Posted by: lornasass | January 12, 2010


My esteemed colleague Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, has been enthusiastically spreading the word about pressure cooking for decades.  Her specialty is vegetarian cooking, and for vegetarians the pressure cooker is an especially essential tool for quick preparation of beans and whole grains.

I invited Jill to do a guest post and share one of her recipes on this blog, and here’s what she came up. For more of her culinary wizardry, visit her website.  You won’t be disappointed.

Photo copyright Jill Nussinow, 2010

The Veggie Queen Riffs on Lorna Sass and Pressure Cooking with a Recipe for Black Bean and Sweet Potato Hash

If it were not for Lorna Sass, I would not own a pressure cooker (or six). In the late 1980s, I took a writing class in Los Angeles with a writer who knew Lorna. She kept mentioning that she knew someone who was writing a pressure cooking book. I already knew about pressure cookers because my Mom used one. I found them scary and intimidating because my Mom’s cooker blew up. It made a mess all over the kitchen. But I heard that there was a new type of pressure cooker. As a major bean eater, then and now, I knew that the pressure cooker could save me a lot of time so I bought one.

I brought it home and the box sat for 13 days unopened. On day 14, within the department store return policy, I returned that Cuisinart pressure cooker. I still wish that I had more courage at the time and used the cooker but eventually I did.

It took having a child and a business for me to realize that I needed a pressure cooker. I got my first cooker in 1995 and bought Lorna’s book, Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. Shortly thereafter, I met Lorna and saw her demonstrate using a pressure cooker, and then I got my second cooker. The next year, I began teaching classes and the rest is history.

The pressure cooker is on my short list of essential kitchen equipment. I am hooked on pressure cooking, and it’s one of the best addictions one can have. I produce tasty food, quickly and easily. Almost anyone can do it with a little instruction, which is why I have You Tube videos and a pressure cooking DVD. I owe my love of pressure cooking to Lorna and say that she’s my mentor even though we’ve never cooked together.

One of my favorite combinations is sweet potatoes with beans. Had my computer not been wiped out last year (please back yours up RIGHT NOW, or after you read this post), I would likely have posted my curried sweet potatoes with garbanzo beans but instead I chose my other favorite sweet potato combo – with black beans. I cooked some black beans in my pressure cooker the other night (in 6 minutes at pressure), so this dish came together easily. I always cook extra beans and stash them in 1 ½ to 2 cup portions in the freezer. Canned beans are almost a thing of the past, except for the few cans that I keep around for emergencies.

Spicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Hash

Serves 4

This is an ideal breakfast food for me but others will probably like it for lunch or a light dinner. It can be served over brown rice or quinoa, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla or made into a soft taco, featured in the photo, or as a side dish.

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup chopped onion

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped sweet potatoes, about 2 small to medium, peeled

2 teaspoons chili powder (not spice)

1/3 cup vegetable broth

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup cooked black beans

¼ cup green onion, chopped

Splash of hot sauce, to taste

Salt to taste

Cilantro, chopped for garnish

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the sweet potatoes and chili powder. Stir to coat the sweet potatoes with chili. Add the vegetable broth and stir.

Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain pressure for 3 minutes. Then quick release the pressure.

Remove the lid, tilting it away from you, and add the salt, black beans and green onion. Cook another minute or two, until the beans are heated through. Add hot sauce, if desired. Taste and add more salt, if you like. Top with chopped cilantro.

©2010, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie Queen™,



  1. Sweet potatoes and black beans–it makes me want to get out my pressure cooker right now.

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