Instant Pot Eats {Black Beans and Rice Bowls}

I mentioned right after Christmas that I had asked Honey for an Instant Pot for Valentine’s Day.  We’ve abandoned all of those “no gift with a cord” rules this year.  I mean, the heated mattress pad is my favorite thing I’ve ever owned, so far so good with the Instant Pot, and I really want a Nepresso for my birthday soooo….. I think he’s going to make it through the gauntlet just fine with all of these small household appliances.

Anyhoo, the Instant Pot arrived a bit early and, after staring at it in the box for a few days, I daringly opened it up and set to work.  I had muster some real courage to just plug the thing in. Ha!

I didn’t actually plan to use it this first night.  But, when practice ran late for one of the boys and homework took longer than usual for the other one, I was in a pinch to get dinner on the table.  So, I thought it was as good a time as any to give it a go.

Sill talking about our fun dinner out at Bongos Cuban Cafe, I had already purchased everything to make the Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls from last month’s Southern Living.  I just needed to figure out how to do it in the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls

Adapted from Southern Living

  • 1 package frozen plantains, prepared according to directions OR bag of sweet plantain chips (Trader Joes – we did both because we had leftovers and ended up liking the chips much more than the frozen plantains)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (10-oz.) pkg. yellow rice
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped red onion (from 1 onion), divided
  • 2 (16-oz.) cans seasoned black beans, drained (do not rinse)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 radishes (about 3 oz.), chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, quartered
Step 1

With the Instant Pot on Saute mode, heat 1 T. oil.  Add jalapeno and 1 cup of the red onion. Cook until tender.

Step 2
Turn the Instant Pot to Pressure Cooking mode.   Add rice, black beans, water, cumin and salt.  Cover and make sure valve is on “sealing.” Press the manual button and set to 22 minutes.  When the timer beeps let the pot sit for at least 10 minutes and then use the quick release for the rest of the pressure.

Step 3

Divide cooked black beans and rice evenly among 4 bowls. Top each with plantains, chopped radishes, and diced avocado. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and remaining 1⁄4 cup red onion. Serve with lime wedges.

NOTE: Always follow the manufacturer directions for your specific Instant Pot, including on sealing, venting and cooking times.

Here is what mine looked like versus the meal from the Southern Living kitchen.  Pretty nice, right?!

It was a delicious meal that we all enjoyed and will absolutely make again.  It is also a wonderful option for meat-free Friday during Lent!

Now, here are my initial thoughts on the Instant Pot.

  • Nobody was harmed in the making of this meal.  Aside from the very scary first release of pressure, it was not terrifying at all :-)
  • I don’t believe that the Instant Pot saved me any time at all in making this particular recipe.
  • The real value of the Instant Pot – for me on this night – was that once I put everything in it was a no-fuss supper.  No stirring, boiling over, temp adjusting maintenance.  I LOVED THAT!  I am famous for burning my rice to the bottom of my pot, only after it has boiled all over my stove a few times.
  • It was very easy to clean, even more so than the heavy crock pot that this is also replacing.
  • In hindsight, I should not have tried to adapt a recipe to the Instant Pot on my first go.  I had to read 4,000 other recipes – none of which were in agreement – on how long to cook the rice and what the liquid to rice ratio should be.
  • Honey chose the 8QT Instant Pot Duo Plus.  I told him I didn’t want to outgrow it, and our boys already eat a ton at ages 9 and 12, so I think he made an excellent choice.

So, am I sold?  I need a little time on that and some more things to try.  I would love for y’all to share favorite Instant Pot recipes, cookbooks, tips and tricks with me!  In fact, I’m kind of counting on y’all.  :-)

 8QT Instant Pot Duo Plus (affiliate link)

Sunday Suppers | School Night Suppers  |  Air Fryer Fridays  |  Instant Pot Eats


23 thoughts on “Instant Pot Eats {Black Beans and Rice Bowls}

  1. Your take is exactly what in was going to say – canned beans and rice cook in 25 minutes anyway. BUT, not having to babysit the rice makes it worth it!

    Sounds and looks delicious! xoxo

  2. I have one and tried to use it to replace a crockpot. Really, I like the crockpot better for that use. But I did cook dried beans in it fast..used the soften feature, then cook..but they got too soft. I also found many varying instructions. Also, the quick release put water all over..needed a pan underneath.

  3. I hope you get a ton of recipes so you can have a weekly feature like Air Fryer Friday. :) I’m not super experienced with my IP yet, but I did use it to make the baked potatoes for your baked potato soup. They are much quicker to make in the IP than the oven.

