Instant Pot Cajun Vegetable Rice

Every January, I am come over with a profound hankering for vegetables. It’s the rich meats and steady supply of chocolate over the preceding feast days that has me craving the greener side of the plate. Even Hungry Hubby doesn’t bat an eyelid at the lack of chicken in his dinner! Meat free meals feature heavily on our lunch and dinner menus at this time of year but they are always highly flavoured so no one feels like they are missing out of taste in pursuit of more virtuous and moderate dietary ways. Basmati rice is my most favourite of rises – from it’s warm, floral scent to the long fluffy grains when cooked. It’s just wonderful simply cooked to serve alongside curries or chilli of course but if you add just a few store cupboard and freezer ingredients, you’ve got a complete meal in a bowl. My Instant Pot Cajun Vegetable Rice is made in a jiffy and it’s intense savouriness will keep you satisfied for ages. 

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This simple little bowlful of goodness is everything I want to eat right now. Chilli powder, smoked paprika and cumin give it earthy, smoky heat whilst a little dried thyme and oregano convince you this rice is Cajun not curry! White Basmati cooks in a mere 4 minutes in the Instant Pot, a fact which has seen me turn my back on the brown basmati we have been happily eating for years (which is not so virtuous but go easy on me – it’s only the first week in January!) so this is fast enough make for lunch. It is, however, great as a side dish for some roast chicken for a more substantial meal. As there is hardly any evaporation in the IP you don’t need as much water as you would cooking the rice on the stove plus the addition of frozen vegetables bring their own moisture. I know it’s not particularly sexy to be using bags of frozen peas, sweetcorn, green beans and sliced peppers but can I tell you, when a meal is this convenient and, most importantly, this delicious then you shouldn’t worry yourself about such things. This vegetable rice is a real sensory pleasure to eat what with it’s fragrant aroma and exciting mix of flavours. Happy New Year everyone! 

5 from 1 vote
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Instant Pot Cajun Vegetable Rice
Either a main meal for two as it stands, or a side dish for up to 4 people, depending on what else you serve. Spicy, flavourful and very satisfying.
Servings: 2
Author: Just Jo
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Half an onion finely diced
  • 1 cup white basmati rice washed in a sieve with cold running water
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chilli powder adjust to preferred level of spiciness
  • 1/3 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • heaped cups of frozen vegetables*
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée dissolved in 1 cup just boiled water 250ml
Final seasonings
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • A squeeze of lime
  • A tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté and add the oil followed by the diced onions. Cook for as long as you can bare to wait - at least until they are softened and browning around the edges to bump up the flavour.
  2. Stir in the rice and all the spices, mixing until very well combined. Add your choice of frozen vegetables and the water with the tomato purée dissolved in.
  3. Hit cancel, place the lid on, set the vent to Sealing and press Manual. Set to 4 minutes and get your bowl ready!
  4. Do a Quick Pressure Release and fluff the rice up with a fork before seasoning well with salt and cracked black pepper, a squeeze of lime juice and as much chopped fresh coriander as you like. Leave out the coriander if you prefer but definitely season and spritz with lime before serving straight away.
Recipe Notes
*= stick with small frozen veg like peas, sweetcorn, chopped green beans, shelled edamame (soya beans), chopped peppers and onions. Large pieces of broccoli and cauliflower are too chunky to cook through in the time.
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25 Comments

  1. Veena 05/01/2017 at 19:53 - Reply

    I love Pilafs.. This looks so pretty. such a pretty color and I love the bowl!!!

    • Just Jo 05/01/2017 at 20:31 - Reply

      Thank you! That bowl gets a lot of interest – it’s by Sophie Conran x

  2. Lisa 05/01/2017 at 20:47 - Reply

    I keep seeing Instant Pot recipes and feel like I need to get one so I can try some for myself! As for your recipe…it sounds and looks wonderful! I’m always ready to eat more vegetables after the holidays too! As much as I try to eat healthy all year, I tend to de-rail a little over the holidays and feel so much better when I get back to eating healthier!

    • Just Jo 10/01/2017 at 15:17 - Reply

      Hi Lisa – you do need to join the Instant Pot club, it’s such a fantastic gadget to have at hand. Really glad you like the look of the rice. Happy New Year!

  3. I love basmati rice too! I don’t have a pressure cooker but might consider getting one this year. Your vegetable rice sounds yummy!

