Instant Pot Yellow Sweet Potato Curry

Recipe by Katie Mae

Makes 2–4 servings | Ready in 25 minutes | Stores 1 week in fridge


1 sweet onion, diced (6 oz)
½ jalapeno, minced (optional)
2 cups water OR low-sodium vegetable broth*
2 tablespoons almond butter OR 14oz can coconut milk*
1½ tablespoon curry powder
½ tablespoon garlic granules
8 oz tempeh, diced OR 1½ cup cooked beans
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1-inch pieces
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced half-moons
4 cups roughly chopped spinach
1 lime, sliced in wedges
¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped


  1. Set the Instant Pot to manual and adjust the cooking time to 1 minute. I know this seems odd, but trust that it works. As the pot heats up, it will saute the veggies in step 2, and when you bring the pot to pressure in step 3, it will cook the sweet potatoes. Because it takes time to build up and release the pressure, sweet potatoes that are sliced ½-1 inch will cook in that time frame.
  2. Add the onion and jalapeno, letting them dry-sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the veggies from browning too much.
  3. Then add the water, almond butter, spices, and tempeh to the Instant Pot. Stir in the sweet potatoes just before closing the lid and sealing the pressure valve.
  4. When the timer rings, manually release the pressure by carefully turning the pressure valve.
  5. As soon as you can remove the lid, stir in the zucchini. At this point, the sweet potato should be tender when poked with a fork. If the sweet potatoes are a little firm for your liking, put the lid back on (without setting the timer again) and let everything cook in its heat for a few minutes.
  6. Wait 2 to 3 minutes for the zucchini to soften and then stir in the spinach.
  7. Once the newly added veggies are softened to your liking, serve the curry. Garnish individual bowls with chopped pistachios and a lime wedge.


The amount of fat in this recipe is up to you. If you want more of a traditional yellow curry, use coconut milk, which will make the dish very rich and creamy. If you want a curry with a little less fat (and no saturated fat) then use the almond butter instead of coconut milk. Of course, if you don’t want any, leave out both the almond butter and coconut.

Using the coconut milk will make this dish more of a saucy curry like they often serve in restaurants. Using almond butter does not add any liquid so it will be thicker, but feel free to add an extra 1 to 1½ cups of water to make up for that difference.

To prepare this dish on the stove-top, you can generally follow the same steps. For step one, dry-sauté the veggies over medium-high heat. For step two, add the ingredients listed, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low-medium, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Add the zucchini and spinach just a few minutes before the sweet potato is cooked to your liking.

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The glory of the Instant Pot is how it reduces the time and effort necessary to make a delicious, hearty meal! This dish was actually first created in a hotel room, which tells you just how easy it can be!

I was attending a conference in San Diego with a dear friend and colleague, Jon McMahon from the iThrive docu-series. He had recently done a fast at TrueNorth, so he was not going to eat off plan.

When Jon and I realized that we’d both at this multi-day event in a fancy hotel room abundant with excessively rich food, we decided to work together to ensure that we didn’t eat out or any of the hotel food, and we fueled ourselves with three delicious WFPB meals every day.

No doubt, our biggest helper on this mission was the Instant Pot!

The Instant Pot is a specific brand of electric pressure cookers, but as long as it’s electric, any brand will work.

If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute…you fly with a pressure cooker?? the answer is “Yes!”

It’s actually pretty easy to travel with an Instant Pot, especially the new 3-quart size. In the plant-based world, this is probably more common than you imagine.

All you have to do is get a large carry-on bag that you can fit the pressure cooker in, and you’ll all set. There’s a chance you can get stopped at security, but no worries, in just a few minutes, you’ll be off to your gate. It’s worth a bit of effort here so that you have this amazing appliance to prepare plant-powered meals where ever you go.

Of course, if you’re in the comfort of your home, this Yellow Sweet Potato Curry will be delicious there, too!

You can use the pressure cooker to make it, or if you want to use the stove top, those instructions are included in the chef’s notes.

We want to hear from you! What do you think about the ease and flavor of this recipe? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re making it outside your home, tell us where in the world you’re cooking up goodness!


  1. Camille Demaais

    I’m confused by the steps in this recipe. What’s being cooked in Step 1? Should that maybe be Step 3, and is 1 minute enough to cook the sweet potatoes? Please clarify.

    1. KatieMae

      Hi Camille, it is just 1 minute and that time should be set step 1. I know it can seem odd—sorry for not clarifying more. As the pot heats up, it will saute the veggies in step 2, and when you bring the pot to pressure in step 3, it will cook the sweet potatoes. Because it takes time to build up and release the pressure, sweet potatoes that are sliced ½-1 inch will cook in that time frame. In step 6, I note what to do if you want the sweet potatoes a little softer. Does it all make sense now?

      1. Diane Basset

        So step one is merely a pre-heating activity, right? So once you DO get food in there in step 2 and beyond, everything goes faster? If so, I am grateful for this tip because my (and everyone’s) complaint is that when a IP recipe says “10 min” it is REALLY “10 min cooking time plus however long it takes for the whole thing to heat up to pressure”.

  2. Camille Demaais

    Yes. So the 1-minute countdown doesn’t start until the lid is on and sealed. It’s an even easier way to saute/warm up the pot and contents than using the saute button and then switching to the manual button. Fewer buttons to push!

    1. KatieMae

      Exactly, what I was thinking—fewer steps to read and take action on. 🙂

  3. KatieMae

    Exactly, Diane! There will still be some extra time for the pot to heat up, but at least you can get it started early. Hope this helps save you some time!!

  4. Laurel

    Hi Katie,
    I just made your Instant Pot Sweet Potato Curry and it is freaking de-li-cous 🤪. You rocked another dish and they keep on coming . . . Each one a winner, Congratulations ,🎈 laurel

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