Skip to main content
Cooking tips and recipes, plus food news and views.
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Instant Pot beef stroganoff that you can make dairy-free, too

(Photos by Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

When someone tells me they have a healthier version of a favorite comfort food, I’m often a little skeptical. Aren’t you?

In her latest cookbook, “Healthy in a Hurry,” Danielle Walker offers plenty of gluten-, grain- and dairy-free options in more than 150 recipes — many with fewer than 10 ingredients.

6 Instant Pot recipes, including cheesecake, risotto and yogurt, that put its range on display

Her goal is to give people lots of options for eating well even when time is tight. Her definition of healthy is “whatever makes my body feel the most vibrant and free of symptoms and ailments.” For her, that means a paleo diet full of vegetables, fruits and “good-quality” proteins. She avoids grains, dairy, beans, additives, seed oils and processed sugars.

I can get on board with processed sugars, but the others are part of the way I eat, and I want that variety. (Yes, I eat some additives, too, including MSG!) Still, I do try to cut down on sodium. (I noticed Walker suggests coconut aminos in her stir-fry sauce recipes, and while I usually can’t be happy with cauliflower rice, I can mix some into my regular rice to get vegetables and cut the carbs.)

I learned a lot by reading through her cookbook of building-block sauces and condiments and by exploring the various ways she addresses making substitutions without sacrificing flavor and texture.

When I saw she had a fresh take on beef stroganoff, I jumped on it. This is a dish I love but haven’t made in years. Walker has fond feelings for it as well. When she was a child, her mother made it using Hamburger Helper and then added both sour cream and canned cream of mushroom soup, which were ingredients common to her mom’s everyday casseroles.

Walker still craves her mother’s one-pot meals, so she re-created this one, which has become a favorite among her readers, she said. She claims it is even easier to make than her mother’s version. She offers multicooker versions that allow you to go the Instant Pot route or the slow cooker path. We tested both.

Work your way through the recipe and you’ll see that Walker suggests ghee or avocado oil as the fat in the dish. Because I eat dairy, it’s easy for me to simply use 1/3 cup of sour cream, but she also recommends dairy-free heavy (or sour) cream. If you don’t want to use a nondairy product, she suggests this option as well: Omit the sour cream and in its place add 2 1/4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and 1 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar when you add the broth. Whisk 1/4 cup unsweetened raw cashew butter with the arrowroot or cornstarch and water. I tried it in the Instant Pot version and it worked just fine, too.

She also recommends serving the rich, meaty stew with cauliflower rice, grain-free noodles or roasted potatoes. You’re free to do that, but I knew my craving would not be satiated by anything other than egg noodles. You’ll see the nutritional analysis offers versions with and without the noodles, so you can decide which vegetable or starch makes the most sense for you.

Cooking, like life, is all about choices.

Get the recipe: Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff