old favorite recipe of ours.  It was delicious, more so than when we cook it on the stove. And we thought it would be great to add some barley. So for the leftovers the next night, I cooked the barley in the instant pot (15 minutes vs. 45 on the stove — and you can leave it as it’ll turn itself off!) It was so delicious that we each had a bowl of just the barley!

Gotta say, I didn’t have a CLUE about all the things an instant pot can do.  Now that I have one and am learning about it, I understand the chatter!  In fact, as I was doing my photography for the photo above, the wonderful college student who works for us popped in and said that his mom LOVES hers.  She feeds a family of 10 children and uses it constantly, he said!

What is an Instant Pot?

The small kitchen appliance is a versatile multi-cooker that can do the job of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and more. It also saves you counter space and money. If you’re only just now hearing about the Instant Pot, you may be a little skeptical. How can one appliance be a rice cooker and cake maker at the same time, you ask? That’s the magic of the appliance, which comes with preset programs that are specifically designed to cook your food to perfection, whether it be a cake, a stew, or porridge.

If this programmable countertop multi-cooker earns a spot in your kitchen, you’ll probably start relying on it more than any other cooking appliance. The specific functions of your Instant Pot will vary based on which model you purchase, but these are the basic programs that will be present in most models:

  • Slow Cooker
  • Pressure Cooker (you can cook on high or low pressure, or choose specific pressure setting like poultry or meat/stew)
  • Rice Cooker
  • Steamer
  • Sauté/Browning
  • Yogurt Maker
  • Warmer

It’s easy to google for more information and recipes, both regular and vegetarian.  I’ll let you have fun with that on your own.

Farmer’s Market Rustic Vegetable Soup

We’ve been making this soup for YEARS, and love it with cabbage, onions, carrots, spinach and red-skinned potatoes.  You can also add zucchini, okra, parsnips, turnips or rutabaga!


2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 head cabbage chopped
2 32 oz. boxes chicken broth (or veggie broth)
2 bay leaves

1 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. Italian seasoning or parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar, optional.

1.  Hit the saute button and cook onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.  (This is where I got confused — I didn’t realize you leave the lid OFF and saute it like it’s an open pan, or electric skilet.  My sister rescued me!)

2.  Add remaining ingredients except cider vinegar to the pot and set cook time for 15 minutes.

3.  Let it do it’s magic! 

We love cider vinegar on this, but usually put it on the table to let everyone serve their own. 

Well, I’ll keep you posted on how my skills with this nifty appliance improve. I intend to get VERY GOOD at it!  So many excited people can’t be wrong!  Don’t forget that Youtube is also loaded with videos and recipes!

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years,  providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999.  She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE