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Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Mashed Potatoes (Photo by Amy Phelps)

While the love affair with the Instant Pot continues (mine now has a fancy custom decal) there are plenty of new cookbooks that will bring variety to your meals.

Now Megan Gilmore brings fresh and healthy ingredients, as well as serves up gluten-free and refined sugar-free options in “The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook.”

Gilmore’s book has 75 recipes that are meant to bring nutritious meals on weeknights when everyone is busy and takeout looks like a better option.

The recipes all have gluten-free options that aren’t special ingredients, as well as no refined sugar. For any meat or fish dish there is also a vegan substitute and dairy is very limited.

However, all of this does not mean that the book skimps on taste!

Lentil Minestrone (Photo by Amy Phelps)

The book is divided into 7 chapters: Easy Breakfasts, Healthy Side Dishes, Soups and Stews, Meal-Sized Salads and Bowls, Vegetarian Comfort Food, Protein-Packed Favorites and Naturally Sweet Treats.

Easy Breakfasts has recipes such as Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs – something that I constantly see trying to be worked out in Instant Pot groups on social media. Gilmore figures it out for you! There’s also Peanut Butter Crunch Granola Bars, Flourless Banana Oat Cake and Huevos Rancheros.

Healthy Side Dishes include Cinnamon Applesauce, Healthy Hummus, Garlic-Parmesan Spaghetti Squash and Millet “Cornbread.”

Soups and Stews offer Thai Coconut Carrot Soup, Comforting “Noodle” Soup and African Peanut Stew.

Meal-Sized Salads and Bowls include Taco Salad with Zesty Lime Vinaigrette, Korean Chicken Bowls and “Cheeseburger” Salad with Special Sauce.

Vegetarian Comfort Food offers Hidden Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Mushroom and Barley “Risotto” and Speedy Sweet Potato Curry.

Protein-Packed Favorites have recipes for Thai Salmon Curry, Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry and Chicken Tikka Masala.

Naturally Sweet Treats end things with Fresh Apple Crumble, Flourless Brownies and Deep-Dish Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.

I tried two dishes out of the cookbook. The first was Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Mashed Potatoes. I was so pleased with how this turned out I shared a photo with an Instant Pot group on social media! I thought my picture came very close to looking just like the photo in the book. The creamy part is made of coconut milk and seasonings, and the “mashed potatoes” are actually mashed cauliflower that cooks in the pot in the sauce along with the chicken. Having everything, from the chicken to the sauce to the side dish, cook in the same pot, is a definite time saver. My husband and I both really liked the dish, everyone liked the sauce and the chicken, while feelings were mixed about the cauliflower mash.

The other dish I tried was the Lentil Minestrone. I really love vegetable soup and recently discovered that I like lentils too, but had never attempted to cook them. This was my first time trying and it turned out really well. A lot of fresh vegetables go into the soup and the lentils make a delicious addition.

Once again, everything cooks in the pot and doesn’t require a lot of things to clean up. That is such a bonus to the Instant Pot. My husband and I loved the soup, and we both loved having the leftovers for later. Everyone else made the attempt to try it, but didn’t like it. I told them more for me!

I was really pleased with the ease of all the recipes and especially the taste. I will definitely try more from the book!

“The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook” is published by Ten Speed Press. It is $19.99.

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Q&A With Author Megan Gilmore

1.Why should people get an Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is perfect for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time in their kitchen, but still want to have delicious homemade meals. Your dinner may not always be ready in an “instant” but you certainly feel like you have more time on your hands, because in many cases you can add your ingredients to the pot, press a button, and walk away. This frees up your time to finish up a load of laundry, play with your kids or do whatever else you love around your house while your dinner cooks to perfection — in less than an hour! If healthy food is a priority, you’ll also be happy to hear that pressure cooking has been shown to preserve more nutrients in your food when compared to other forms of cooking, like steaming or baking, so you’ll get more nutritional bang for your buck every time you use your Instant Pot.

2. What is a recipe you would recommend in your book for novice cooks to try?

Try the Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup! It’s a “dump” recipe, which means you add a bunch of raw ingredients to the Instant Pot, press a button and walk away. When the cooking cycle is over, your meal is ready and your kitchen will smell like Thanksgiving! It’s been a hit with everyone who tries it.

3. What is your favorite recipe from the book?

That’s hard, because I love so many of them! I think I’m most proud of recipes that sneak vegetables into the meal in unexpected ways. For example, there’s a recipe for Hidden Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese where a pound of cauliflower dissolves into the cheese sauce so that picky eaters will eat their veggies without knowing it! My One-Pot Chocolate Cake also has a sneaky serving of veggies. The frosting is made from cooked sweet potatoes, instead of using butter, which cook at the same time as the cake, all in the same Instant Pot. No one will know your secret, and it’s such a time saver to have everything cook in one pot while you do something else!


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