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How Pressure Cooker 3 Bean Chili Could Make Betty Draper a Better Mother

If Betty Draper had an Instant Pot, she probably would have drank less, cooked more and still would have been left with plenty of time and energy to keep her hair on point. Luckily, we can all get ourselves an electric pressure cooker and join the cult although my hair has never looked as good as Betty's.

I have been working for a while to adapt my pressure cooker chili into a vegetarian, three bean chili so that I can have a nice, thick chili that has all the same flavours as my meat filled chili. Because there is no evaporation, it is easy to end up with a watery chili that is bland and lacklustre. Then, you must consider the fact that cooking dry beans in the pressure cooker with an acidic ingredient, like tomatoes, can result in unevenly cooked beans that can take up to four times longer to cook. Now, if I have all the time in the world, I am fine with that and just cook for longer with the tomato but this particular recipe was going to be the main dish featured in my upcoming Vegetarian Pressure Cooking Class so I didn't have that luxury. That meant that I would have to cook the beans first and then, and only then, would I add the tomatoes and the chipotles in adobo. My main concern was that the tomato flavour wouldn't feel as "cooked in" as it does when you add them from the start. As it turns out, I was worried for nothing because adding the tomatoes in after the initial cooking period worked out beautifully.

If you don't have one yet, the best place to buy an Instant Pot used to be on Amazon but you can get the same prices by buying from the company directly here as well.

I used a mixture of pinto, black beans and kidney beans but you can use any beans you like but keep in mind that not all beans have the same cooking times. Check the cooking time for each variety of bean here and adjust the first cooking time accordingly so that your cook time will cover the recommended time for the longest cooking bean you are using.

As an added bonus, I whipped up these nachos with the leftover chili - this is not a recipe as much as it is a method. You can use whatever amounts of each ingredient that you like, they are your nachos:

preheat the oven to 375F

chop up a couple tomatoes and about 1/4 red onion and toss in a bowl with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime and pinch of kosher salt

throw a layer of tortilla chips down on a cooking try or in a big cast iron skillet

heat up some chili until it's warm and then spoon half of that over the chips

spoon some of the tomato/onion on top of that and then cover with a layer of grated cheese (I used jalapeno monterray jack) and repeat for a second layer, reserving a bit of the tomato/onion for the very top

Bake for about 15 minutes and then, turn on the broiler for another few minutes so the top gets really brown (you can skip this step but I like some charred bits on mine)

they are messy and I end up eating them with a fork because they can get pretty sloppy

That's it!

*This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon so if you click the link and purchase something, I do get a small percentage of the sale, which helps me to maintain The Yum Yum Factor.

Pressure Cooker Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

serves 6-8

To Quick Soak the Beans: (you need a total of 1 lb or 454 grams beans)
1/3 lb (150g) dried black beans
1/3 lb (150g) dried kidney beans
1/3 lb (150g) dried pinto beans
4 cups water
1 tsp kosher salt

rinse the beans, put them in the pot with 4 cups of water and a tsp of salt, close the lid (making sure the valve is turned to seal) and hit manual - program it for 2 minutes. When it's done, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then slowly start to release the steam. If anything other than steam comes out, give it another minute and try again. Pour the beans in a strainer and give them a rinse and set aside.


2 tbls oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 lb (454g)  mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
*the soaked and drained beans
3 cups (750ml) vegetable or mushroom stock
1 cup (250ml) beer
2 tbls cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
1/2 tsp smoke paprika
2 tsp mexican oregano
small handful of cilantro, chopped
pinch kosher salt
1 800ml can diced tomatoes
1 canned chipotle chili in adobo, chopped (or to taste)

Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until they are finely chopped.

Turn the pot to saute and when it's hot, add the oil and then throw in the onion, garlic and celery. Saute for about 3 minutes to soften before adding in the finely chopped mushrooms. Give it a good stir and let it cook for a minute or two.

Pour in the stock, beer and add the beans, the cumin, chili powder,  smoked paprika, oregano and cilantro and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Bring to a simmer and as soon as you see it start to bubble, lock the lid on (making sure the valve is turned to sealing) and turn off the saute. Hit the manual button and set it for 15 minutes and, when the time is up, let the pressure release naturally (or at least for 10 to 15 minutes) before you open the lid. Test all three types of bean and make sure they are cooked to your liking. If any of them feel like they could use a bit more time, seal the lid again, make sure the vent is set back to sealing and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes at HP, give a 10 minute NPR and then check again until they are perfect. At this point, add in the tomatoes and the chipotle chili and let it simmer on saute for about ten minutes.

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