Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

I'm just going to go ahead and say it. I love my Instant Pot. It makes cooking big meals so much easier. And it also makes healthy cooking so much easier. From soups and curries to lentils and grains, the Instant Pot can do it all. Well, most things.

Like pasta! Did you know you can make a one-pot pasta meal in the Instant Pot? That's exactly what I did with this vegan bolognese pasta. If you don't want to read and just want to watch the recipe in action, here's the link to the video. 

And if you do want to read, I have to say that this is my new favorite weeknight meal. It's healthy (if you don't overdo it on the pasta), hearty, and it couldn't be easier to make. After you brown the tofu and vegetables, you just layer in some pasta, marinara sauce, canned tomatoes and vegetable broth and let the Instant Pot do its magic. 

 Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

I used penne pasta in my recipe on Youtube, but you can you use any medium-sized pasta shape you like. 

 Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

Here are some tips for this recipe:

  • Don't skip out on pressing the tofu. Tofu has a lot of excess water, so your dish will be watery and less flavorful if you don't remove that excess water. 
  • Be generous with the seasonings. Tofu is pretty bland on its own, so give it a helping hand with lots of spices. Feel free to use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. Just cook it along with the vegetables. 
  • If you want to beef up this dish even more (sans the beef), add a cup more of mushrooms. 
  • To calculate the exact the exact cooking time once you add all the ingredients, use the cooking time suggested on your boxed pasta, divide it by 2 and then subtract 1 (i.e., 12 ÷ 2 - 1 = 5 minutes). If the cook time range includes odd numbers (i.e., 7-9 minutes), round the smaller number down (i.e., to 6), divide it by 2, and then subtract 1 (i.e., 6 ÷ 2 - 1 = 2 minutes). 
 Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce block of firm tofu
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme  
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper  
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 24 ounce jar of marinara sauce   
  • 32 ounces vegetable stock
  • 1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound dried penne pasta (or any other box pasta)
  • Garnishes: flat-leaf parsley, minced and vegan parmesan cheese (http://amzn.to/2CSDdxq)

Directions

  1. Press the tofu for 30 minutes to remove the excess water (see video at 00:37 for instructions). 
  2. Turn on the Sauté function on the Instant Pot and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once hot, crumble in the tofu and the seasonings (chili powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne). Sauté until tofu begins to brown, approximately 4-6 minutes. Remove tofu from the Instant Pot and set aside.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon olive oil to the Instant Pot and add the diced onion, celery and mushrooms with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. 
  4. Return the browned tofu to the Instant Pot. If needed, add a tablespoon of vegetable stock to deglaze the pan.
  5. On top of the tofu and cooked vegetables, add the pasta. Pour the marinara sauce, vegetable stock, and diced tomatoes on top of the pasta and push the pasta down to make sure it is completely covered in liquid.  
  6. Seal the Instant Pot and set it to Manual mode on High Pressure and cook for 5 minutes (see tips above to calculate the precise cooking time). 
  7. When the time is up, use manual quick release to open the Instant Pot.
  8. Stir the pasta well and serve with vegan parmesan cheese and minced parsley.