Simple Meal Ideas with the Instant Pot and Dry Beans

Navy bean soup

Hello and welcome December! 🙂 I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Today, we’re sharing a post from Anna Marie on Instant Pots which we think you’ll find helpful. –Sarah

Since the season for good sale prices on Instant Pots is coming up, I thought this would be a good time to share our experience with you. Perhaps you, like me, have seen “Instant Pot” recipes everywhere and wondered if they actually are worth the hype. I received one as a gift a couple years ago (this is the one I have, and it is Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, which Titus2 earns from qualifying purchases, see the Privacy Policy).

The Instant Pot is in use almost daily in our home. I like the ability to quickly cook frozen (yes—you don’t have to thaw) chicken breasts or thighs. It’s super handy to be able to make broth from beef bones or chicken carcases in less than three hours. And for making easy-to-peel “hard-boiled” eggs in a jiffy, it’s hard to top. But what I use it for the most is cooking dry beans. They don’t have to be soaked ahead, can be spiced in many different ways, and can be ready within an hour or two. Since they’re packed with healthy fiber, plant protein, and many essential minerals (including folate which is great for pregnancy!), they make for a truly nutritious “fast food”!

8 quart Instant Pot

Here are a few examples of dry beans that we like:

Small red beans or chili beans are delicious in chili or cooked with Mexican spices and served over rice or taco salad.

Spicy red beans over rice

Navy beans or small white beans are perfect for white chicken chili or navy bean soup! To make a delicious quick soup, I saute carrots, celery, and onion in the Instant Pot before adding in the dry beans, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and water or chicken broth. Once cooked, I mash part of the beans (a potato masher works well for this) and it’s ready to serve!

Garbanzo beans/chickpeas are perfect on salads, in soups, or made into hummus. Sometimes after cooking about 4 cups of these in lightly salted water, I will stir in a jar of Tikka Masala simmer sauce from Aldi and some precooked shredded chicken. This is great served over rice.

Pinto beans are a staple for burritos or Mexican side dishes, and I use a hand-held mixer to mash them right in the pot when they’re done cooking. Left whole, we enjoy them on taco salads or added into soups.

Black beans are great in a “Santa Fe Chicken” with cans of diced tomatoes/chilis, corn, spices, and shredded chicken served over rice. If you’re feeling adventurous, black bean brownies are actually pretty tasty and have been enjoyed here!

Lentils cook quickly and don’t need to be presoaked whether you have an Instant Pot or not, but I’m including them here anyway because they appear on our lunch table weekly in Sue Gregg’s Lentil Rice casserole. I like to make it in our Instant Pot because I can put all the ingredients in after breakfast, and set the timer to have it done at lunchtime.

The children love being my “bean sorters!”

As you probably noticed, we frequently enjoy various seasonings in our beans served over rice or another grain. There are so many variations you can do with this and we especially like it with some precooked shredded beef or chicken added (I keep bags of it in the freezer for this purpose). And don’t feel limited to rice as a base; quinoa, millet, or even riced cauliflower all work great, too!

Keeping some containers of cooked beans in the freezer is also very handy to add in to vegetable beef or chicken soups, or for easy main-dish salad toppings.

Cornbread is a popular side dish that we have with our Instant Pot bean dishes and soups. It’s not cooked in the Instant Pot although I’m sure some people probably do cook their cornbread that way. My go-to recipe is Sue Gregg’s blender cornbread which uses whole dry corn. It takes me about 5-10 minutes to get it in the oven and then it bakes for 30 minutes. The recipe is available on her site in a PDF download of sample recipes. Search for the text “sample recipes” on the homepage to find the PDF download link. The recipe is on page 63.

Hummus

We buy our organic dry beans, dry corn, popcorn, wheat, oats, millet, etc. in bulk from Azure Standard and have been pleased with the quality and prices (disclosure: the Azure link is an affiliate link that is part of their “Share Azure” program. If you order through it I may receive a credit in my account. You could also just go directly to Azure Standard’s site; or, if you have a friend who orders from Azure, ask them if they have a Share Azure link you can use). I’m sure you can probably find these at your local grocery store or health food store as well.

