My instant pot is too big to sit on the counter when I’m not using it. That means I need reasons to pull it out of its hideaway home. And I admit to fearing its buttons and hissing valve. So I jumped at the chance to do a blogpost on the second edition of Jane Bonacci and Sara De Leeuw’s Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook. I picked a recipe that required me to learn a new (to me) feature of the Instant Pot. I can now report that sautéing in the Instant Pot is easy. And I have my Instant Pot Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup to prove it.
I also learned how to make cashew cream (the cream in Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup.) It is simple, once you know a tip or two.
In my post about Chipotle Pumpkin Vegan Chili, I described the first edition of this book, and how helpful it is for Instant Pot novices like me. It converted me to the Instant Pot for broths. I love making vegetable broth using their recipe (in both editions) and just finished a double batch before writing this post.
The new edition has all the good information of the earlier edition on using an Instant Pot. Plus, it provides an expanded section on how to buy gluten-free ingredients and manage a gluten-free home. That’s not a concern for me, but Jane and Sara’s advice helps all of us to understand how to help our friends with celiac disease stay healthy. I concentrated on the new recipes, both those in the new section entitled Asian Favorites, and the additional recipes sprinkled throughout the book. The three (besides this one) that I’m most excited about are the Ropa Vieja, BBQ Baked Beans, and Mocha Pudding.
If you have the first edition this one will look familiar. If you don’t and you’re curious about Instant Pot cooking or already a fan, you should definitely check out this book.
The publisher provided me with a review copy of this second edition of the book. However this post and all opinions are solely my own.
Tips for Getting Past Insta Phobia
- Read Instructions – Each electric pressure cooker is slightly different. Check the instructions on yours for directions on programming it and what each button means. How to know when the pot is hot enough to sauté? If I had followed my own good advice, I would have read the part that says the display panel indicates when the oil was hot enough to start sautéing. Hmmm.
- Be Patient – The pressure cooker takes a while to pressurize before and release pressure after cooking. The cook time in the recipe does not count that time on either end. I found that my 25 minute cook time was only about one-third of the time my soup spent in the Instant Pot. It took about 20 minutes to get up to pressure and 26 minutes to do a “natural” release after cooking.
- Stay Calm When Releasing Steam – After cooking on a pressure setting, the steam releases through the vent. Whether you let it vent naturally (as you do in this soup recipe) or use the quick release, you’ll have to touch the release valve. Use an oven mitt or a thick towel and keep your face away from the steam. It’s not complicated or dangerous if you do it calmly.
The recipe is straightforward. Still, I needed a bit more instruction on making Cashew Cream. A quick trip to vegan cashew cream-land online answered all my questions. So you don’t have to repeat my research, I put it below in the form of 3 tips.
By the way, Jane and Sara term the cashew cream as optional. We have a split opinion in my house as to our preferences. My beloved tried the soup both ways, and he gave it a thumbs up without the cream. But with it, he went to a double thumbs up. When I told my dedicated carnivore, gluten glutton and dairy fiend beloved that the cream was actually made from nuts, not animal milk, he didn’t even flinch. I tried the soup both ways too. And though I liked the creamy version, I actually preferred it straight up/sans cream.
Tips on Making Cashew Cream (See recipe)
- Soaking the Cashews – Jane and Sara advise soaking the cashews for 30 minutes in hot water. Other sources soak the nuts in hotter (boiling) water for longer (1 hour). Some give an alternative to soak overnight using room temperature water. If your water is not boiling, definitely aim for an hour. The softer the cashews, the more easily you can do the blending.
- Blending the Cashews – You definitely need a blender to get the creamy consistency – a food processor just won’t do the job. I used my old Cuisinart blender. While nowhere close to a Vitamix, it worked fine. You do need to blend for several minutes. Start at a low speed, working up to a high or puree speed. Periodically scrape the sides of the blender down. I stopped after about a minute, before the mixture was smooth. Being impatient, I got annoyed at my blender. Then I researched and found that I just needed to blend the cashew mixture for longer.
- Cream vs. Milk – The recipe’s 1-to-1 (fresh water to soaked cashews) ratio yields a thick liquid consistency like that of heavy cream before it is whipped. It thickens after refrigeration. If you prefer a stiffer consistency from the get-go (more like yogurt or sour cream), go with something closer to 1-to-2 or even 1-3 or 4. I tried The Kitchn’s 1-to-4 ratio and it worked nicely.
Instant Pot Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup
So good that even non-vegans will love it. You can use homemade vegetable stock or store bought. The wild rice and chickpeas make it a filling lunch or the starter for a larger meal.
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 30 ml
- 1 & 1/2 cups diced onion 240 grams
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup diced carrot 130 grams (about 2 med-large)
- 1 cup diced celery 120 grams (about 2 & 1/2 stalks)
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 4 hours or overnight & drained 230 grams Jane & Sara specify organic
- 1 & 1/4 cups wild rice or wild rice blend 200 grams Jane & Sara specify organic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 5 cups vegetable stock or water 1175 ml I used stock & think the soup needs flavor from the stock
- kosher or sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Cashew Cream (optional)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 30-60 minutes in boiling water, then drained 55 grams See cashew cream tips above recipe
- 1/2 cup fresh water (not the water the cashews soak in)
Press sauté on the electric pressure cooker. Add the oil to the inner pot and when it is hot, add the onions. Stirring frequently, cook the onions until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue stirring. Cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Stir in the carrots and celery. Cook them, stirring frequently until the vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes.
Add the drained chickpeas, wild rice, bay leaf, thyme, and vegetable stock. Stir well. Close and lock the lid, making sure the steam release handle is in the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes
When the soup is finished, release the pressure naturally. (See tips above recipe - this takes time, mine released in 26 minutes.) Turn the steam release handle to venting, releasing any remaining pressure. When the float drops, unlock the lid and open it carefully. Taste, then add salt & pepper, as desired. Serve immediately
Cashew Cream (optional)
Start soaking the cashews before putting the soup together. While the soup cooks, make the cashew cream. Blend the soaked and drained cashews with the fresh water for several minutes until completely smooth. (See tips on cashew cream above recipe.) Set aside.
Either add cashew cream to the whole batch of soup (as Jane & Sara suggest) or allow each person to decide on whether to add a spoonful (and mix it in) to their portion.
If serving the soup later, consider removing some of the liquid or adding more vegetable stock when you reheat it. Otherwise, you may find that the rice and chickpeas soak up most of the liquid and the soup has become a (still great tasting) stew.