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5 bowls of green soup

While sheltering at home in the spring and summer of 2020, award-winning food blogger Michelle Tam and her husband and coauthor, Henry Fong, created most of the dishes in their latest cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! The pandemic inspired the book’s direction, Tam notes, prompting them to focus on “fast, easy, and comforting recipes to combat kitchen fatigue and uplift our spirits.”

That’s certainly the case with these recipes, which make use of an Instant Pot: One of Tam’s favorite kitchen tools, it reduces cooking time and can even keep your food warm until you’re ready to eat. Don’t have one on hand? You can also make these dishes in a slow cooker or on your stovetop.

All the paleo-friendly recipes in the book are designed to be healthful, practical, and delicious. “This cookbook is a collection of dishes that — when life put our backs to the wall — I made with love for my family,” Tam writes. “These recipes truly give me joy.”

— KAELYN RILEY

Paleo Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Green Soup

Michelle Tams' green soup

Makes five servings | Prep time 20 minutes | Cook time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or
  • 3/4 tsp. regular kosher salt, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 medium head broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup peeled and diced apple
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Switch on the sauté function on the Instant Pot. Once it’s hot, swirl in the oil.
  2. Toss in the onion and half the salt. Cook for two to three minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is slightly softened. Turn off the sauté function.
  3. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  4. Add the broccoli, zucchini, scallions, and apple to the pot. Mix well. Pour in the broth and add the remaining salt.
  5. Cover and cook for one minute under high pressure. Then turn off the pot and release the pressure manually.
  6. Open the pot and add the baby spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted.
  7. Blend the soup in batches using a high-speed blender. Make sure to fill the ­blender no more than two-thirds full, remove the center of the lid, and cover the top with a towel. Alternatively, blend the soup in the pot using an immersion blender.
  8. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cashew cream.

NOTE: Because Diamond Crystal kosher salt flakes are large and hollow, a teaspoon of it contains less sodium than other brands. If you’re using another type of kosher or sea salt, scale back the volume and salt to taste.

Tangy Cashew Cream

steps to make the tangy cashew topping

Makes five servings | Prep time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 3/4 tsp. regular kosher salt

Directions

  1. Drain the soaked cashews and toss them in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blitz the contents until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt or lemon juice if needed.

Instant Pot Pipián Pork

Michelle Tam's pipian pork

Makes six servings | Prep time 10 minutes | Cook time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 1/2 tsp. regular kosher salt
  • 2 cups pipián verde (see below), divided
  • 2 tbs. raw pepitas
  • 2 radishes, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 tbs. fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, toss the pork with the salt. Add the pork cubes and 1/2 cup pipián verde to an Instant Pot. Lock the lid on the pot. Cook under high pressure for 35 minutes.
  2. While the pork is cooking, toast the pepitas in a large skillet over medium heat for three to five minutes or until fragrant. Transfer them to a plate to cool.
  3. After 35 minutes, manually release the pressure and check that the pork is done. Pour the remaining pipián verde into the pot and turn on the sauté function.
  4. Cook for five to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve garnished with the radishes, cilantro, and toasted pepitas, alongside the cauliflower rice (see belwo).

Pipián Verde (Green Mole Sauce)

a bowl of Michelle Tam's green mole

Makes six cups | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw pepitas
  • 1 lb. tomatillos, husked
  • 3 jalapeño chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 4 oz. baby spinach
  • 3 large romaine lettuce leaves, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbs. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 3/4 tbs. regular kosher salt
  • 2 tbs. avocado oil

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the pepitas in a single layer. Toast the seeds, stirring occasionally, for three to five minutes or until they are fragrant and you can hear them popping. Transfer them to a plate to cool.
  2. In a high-speed blender, combine the pepitas, tomatillos, jalapeños, onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup broth. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the spinach, lettuce, cilantro, and salt. If your blender’s not big enough, add the greens in batches. Blitz until liquefied.
  4. Heat a large saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s hot, swirl in the oil.
  5. Pour in the purée. It’ll probably splatter, so have a lid or a towel ready! Bring the sauce to a simmer.
  6. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for eight to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Keep the saucepan partially covered to reduce splattering.
  7. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of broth. Increase the heat to bring the sauce back to a simmer for five more minutes.
  8. The mole should have the texture of a creamy soup. If it’s too chunky for your liking, just blend it some more. Taste and add more salt if needed. In a sealed container, this mole will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator and up to four months in the freezer.

Cauliflower Rice

steps for how to make riced cauliflower

Makes six servings | Prep time 10 minutes | Cook time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium (1 lb.) cauliflower head, cut into uniform pieces
  • 2 tbs. avocado oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower pieces until they’re chopped to the size of rice grains. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower.
  2. Cook, stirring, for five to 10 minutes or until soft.
  3. Season with salt to taste.

Shrimp Simmered in Green Mole

a pot of shrimp in green sauce

Makes four servings | Prep time 20 minutes | Cook time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. raw pepitas
  • 2 cups pipián verde (recipe above)
  • 1 1/2 lb. shrimp (21–25 count per pound), shelled and deveined
  • 3/4 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/2 tsp. regular kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs. fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the pepitas in a single layer.
  2. Toast the seeds, stirring occasionally, for three to five minutes or until the pepitas are fragrant and you can hear them popping. Transfer the toasted pepitas to a plate to cool.
  3. Pour the green mole sauce into the skillet. Cook until it’s simmering, about one to two minutes.
  4. While the green mole sauce is heating up, toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the simmering green mole sauce. Cook, stirring, for three to five minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.
  5. Season to taste with extra salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with toasted pepitas and fresh cilantro before serving.

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Nom Nom Paleo Let's Go book coverRecipes excerpted from Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! Copyright January 2022 by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong. Published January 18, 2022, by Andrews McMeel Publishing. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Michelle Tam is the award-winning food blogger at NomNomPaleo.com. Her previous cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans and Ready or Not!, are both New York Times bestsellers.

This article originally appeared as “Dinner in an Instant” in the March 2022 issue of Experience Life.

Photography by: Henry Fong
Michelle Tam headshot
Michelle Tam

Michelle Tam is an award-winning food blogger at NomNomPaleo.com who also has a Webby Award–winning Nom Nom Paleo cooking app available for iPhone and iPad. Her cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, is a New York Times bestseller.

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