Pressure cookers have come a long way from the complicated contraptions clanging and hissing on our mothers’ stovetops. New one-touch, lock-and-seal models such as the Instant Pot are making it easier than ever to simplify dinner prep, slash cook times, and deepen the flavor of meals.
Here are the simple ways that pressure cooking can help you lose weight and stay healthy.
It eliminates hormone disruptions.
Healthy carbs such as beans, grains, and corn contain high levels of compounds called lectins that can cause the body to pack on fat. Lectins mimic the blood sugar–regulating hormone insulin, which prevents blood sugar from entering cells to be burned for fuel. Instead, the sugar is stored as fat. A pressure cooker will destroy almost all lectins. That’s key, since limiting intake of lectins helps restore insulin response, prompting the body to release stubborn stored fat.
It retains mores slimming nutrients.
Research shows that up to 70 percent of water-soluble nutrients in vegetables — including stress-soothing vitamin C and energizing B vitamins — are lost in steam or boiling water, which is routinely discarded during conventional cooking methods. But an electric pressure cooker has an airtight seal that minimizes evaporation.
It boosts flavor.
Pressure cookers create a pressurized environment that draws liquid back into food, keeping it tender. Leaner cuts of meat do well in pressure cookers because the juices are retained. The intense heat and steam within a pressure cooker also concentrates flavors to make just about any dish taste better — without extra calories from butter, cream, or other fats.
It makes healthy eating quick and easy.
With the help of a pressure cooker, it’s easy to prepare big batches of healthy staples such as soups, shredded chicken, whole grains, and beans — so you can prep an entire week’s worth of meals in just a couple hours on Sunday. Having a tasty, nutritious dish at home increases the likelihood that you will make a healthy choice, plus, you’ll reduce time spent in the kitchen and spend less money on food.
Instant Pot Pho
Yield: 6 servings Active Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces shallots, peeled and halved (about 1 cup)
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 1/2 pound beef bones
1 pound boneless chuck roast
8 cups beef broth
1/2 pound sirloin steak
1 (8-ounce) package rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 1/2 cup mint leaves
1 1/2 cup basil leaves
1 1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
3 cups fresh bean sprouts
Thinly sliced Thai (bird’s eye) chile, Sriracha, and hoisin sauce, for serving
1. Turn an Instant Pot onto the sauté setting. Add oil, shallots, and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Add coriander seeds, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in brown sugar, and cook, stirring often, until dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in fish sauce.
2. Add beef bones, chuck roast, and broth; close and lock lid of cooker; turn valve to sealing position. Turn Instant Pot to HIGH PRESSURE, and cook 30 minutes.
3. Release steam and remaining pressure, and carefully remove lid. Strain broth through a fine wire-mesh strainer fitted with cheese cloth in a large bowl. Return broth to Instant Pot, and place valve on KEEP WARM. Skim fat, as needed. Slice chuck roast thinly against the grain; set aside. Discard beef bones.
4. Meanwhile, freeze sirloin steak for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer, and very thinly slice steak against the grain. Set aside.
5. Divide noodles and chuck roast between 6 bowls, and place steak on top of noodles. Ladle 1 1/3 cup hot broth over steak slices; top with mint, basil, scallions, cilantro, and bean sprouts. Garnish with chiles, Sriracha, and hoisin. Serve immediately.