This week is devoted to vegetarians! Whether you choose to go veggie for health or ethical reasons, or simply enjoy vegetables more than anything else, I salute you! For those omnivores out there, consider going meatless for one or two meals a week—you may be surprised at how little you miss your chicken!
A reader asks for some fun new ideas for vegetarian potluck foods, and I put the Instant Pot to the test. What’s more fun than delicious sautéed mushrooms like you might find at the Renaissance Faire? Enjoy Vegetarian Instant Pot Renaissance Faire-Style Mushrooms!
Hi Kori, I love your site! I was looking for new ideas for simple but delicious main dishes to bring to a vegetarian potluck.
This is how most of my friends in the Jewish community celebrate Shabbat and holidays together. It’s always great fun, but I’ve brought one too many pasta salads, and I could use some inspiration!
Should transport well, be good hot or at room temperature, and not give anyone food poisoning if it sits out all evening. Bonus points if it’s something I can make the night before.
Thank you for your question, friend! I’m so glad you are enjoying this advice/recipe column—I’m enjoying writing it!
While we are Catholic, our daughter attended a wonderful Jewish preschool, so I am very familiar with the kosher, vegetarian potluck. I also know that it can be hard to find something warm and hearty on the buffet table, beyond a few lukewarm veggie lasagnas, that help to make those potluck meals feel substantial.
I will happily admit that I usually signed up to bring desserts and just compounded this problem.
Luckily, a conversation I had with one of my brothers recently came just in time for me to offer up a lovely new option for you: Vegetarian Instant Pot Mushrooms!
(If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make these on the stove or in a crockpot. I do strongly recommend purchasing an Instant Pot, though—mine has been a total meal-making game changer. Amazon Affiliate Link*)
My brother and his wife received an Instant Pot for Christmas, so during our last phone call, the two of us—like the good siblings that we are—enthusiastically shared our favorite new pressure cooker recipes. He mentioned to me that, using his Instant Pot, he had begun making a recipe for Renaissance Faire-style sautéed mushrooms in an eighth of the prescribed ALL DAY stovetop/crockpot cooking time, and I had to check it out.
I worked at the exact Renaissance Faire mentioned in this recipe on summer weekends in college, and since my boss was married to the man who ran the mushroom booth, a big bowl of these garlicky beauties with a breadstick was always a part of my mid-day meal. My mouth watered on the phone just thinking about them.
Moments after I hung up, my email pinged and I saw that my brother had sent me the recipe in question. I set out to make it that afternoon, but I didn’t have any good beef broth on me. It was in that moment that I wondered how many vegetarians attended the faire assuming that the mushrooms were vegetarian—and maybe they are, we don’t know the actual recipe, after all—and decided to see how I could make this dish vegetarian with the lovely homemade veggie broth I had on hand.
The critical part of converting this recipe involved boosting the umami, “beefy” flavor. Mushrooms already contain this quality, that’s why they pair so beautifully with steak. Soy sauce also contributes to the umami flavor. With this knowledge in mind, I had a game plan.
I purchased one extra pint of mushrooms than called for in the original recipe, and once home, placed them in my food processor and chopped them until almost a paste. That paste—when cooked up with onions in the bottom of the Instant Pot on the sauté setting—created a terrific base of flavor to “beef” up the broth. Unlike the original recipe, I took more time to get some color on the onions, then added that mushroom paste and some salt, and cooked it until the mushroom liquid was released, at least 10 minutes. I also added 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to the mixture—if you are using a very salty broth, be sure to check the over salt level, and adjust as necessary to accommodate the soy sauce.
Dried thyme, cooked in the butter and aromatics, really added some oomph of the dish. I also went ahead and threw the fresh thyme in for the entire cooking time, unlike in the original recipe, which calls for adding the thyme for the final hour.
Using the Instant Pot, an 8 hour job was done in 1 hour and 50 minutes of high pressure, plus natural pressure release. That said, the second time I made these—they are that good, I made them twice in two weeks—I cooked them for 2.5 hours, and got a slightly softer result. I wouldn’t cook them any longer than that, but you may want to choose between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, depending on your texture preference.
In the stovetop version, the mixture is cooked down for the final hour with the lid off. I found that the mushroom paste helped to thicken and flavor the liquid. Traditionally, these mushrooms are served with a very thin liquid, so unless you feel your broth flavor needs a boost, don’t sweat skipping the uncovered step.
I hope this helps with your next potluck, friend!
*As always, should you click on my Amazon Affiliate link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds. Thank you!
- 1 quart plus 1 pint cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
- 2 cups vegetarian stock
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 whole onions, diced
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- ½ cup dry white or rosé wine
- 4-6 sprigs thyme
- After cleaning and trimming, place one pint of mushrooms in food processor and finely chop until almost a paste. (This may be done by hand, as well) Set the other quart aside.
- Place butter in the Instant Pot and turn on to sauté setting.
- Once melted, add diced onions and a pinch of the salt. Cook down, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn golden.
- Add finely chopped mushrooms with another pinch of salt, cook until liquid is released and evaporated.
- Add garlic, cooking until just fragrant, roughly 30 seconds.
- Add additional salt and dried thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in dry wine, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add soy sauce,
- Add the remains quart of whole and halved large mushrooms and stir to mix.
- Add stock, black pepper, and the fresh thyme.
- Cancel sauté and set Instant Pot to high pressure, 1 hour and 50 minutes.
- Allow for natural pressure release and serve.