  4. One of my favorite uses for the Instant Pot is risotto… no constant stirring, and perfect results. I use the cold leftover risotto to make arancini… golf-sized rice balls, stuffed with a bit of cheese, rolled in egg, then seasoned panko. Kids enjoy making them! I pan fry them but imagine they would also turn out great in an air fryer. For the risotto, I saute a small onion and 2 chopped cloves garlic in 2 TB butter till soft. Stir in 1 1/2 cups arborio rice and saute for a couple of minutes. Add a splash of white wine and stir until evaporated. Add 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, 3 TB grated parmesan, seal the pot and cook at high pressure for 8 min. Quick release and remove from heat. Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil (optional) and pass additional parm at table. Many possible variations.

  5. I would wait until you try out the slow cooker function on the IP before getting rid of your crockpot. As much as you entertain, there could be occasions where you use both at the same time. Also, a lot of people say the slow cook function is not as good on the IP b/c it heats from bottom only whereas a crock pot heats bottom & sides. I also agree that by the time the IP comes to pressure, etc it does not save time on SOME meals, but only one pot to clean up and the ability to walk away & do something else while it’s cooking is valuable. And it does save time on some foods that would otherwise have to cook a long time (ribs, roasts, collard greens, etc). Many people also cook meat from frozen which would be a time saver when you forget to thaw. I think you would love the FB page and/or blog done by Amy + Jacky who thoroughly test their delicious IP recipes. My favorite pressure cooker cookbook is Great Food Fast by Bob Warden. Happy cooking!

    1. Ah, too late for that. But my crock pot HAD to go. I think I need to try the IP as a crock pot this week. Thanks for the suggestion on Great Food Fast!

  6. P.S. — Another way I’ve found my IP to save time is when making bean soup from dry beans because you don’t have to take the time to pre-soak them. I just toss in all the ingredients and set it for about 30 minutes and it’s delish!

    1. I need to try bean soup again. The last time I did something went wrong and they all mooshed to the bottom. :-)

  7. Your post is very timely for me! Last week, I went to lift the lid off my crock pot, and the handle completely detached from the lid sending it shattering to floor in a million pieces. I was debating about replacing it with a newer, fancier crock pot (even though the 15 year old one I had works perfectly fine and does just about everything I need it to). Or just spend $18 on Amazon to replace the lid. Does the Instant Pot really double as a slow cooker? I do need something that can cook low/slow for things like pulled pork and such. And I do love weeknight meals where I can dump stuff in a pot/pan and not have to hover over it! What would you do here now that you’ve tried both?

    1. It does double as a slow cooker, but I haven’t used it like that yet. I think I will this week just to see how it turns out. I LOVED my crock pot. Honestly, the IP is very nice in the same way as the crock pot in that you just dump and turn it on.

  8. We love to make baby back ribs in ours; usually takes 45 minutes and then we just finish them off on the grill with sauce for a few minutes. Also love to throw frozen chicken in it with a jar of salsa verde for 20 minutes and it comes out great. And hard boiled eggs come out perfect in th instant pot!

    1. Another hard boiled egg suggestion. How funny! We eat a strangely large quantity of them… I love the idea of ribs and mex chicken!

  9. Sometimes ‘gifts with cords’ are the best. My daughter has an Insta Pot and loves it. Four person household and it gets a workout. Cooking beans from scratch is the timesaver. She makes refried beans from scratch and the family agrees it makes the best refried beans they have ever eaten. She also loves it for beets, hard cooked eggs. Initially she didn’t want another appliance taking up space in the pantry. The first week she used it 6 days and it doesn’t sit in the pantry very often. I predict you will use it a lot. Looking forward to recipes you share that I will forward.

    1. I saw that it cooks eggs, which is good. I make a lot of boiled eggs :-) I have never even tried refried beans but that sounds so good! Thank you!

  10. We have several favorite Pressure cooker meals. We don’t have an insta pot but some other type so I constantly have to adapt but you learn pretty quickly. Here’s our top three – (i use WAY less sugar)

    And our very favorite: Definitely follow the link on that one to make the cilantro lime rice (you could make it a day ahead if you want to pressure cooker it – I have a separate rice cooker so they cook at the same time) and the corn salsa. We never eat all of the salsa with it but it refrigerates well and is good on chips or tacos later in the week.

    1. Okay, ALL of those look fantastic. Thank you so much for the links. I’m putting at least one of them on next week’s menu.

  11. Thanks for sharing as I have been thinking of gettin an IP. Oh and when you get a nespresso you will LOVE it. We got one for Christmas and wow its awesome!

  12. We LOVE our Nespresso! Went to the store to replace our Keurig, came home with the Nespresso, and haven’t regretted it ever!
    I have been following the food blog Our Best Bites for many years. So many of their recipes are now our family favorites. I don’t own an IP (I am a crockpot fan instead), but I have noticed quite a few IP recipes have been shared on their site.

    1. Ahhh… SO, do you use it as a replacement for the Keurig? It makes regular coffee too? Honey is after me to tell him exactly what I want for my birthday so I need details. I will check out Our Best Bites! Thanks girl!

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