Meal prep is just one of the ways I stay sane. And when nothing else works as it should during the week, I know this – everybody is hungry at the end of the day. Since the Instant Pot came on the scene, my Sunday meal prep has become a whole lot more enjoyable….and speedy.

6 Instant Pot Meal Prep Ideas | Maple and Marigold

Every Sunday afternoon I spend a couple of hours in the kitchen to get ready for the upcoming week. A little bit of preparation means I reduce my stress during the week. Less stress means less yelling, and school lunches and dinners are made easier and faster for the days ahead. Convinced, yet?

You can read more about why I bought the Instant Pot here along with tips on how I got around to loving my new appliance here. But in the meanwhile here are 6 Instant Pot meal prep tips that have transformed my kitchen routine.

How to Use the Instant Pot for Sunday Meal Prep 

First, I think it’s important to address the elephant in the room: The Instant Pot isn’t a magic wand. It doesn’t always reduce the cooking time. What it does do in spades is to help multitask. Juggling between different stages of cooking is easier with a 5th burner on the side. That’s what the Instant Pot is  – an easy to clean, efficient 5th burner. One that can be left alone to do its thing while you do other things. Or watch Netflix – who am I to judge?

Good things can take time – but not in an Instant Pot. It is designed as an electric pressure cooker but also does the work of a slow cooker, rice cooker, yoghurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and a warming pan. It’s truly an all-in-one pot but you don’t even need all these features to get organized for the week. An Instant Pot will literally rescue your Sunday meal planning and reduce your meal prep time.

6 Instant Pot Meal Prep Ideas | Maple and Marigold

Six Instant Pot Meal Prep Ideas

I’ve organized the tips by ingredient and show you how to cook each using the Instant Pot. In the following tips, I’m assuming you’re doing these in one afternoon.

You will need:

Meal Prep Ideas for the Instant Pot | Maple and Marigold

Chickpeas

On Sunday morning before breakfast, I soak the dry chickpeas. Chickpeas are a solid source of protein. They are plant-based (of course!), healthy and delicious and my kids eat them without complaining. The flavour and texture of the canned variety is still there but is vastly different from those made from dry. So if you eat chickpeas, use dry chickpeas instead of canned, and get soaking!

Meal Prep Tips from my kitchen | Maple and Marigold

How to cook chickpeas: Soak the chickpeas for a few hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. Pour in Instant Pot and cover with fresh water by at least a couple of inches. Pressure cook along with a little bit of salt and a bay leaf for 14 mins high pressure. NPR min 5 mins.

 

Pro Tip:  If you forgot to soak the chickpeas in the morning, pour a kettle of hot water over them while you are puttering around. A half hour of a good hot water soak also works in a pinch but extend the cook time on the Instant Pot by another 10 minutes.

Use: These Instant Pot chickpeas will form the basis of many meals during the week.  You can use them in a Chickpea curry (I often add them to this vegetarian coconut milk curry), on top of salads, in tacos, and of course as a  hummus dip. Once you’ve had homemade hummus you’ll never go store-bought.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Fresh tomato sauce is the best. I usually make a batch during the summer season and it stores well in the freezer. But that doesn’t last long and so every Sunday I make a mason jar full of homemade tomato sauce.

How to make homemade tomato sauce: Wash 4 large tomatoes. Add them in the Instant Pot along with a cup of water. Turn on saute mode. Once the water is hot put the glass lid on. Let the tomatoes blanch – you’ll see the skin start to crack in 15 mins. Cool slightly, peel skin and blend with the immersion blender, right in the Instant Pot. The sides of the Instant Pot pot are high making it perfect for “in-pot blending.”  

Use: Bottle and use during the week to make spaghetti or this makhani sauce.
 

Cooking Beans in the Instant Pot

Yes, beans get two sections, that’s how versatile and necessary they are in our diet. Chickpeas are delicious in many dishes, and then there are other beans like black-eyed peas and red kidney beans {rajma}. Beans make a great Instant Pot meal prep. Theyneed less soaking and fewer minutes in the Instant Pot.

How to cook beans: Add the beans in the Instant Pot along with double the quantity of water. Cook on high pressure for 15-20 minutes. NPR. You can refer to the Instant Pot timetable here.

Meal Prep Tips from my kitchen | Maple and MarigoldPro Tip: White beans take less time than red or black

Use: Beans make a delicious topping for a salad, as a filler in taco chicken or in your favourite chilli recipe. I grew up with Rajma chawal {red kidney beans curry with rice} as a Sunday staple because it takes a while to make the rajma. Not anymore if the prep work is done on Sunday. Thanks to the Instant Pot and Sunday meal prep, we can now have rajma any day of the week.

Boiled Rice

It sounds simple,but boiled rice will rescue you on those crazy Thursday nights when the fridge is empty and you really don’t want to order takeout.

How to cook rice: Rinse and wash two cups of rice. Add into Instant Pot along with 4 cups of water. Cook on high for 6 minutes and NPR for 5. You can also make brown rice for the week – it adds protein and fibre to your diet. Just use the Instant Pot timetable or the button if you have it on your model.

Use: I cook curry at least once during the week and boiled rice makes a great accompaniment. I have also been known to make arancini and rice pakora (both are different types of deep fried fritters) and of course my favourite is this recipe conveniently named “Clean your Fridge” fried rice.

Broccoli Instant Pot Meal Prep | Maple and Marigold

Broccoli

Normally we are all fans of my stovetop, sauteed broccoli. It doesn’t take long and can be done on a rushed weeknight. On Sundays though, I steam broccoli so I can use it as a filler in a number of ways.

How to cook broccoli: Cut broccoli into florets and add to steamer basket. Insert the steamer basket into the Instant Pot with a cup of water. Steam for 2 mins. QR.

Use: This broccoli often makes its way into kids’ lunch boxes as their healthy snack for school. The florets are also great in curries, and when mashed up into these masoor dal fritters. They make me look so good!

Cooking Potatoes in an Instant Pot | Maple and Marigold

Potatoes

I saved the best for last…for a reason. Potatoes often get a bad rap but it’s the method of cooking that is to blame. Steaming them in the Instant Pot, I promise, is one of the most versatile and delicious ways to include potatoes in your meals.

How to make potatoes in Instant Pot: I use the small potatoes that are available by the bagful at Costco. You can use any new potatoes in this recipe. Wash well. Scrub if you need to. Leave the skin on if you are using baby potatoes. A lion’s share of the nutritional value is right underneath the skin and we lose it all if we peel. Add the potatoes in the steamer basket along with a cup of water and insert the basket into the Instant Pot. Pressure cook it on high pressure for 10 mins. QR.

Use: Potatoes can be included as an easy mashed potato side dish, made into aloo tikkis (cutlets),or mashed and grilled with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Meal Prep Tips from my kitchen | Maple and Marigold
 
Pro Tip: steamed potatoes refrigerate easily for a week.
 

 

 

Instant pot really makes the Sunday meal prep process much easier and faster. Give the above Instant Pot meal prep tips a go and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear how the Instant Pot has helped you with your meal prepping. What are your favourite Instant Pot hacks?

6 Instant Pot Meal Prep Ideas | Maple and Marigold