Don't Rely On Vegetables To Imbue Your Instant Pot Dishes With Flavor

With a million things to do and only 24 hours in a given day, some daily necessities may take a backseat to more pressing matters. Instant pots, the cooking device for people who forget to turn on their slow cooker, assist in the rush of day-to-day life. While it's easy to throw ingredients into the instant pot so it can churn out a meal 30 minutes later, don't expect vegetables to do much for your dishes.

In food, flavor comes from patience as well as fat. The slow simmer, a long boil, lengthy marinating — the creeping passage of time slowly takes flavor from one source to another in glorious osmosis. The richest broths and braises come from foods that have been cooking for hours, developing their tastes. The quick nature of a pressure cooker doesn't allow for that.

Instead, water quickly releases from vegetables, adding even more liquid to food. Without the time for the seasonings to take on a full-bodied flair, the excess liquid simply makes the food bland. After all, what is vegetable stock without the lengthy simmer of ingredients? If you're using vegetables that already have a high water content, add less water than the recipe calls for. You can also swap it out for more flavorful liquids such as broth or wine.

Follow these tips to properly flavor instant pot dishes

Instant pots are great for whipping up vegetables on short notice, allowing them to steam quickly while maintaining their nutrients. Yet, without a longer cooking time, you'll need to turn to other ingredients for taste. Certain dry seasonings fully release their flavors in a dish at different times, so be mindful of what you use. A liberal amount of salt can work wonders on a bland meal. Herbs like rosemary and sage flavor food quickly, while thyme has a slower release.

Choosing powerful umami flavors is also a great way to imbue your instant pot dishes with a more potent taste. Crush a bouillon cube or two into the pot after adding water and stir well. A spoonful of miso paste is another great way to give your food a mouth-watering taste. The paste is great for flavoring protein and vegetables in a quick instant pot tofu miso soup.

Although they do contain a large amount of water, mushrooms can quickly add a meaty flavor to any dish. Once the water dries out, the fungi take on the task of infusing meals with its taste. When choosing other vegetables, however, go for ones that don't have a high water content. Corn and dried red peppers don't have as high a water content compared to other vegetables, so they could be the key to more flavorful instant pot dishes.