Pressure cookers are amazingly useful kitchen appliances that can dramatically expand your vegan cooking possibilities. They let you cook any number of meals that would otherwise be prohibitively time-consuming. If you cook beans often, or live in a place with long winters, you should strongly consider purchasing one.
Dried beans that take more than two hours to cook on a stove-top can be ready in an hour in a pressure cooker. If you love classic Indian bean dishes like chana masala, or dal soups made from split yellow peas, a pressure cooker can become an indispensable companion. I use mine all the time for boiling chickpeas for my homemade hummus.
What’s more, pressure cookers excel at more than just beans. They can perfectly cook foods like potatoes, winter squash, and hard root vegetables in just minutes.
Many cooks use their pressure cookers for only one or two dishes, which is a real shame because this appliance opens the door to so many quick and convenient possibilities. To get acquainted with the variety of meals a pressure cooker can churn out, pick up Jill Nussinow’s Vegan Under Pressure or JL Fields’ Vegan Pressure Cooking.
You can certainly get by without owning a pressure cooker. But if you purchase one you’ll probably end up wondering how you ever lived without it.
Types of Pressure Cookers
Pressure cookers designed for home use come in two types: stove-top units and electric countertop models. Stove-top pressure cookers have been around for decades, whereas modern electric countertop units are far more recent. Countertop units are vastly superior. In fact, I don’t think it makes sense to purchase a stove-top unit.
Since they control and monitor the heat, the current generation of digital countertop models offers superior convenience, safety, and versatility. Instant Pots are the most popular brand. The Instant Pot Duo is a fantastic choice that’s packed with every conceivable feature. Go with a the three quart unit if you’re just cooking for one or two people. If you have a larger family, buy either the six or eight quart model.
Not only do Instant Pots and similar brands handle pressure cooking, they perform from five to ten other tasks. They are excellent at cooking rice, steaming vegetables, and even culturing soy yogurt. Since these appliances have a digital interface, they will perfectly cook whatever dish you’re preparing and then automatically shut off when finished.
For further reading: please see our recommended cookware and our vegan cooking pages.