This is the most selfish post I have ever written. There. I said it. Now for the story of how Instant Pot Chipotle Pumpkin Vegan Chili cured my insta-phobia.
I promised my Progressive Eats friend Jane Bonacci that I would check out her new Instant Pot (pressure cooker/slow cooker/etc.) cookbook. While it seemed like a lovely offer, actually I had an ulterior motive. The Instant Pot I bought last year has been sitting, unused. I’ve been paralyzed by a terrible case of insta-phobia. It probably goes back to seeing the old pressure cooker my grandmother used. The thought of the pressurized steam and that ominous hissing sound gave me chills.
Making a recipe from Jane’s new book seemed like the perfect vehicle to force myself to get over this phobia. Little did I know that I’d fall in love – with the book, the dish, and even my Instant Pot.
I received a review copy of the book, but did not make any agreement to include any content in this post in exchange for that copy. As always, all views expressed are solely my own.
Instant Pot Chipotle Pumpkin Vegan Chili doesn’t seem like it would be a hit in my house. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also gluten-free.
You don’t have to know my beloved very well to imagine how he would take to a recipe without meat and gluten. We’re talking about a guy who eats double portions of ribs and thinks gluten is a gift from the heavens. Anyway, even he gave this a two-thumbs up, grimacing only slightly when he was informed that it did not contain either meat or gluten. He even managed to finish his portion without hunting down some grated cheddar cheese for a topping, keeping to the vegan (not just vegetarian) theme for the evening meal.
Anyway, back to how I conquered my insta-phobia with help from Jane and her co-author, Sara. The introduction to the recipes is a comforting how-to guide that immediately set me at ease. I will admit it didn’t quite get me over my phobia about pressing “start” on this adventure. I had to watch a few videos from the Instant Pot company for those visual cues that a book just can’t provide. Still, the book’s introduction is tailor-made for novice Instant Pot users like me, which I appreciated.
I highly recommend following their advice and starting with the “water test” to see if your Instant Pot (or other brand of electric pressure cooker) is working right and if you’ve understood how to work it as a pressure cooker.
And I’d definitely advise following their caution – keep the pot away from cabinets, wall decorations, and most important – your face and hands! Although it’s not a great shot, this photo will give you some idea of how the steams shoots out of the Instant Pot, safely of course. Look at the dead center, just above the valve. That’s hot steam.
For my first foray, I wanted something easy and this Instant Pot Chipotle Pumpkin Vegan Chili fit that bill perfectly. Although it has a number of ingredients, and some need chopping, once you get everything ready, it’s a snap. (Jane and Sara call this “Pumpkin Black Bean Chili.”)
After collecting the ingredients and chopping, there are just two steps. First, you add most of the ingredients to the pot and push the start button. Then, at the end, you add the last two ingredients to finish off the dish.
The peppers and spices give this dish quite a smoky flavor. We liked it, but you could tone down the smokiness by using regular paprika instead of smoked and regular tomatoes instead of fire-roasted. Although you might not believe it if you’re a carnivore, the nuts and lentils really do give this chili a “meaty” flavor and look.
I’m looking forward to trying their recipes for deviled eggs, several soups, and particularly brown rice pilaf. I love pilaf and have been meaning to use brown rice more often instead of white because it’s healthier. However, brown rice takes a long time to cook conventionally and I’m often too lazy to allot sufficient time. From their recipe, it looks as though using the Instant Pot cuts brown rice cooking time about in half. That sounds good to me. And then there are the desserts. Cheesecake anyone?
Instant Pot Chipotle Pumpkin Vegan Chili
This satisfying gluten-free, vegan chili is simple to prepare. Plus, it cooks for less than an hour, instead of the hours that stovetop chili takes to simmer. With all the flavor and none of the hassle, it's sure to become a favorite chili in your house.
- 1 large can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, including juice (28-ounces or 784 gram can)
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 chipotle pepper from canned gluten-free chipotle in adobo, chopped
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 & 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted (210 grams)
- 2 cups red lentils (400 grams)
- 1 tablespoon sauce from chipotles in adobo (15 milliliters)
- 2 teaspoons salt (12 grams)
- 3 tablespoons chili powder (gluten-free) (24 grams)
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika (14 grams)
- 7 cups vegetable stock, divided (1645 milliliters)
- 1 can pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened) (14-ounces or 392 grams)
- 2 cans black beans (Each 15-ounces or 438 grams)
- avocado slices
- lime wedges
- chopped fresh cilantro
- corn bread
Place the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic walnuts, lentils and seasonings in the inner pot of your electric pressure cooker (instant pot). Stir in 6 cups (1410 ml) of the vegetable stock.
Close and lock the lid, making sure the steam release knob is in the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
When the cooking time is complete, do a quick release by opening the release knob and venting all the steam. When the float pin drops, unlock the lid and open it carefully.
Stir in the pumpkin puree, black beans and 1/2 cup of the remaining stock. Lock the lid back in place and allow the beans to warm through, about 5 minutes. If the chili is too thick, add the remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) of stock and stir well.
Serve with avocado, lime wedges, cilantro and corn bread as desired.
Note that it takes the Instant Pot (or any other brand) about 15 minutes to get pressurized before the 30 minute cooking time begins. That means the cooking time in the pot is really about 45 minutes.
The book provides recipes for vegetable stock and gluten-free savory corn bread. I used a combination of homemade and boxed vegetable stock. For corn bread, I used Trader Joe's mix, which is not sold as gluten-free.
I only used 6 & 1/2 cups of vegetable stock, not 7 cups. (The last 1/2 cup is described as optional.)