Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Autmun Pumpkin and Cranberry Beans (No Added Fat)

I was delighted to have my Kindergartener daughter help in designing tonight's dinner. I had the idea of an autumn meal, blending some sweetness of pears into a savory dish, using my pressure cooker. I love winter squash, but my daughter doesn't. Pumpkin is similar but I rarely cook with it - and I was hoping that the excitement of the seasonal Halloween vegetable might excite my daughter to enjoy it.

I was going to pressure cook pear, pumpkin, and onion (and garlic if my Dad weren't visiting) for 3 minutes, then mix in seitan. She liked the idea, but suggested cranberry beans instead of seitan, and wanted kale. I ended up not using pears, but want to try pressure cooking pears with perhaps pumpkin or some other vegetable sometime soon. Here is what I did.

  • 3/4 cup cranberry beans
  • Water to just cover beans in the pressure cooker
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 small or medium edible pumpkin (I used an organic pie pumpkin; some Halloween decorative pumpkins may not be sold to be eaten by people) cut into 1" squares (approx. 3 cups)
  • 1/2 onion cut into thin half moon slivers approx. 1/4" x 3/4" (approx. 1 cup)
  • 5 large kale leaves roughly hand cut into 3/4" or 1" pieces, stems removed (approx. 1 2/3 cup compressed)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste (I used about 1/4 t)
  • (Optional) 1/4 t ground cumin seed

  1. The Instant Pot has a convenient "bean" button that cooks beans for 30m at high pressure; my wife rinsed the beans and put them in the pot, adding just enough water to cover them, along with the bouillon cube, and used the bean button.
  2. That should have nicely cooked the beans, but my wife had ended up stacking several items in the pressure cooker, which I've never done - and the beans, even at 30m weren't done. I cooked them for another 8m.
  3. After a few minutes, I gently let out the pressure and added the pumpkin, onion, kale, and half cup of water, stirred, and cooked for 6 more minutes. I believe that all would cook in 3 minutes, but I wanted to be sure that the beans would be done as they were still a bit harder than I'd like.
  4. I waited a few minutes, then slowly let out the heat and opened the pressure cooker.
  5. I mixed in the salt and cumin, then served.


I quite liked the main course, though the pumpkin indeed was essentially pureed. The pumpkin skin was intact but softened, and was good to eat. I liked the dish; my daughter and wife ate it and liked but didn't love it. I wasn't surprised about my daughter, as she doesn't like squash. While I liked how the pumpkin made the dish, I may have to come up with different ways of preparing pumpkin to satisfy my family.

Ideas for the future

Garlic, ginger, and a bit of jalapeno would be good. I suspect that some turmeric and raw onion mixed in at the end would be beneficial.

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