    • Just Jo 10/01/2017 at 15:19 - Reply

      You could definitely do this the traditional way on the stove top, just add the veg in the last few minutes so they don’t go soggy x

  4. Lisa @ garlicandzest.com 05/01/2017 at 22:43 - Reply

    Great blend of spices and veg in this dish — and the colors are so vibrant, you just want to dive right in!

    • Just Jo 10/01/2017 at 15:18 - Reply

      I love this spice blend Lisa – I mix up extra to use in all manner of other dishes. Just double or triple the quantities and keep in a little jar.
      Instant flavour booster!

  5. Stephanie@ApplesforCJ 05/01/2017 at 23:07 - Reply

    I really love simple dishes like this. I’m a big fan of rice especially when I’m trying to make a quick tasty dinner. Thanks for sharing this one 🙂

    • Just Jo 10/01/2017 at 15:20 - Reply

      Quick and tasty – yup, that is what I was going for here! It’s so satisfying and stress free too!

  6. Elena 23/01/2017 at 17:52 - Reply

    Hi, it says 1 cup of rice, but is it the normal cups or is it the (smaller) rice cup that comes with the Instant Pot? Thanks

    • Just Jo 23/01/2017 at 17:54 - Reply

      Hi Elena – it’s one American cup so 250ml capacity. I don’t ever use that plastic cup that came with the Instant Pot; it’s a bit weird that they only made it 180ml capacity!

      • Elena 23/01/2017 at 20:05 - Reply

        Thanks for answering so quickly, I’ll definitely try it tomorrow, I love spicy rice

        • Just Jo 23/01/2017 at 21:56 - Reply

          You’re very welcome Elena, I hope you enjoy it!

  7. Holly Bennett 23/03/2017 at 18:36 - Reply

    Do I need to amend the cook time if I multiply the serving size? I want to make a large batch for a potluck.

    • Just Jo 24/03/2017 at 06:37 - Reply

      Hi Holly, thank you for your question! Actually, the good thing about the Instant Pot is that it corrects itself for the *amount* of food you are cooking so you don’t need to adjust the time. Well not upwards at these – if you were making a huge vat of rice, you may actually want to shave a minute off the cooking time as it will take a long time to come to pressure but the rice and veg will be starting to cook as it does so.
      The things to be aware of when scaling this up is that you must not fill the Inner Pot more than half full of rice + the the cooking liquid. It expands so much on cooking this is an important safety consideration. Also, as it’s going to take a while to come to pressure, I would use fresh veg cut really small – think fresh corn cobs, fresh peas, peppers/carrots/broccoli cut into similar sized pieces. I’d be worried that the frozen veg would go soggy after a 10-12 minute “coming to pressure”
      time for a large batch.
      I hope that helps and enjoy your potluck dinner! They aren’t done over here in the UK really, they sounds all sorts of fun!
      Jo x

  8. Joost 13/04/2017 at 05:48 - Reply

    Made this again last night and it was gorgeous as always, Jo. It’s really become a weeknight staple in our house. I chop up ‘chicken’ bits, fry them and add them to the pot after the rice is cooked. A perfect quick meal.

    • Just Jo 13/04/2017 at 09:56 - Reply

      I’m so pleased you enjoy it that much Joost! Rice is definitely my favourite carb, I love this too 🙂

  9. Wendy 18/04/2017 at 18:33 - Reply

    Hi Jo, this looks lovely!! How much longer would it take using brown basmati, and would I need to do anything differently?

    Thanks

    • Just Jo 18/04/2017 at 20:26 - Reply

      Hi there Wendy! Brown basmati takes 23 minutes to cook even in the Instant Pot I’m afraid. The frozen veg would be absolute mush by then. You could stop it at 20 minutes, do a QPR then add the frozen veg on top of the almost cooked rice and give it 3 mins before another QPR. It’s a bit of a pain so I must admit, this is the one time I always use white basmati – I keep a small bag of it in for this but buy giant sacks of the brown stuff for everything else!

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  11. Lorna buffey 14/07/2017 at 20:41 - Reply

    Yummy yummy yummy good for my tummy!after a late shopping trip instead of the usual pizza I all but threw the ingredients into the pot add some chicken and in about the same time as the pizza would take we had a really tasty meal all ready. Definitely made it onto the rotation.

    • Just Jo 14/07/2017 at 21:54 - Reply

      Yay! Oh I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it Lorna! I know Joost and Liz make it and like it too. So lovely when people I actually know try my recipes out 😀 xx

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