My favorite vegetable trio is getting a makeover today in this Instant Pot Vegetable Medley! A garlic and herb creamy, cheesy makeover that will be sure to steal the show away from any main course. So simple and quick to make in the Instant Pot too!
I sat down to write all about these cheesy, creamy veggies and thought to myself, “What exactly is a vegetable medley? Are there rules for said medley, of which I'm not aware?”
I jumped on google and discovered that a Vegetable Medley can be defined as any vegetables that work in harmony together to create a delicious dish.
Well okay then! My favorite trio of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots (which I'll now refer to as BCC) can officially be termed a Vegetable Medley.
My all-time favorite BCC medley was first prepared for me by my mother in law. She is a pro in the kitchen, loves to experiment with new recipes (speaks to my soul!), and is always so willing to taste and critique my experimental recipes, without letting any preconceived notions influence her opinion.
Her, to-die-for, version of a BCC medley is loaded with all kinds of cheesy creamy goodness. I'll skip the meat and rolls and happily eat 3 plates of it.
I decided to take that favorite recipe and lighten it up a bit, but to respect the goodness of the original, it had to be just as delicious.
After some rough experiments with yogurt and silken tofu, by golly, I figured it out!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS HEALTHY CHEESY VEGETABLE MEDLEY
- I got rid of the cream and grated cheese and replaced them with one of my favorite ingredients, Whipped Cream Cheese. It's creamy, fluffy, and melts down and coats these veggies like a dream
- Flavored to the max with spices and herbs. This Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese mixture is amazing and I've slathered it on a good many pieces of Whole Grain Crusty Bread.
- I know I use the words “fast” and “easy” around here a lot (hello! Instant Pot!), but this dish takes 1 minute to cook. ONE! If you buy the pre-chopped, pre-washed bags of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, you literally have a stellar side dish in under 10 minutes
- You can feel good eating half the pot, by yourself. I tested this out just for you, and yep, I felt really good about it
TIPS FOR MAKING PERFECTLY COOKED VEGETABLES
Nothing ruins a good medley like half the ingredients being crunchy and the others being mush. Here's how to solve that problem.
- Add the carrots to the base of the pot first, then put large cuts of cauliflower and broccoli in a steamer basket above them. Voila! No more crunchy carrots ruining a perfect medley
- Also important to emphasize, you want the cauliflower and broccoli cut in big pieces, like a 2-3 bite-size piece. This will keep them from turning to mush
- With 1 minute of cook time, the vegetables are nice and tender, just how we like them. If you want them more crisp-tender, Instant Pots actually have the option of cooking food for zero minutes. Basically what it does is turn off the second it reaches pressure. If your pressure cooker doesn't have the “zero” option, just manually turn the pressure cooker off once pressure is reached
HOW TO MAKE A CREAMY, CHEESY VEGETABLE MEDLEY IN THE INSTANT POT
- Place a cup of water and the carrots in the pot
- Add a steamer basket then add broccoli and cauliflower. Cook for 1 minute
- While they cook, mix up the heavenly Garlic Herb Cheese Sauce
- Quick release the pressure, once the pressure cooker beeps, drain the carrots and add them to the broccoli and cauliflower
- Add cheese sauce to the pot on saute and warm til it's nice and smooth
- Add your veggies back to the pot and gently stir. Add an extra splash of lemon and a sprinkle of salt. Done!
SECRET INGREDIENT FOR MAKING A FAST CHEESE SAUCE FOR PASTA, VEGETABLES, RICE, ETC
Whipped Cream Cheese is my go to whenever I need to pull together a quick, cheese sauce. It combines so well with herbs, spices, pesto, etc and melts down or spreads like a dream.
Sadly, many of you have not discovered this product because every time I list it as an ingredient, I either get asked where to find it or “how do you whip cream cheese.”
Whipped Cream Cheese is one of the Philadephia cream cheese products and you can find it right next to the other tubs and bars of cream cheese in the refrigerated section of any grocery store.
Whipped Cream Cheese is just that, cream cheese that has been whipped until its light and fluffy. This decreases the calories per serving and makes it MUCH easier to mix and combine with other ingredients. Spread it on toast, rice cakes, sandwiches, etc or melt it down and add various herbs and spices to coat pasta and vegetables, as I did with this medley recipe. I also used it to make a creamy sauce in this Mexican Crack Chicken.
Pick some up asap! My fridge is never void of this ingredient.
Everybody scream a big “THANK YOU” to my Master Chef mother-in-law for inspiring this recipe! It's a favorite in my family for holiday meals, cookouts, Sunday dinners, and beyond and I do believe it will become a go to for you as well!
- Red bell peppers, corn, and/or zucchini make a great addition and are amazing in the cheese sauce
- Turn it into a vegetable casserole! Dump it into a 9 x 9 dish, top it with buttery bread crumbs, cheddar cheese, or onion panko crumble, set it under the broiler to brown
- Variation not to do – frozen vegetables. They go mushy and just taste off
TOOLS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT CREAMY VEGETABLE MEDLEYPrint
Instant Pot Creamy Vegetable Medley
Broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots get cooked to perfection and stirred into a healthier creamy, cheesy, garlic and herb sauce. One pot dish in the Instant Pot
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 minute
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 2 pound bag of fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot mix, prewashed – see note
- 8 ounce whipped cream cheese – see note
- 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- pinch of black pepper
- pinch of thyme
- Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot. Place only the carrots into the water. Place a collapsible steamer basket on top of the carrots. Add broccoli and cauliflower.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 1 minute.
- While the vegetables cook, whisk to combine cream cheese, milk, lemon zest, garlic powder, oregano, parsley, basil, salt, onion powder, black pepper, and thyme in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When cooking is complete, use a quick release.
- Holding the handle, remove the collapsible steamer basket from the pot. Drain water from the carrots, add carrots to the basket, set aside.
- Return pot to the pressure cooker, add cream cheese mixture. Select sauté and stir to thin and melt the cheese.
- Add vegetables to the pot and stir gently so the vegetables don’t get mashed. Add an extra splash of lemon juice and salt if desired. Serve warm.
- Make sure the bag of vegetables you buy has the broccoli and cauliflower in large pieces. Alternatively, rinse and cut about 8 cups worth of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
- Whipped Cream Cheese can be found in the refrigerated section next to the other tubs of cream cheese
- Broccoli and cauliflower cook faster than carrots in the pressure cooker. Putting the carrots directly in the water to cook speeds up their cooking time so all of the vegetables are done at the same time
Keywords: instant pot, creamy vegetables, healthy side dish