Tikka Masala garbanzo beans and chicken over millet

So, is an Instant Pot a necessity? No. But we’ve found it to be a time saver for the uses I mentioned. We have the 8-quart size and I love having that size (larger meals and/or more leftovers), even though it takes a bit longer to come up to pressure than a smaller one. If you have a smaller family or cook lower volume, the 6-quart would likely be adequate. We have seen both sizes come up on very good sales (for example 8 quart around $60) during the holiday season in the past. And, of course, there are other brands of modern pressure cookers that would function in a very similar fashion.

God bless you as you seek to cook nutritious meals for your family!

Love,
Anna Marie

“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate
of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation”
(1 Thessalonians 5:8).

23 thoughts on “Simple Meal Ideas with the Instant Pot and Dry Beans”

  1. Thank you for the suggestions! I have been a bit hesitant to use my Insta Pot on a daily basis, but I do have to say I will never make hard boiled eggs any other way again! When I learned how to make them, I was hooked. Especially using our own chicken’s eggs, which can be difficult to peel – they just practically peel themselves!
    I am going to try the tikka masala recipe!

    1. Yes, I was amazed how easily the eggs peeled when cooked in the Instant Pot! Our little ones love doing it! Hope you enjoy the Tikka Masala!

  2. Anna Marie Thank you very much for sharing your recipes and on different options for healthy cooking/living. We greatly appreciate it. I can’t wait to try them!

  3. Can you post the specific recipe for thur navy bean soup in the picture at the top of the post? That looks absolutely delicious. Thanks!

  4. Thank you Anna Marie,
    We love our Instant Pots. These are some great ideas. My favorite is still going from frozen steak and dried beans to chili in 90 minutes. God bless.

    1. That sounds delicious, too! I’ve been really happy with how versatile bean dishes have become with the Instant Pot!

  5. Thank you for sharing all these great ideas! I haven’t tried making beans in my pot yet, but you’ve inspired me to give it a try!

  6. Thank you Anna Marie. This is amazing! I was just speaking to my sister-n-law about Instant Pot over Thanksgiving… I had heard of them, but had not looked into it until today after reading your post. I believe the bone broth is going to be a seller for us. We make a lot of chicken bone broth! If it can be done in less than three hours I will be greatly amazed! I usually let mine simmer 2 days in a crock pot to get the richness in flavor. And also the eggs we do a lot of hard boiled eggs! Thank you for sharing this post and helping me in the decision-making for our family! God Bless You All! Blessed Monday to you!

  7. Thank you! I have several bags of pinto and navy beans but didn’t know how to cook them correctly. I do have an instant or just collecting dust lol until you just taught me two new ideas! I didn’t know you could do eggs in the pot either. Good ideas! Thanks!

    1. Hmmm… I’m afraid I don’t exactly follow many recipes. I tend to cook enough of soups or beans that I know I’ll have enough to freeze at least one extra meal; if you’re following a recipe, just double or whatever to get it to the right amounts for your family to enjoy and have extra. I am finding these days that it’s not as simple to have lots of extra as it used to be. Five growing children with growing appetites and a genuine enjoyment of bean soups, etc. means I’m often left surprised by a low quantity in my pot at the end of dinnertime. 😉

  8. Will have to try this! We were gifted an Instant Pot, but I haven’t gotten around to using it yet. You’ve inspired me to get started!
    And, yes, we tried black bean brownies recently and surprisingly they tasted great!

  9. Hmm! I use our Insta Pot on occasion but have never heard about boiled eggs. Will definitely try this. Many thanks to Anna Marie for all of the suggestions.

    1. I didn’t try eggs in ours for quite some time; but after a quick Google search of how to do it, and seeing how easily they peeled, I haven’t “hard boiled” them in boiling water since!

  10. I adore my Instant Pot and use it everyday! It’s the best way to make various daal recipes in half the time it takes to do on the stovetop. I can make channa daal (split chickpeas) in less than 20 minutes vs hours. You should try making chicken tikka masala from scratch in the Instant Pot. Cook time is only 15 minutes and it will taste a thousand times better than anything from a jar and far healthier.

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