Saturday, January 12, 2019

Instant Pot Red Lentil Vegetable Soup




Red lentils make a hearty soup that can be cooked in the Instant Pot in just 10 minutes ( plus warm up time).

Since red lentils do not require pre-soaking, it's a great last minute soup for a cold evening. 



Lentils Are Good For You
Lentils are a staple in many countries and for good reasons. 
Lentils are low in calories and fat, while high in valuable nutrients and fiber.

It's the perfect food to help lower cholesterol because of the soluble fiber,  they may be helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, and contain substantial levels of folate and magnesium which are essential for heart health.



Great Plant Based Protein Source
In addition, lentils are a good source of plant based protein. In India, where much of the population is vegetarian, lentils are used in all kinds of recipes: soup, salads, burgers, breads, etc. 

Our family eats this tasty soup with a salad for lunch or as a starter for dinner. 



It's a nice thick soup that warms for the inside out. If there are any leftovers, beware that the soup will become thicker overnight. Just add some additional vegetable broth before reheating!


Red lentils are naturally gluten free and vegan. It's a nice parve soup that can be served with any meal.

Author: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Sautee Time: 5 minutes
Warm Up Time: 10 minutes
Pressure Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 and 1/4 cups of uncooked red lentils, washed well 
1 cup of diced tomato
1 cup of sliced or diced carrots
1 cup of diced onion 
3 cloves of fresh garlic, diced
1/2 cup of red sweet pepper, diced 
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of Trader's Joe's 21 Salute ( or an salt free seasoning mix) 
Olive oil or Avocado oil Spray
1 32 ounce container of vegetable broth 
3 cups of water

Directions: 

Spray the the bottom of the IP insert pot with cooking oil spray. Press sautee button and add onions, garlic, tomatoes, sweet pepper, carrots and sautee for 4 minutes stirring. Add red lentils, vegetable broth, water, cumin, and 21 Salute. Cancel sautee and press pressure cook ( hight ) for 10 minutes. When soup is done allow to slow release for 5 minutes and then carefully release remainder of steam manually according to manufacturer's directions. When all steam is released, remove lid and serve.



 Shared on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, sammie, or salad recipe.



My Notes: 

1. Everyone's taste is different. This seasoning in this soup is basic. Upon serving, you may like to add more cumin, more salt or pepper, or even some hot sauce! The soup is already good- personalize the seasonings any way you like. 

2. You can make this soup on the stove top in a regular pot. It will just take longer and may require additional liquid. The Instant Pot seals in the liquid so no evaporates. On the stove top you will have evaporation and thus may need more liquid. 

3. Red lentils turn like a golden color when they are cooked

4. On the current WW program- lentils and all the other ingredients are zero points ( except the oil spray- if you use just a little, it is also zero points) 
So this soup is considered a zero point soup. I have lost 25 pounds following WW  making zero point plant based soups. I feel satisfied and energized!



Monday, January 7, 2019

How to Make Chickpeas in the Instant Pot


How do you cook chickpeas in the Instant Pot? 
Soak 8 ounces of dry chickpeas overnight or for 8 hours- discard liquid, place chickpeas in IP, and  pressure cook for 20 minutes in 6 cups of water, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper- Fast and Easy..



I use my Instant Pot for just about everything. Being vegetarian/vegan, I use a substantial amount of  beans in recipes. The Instant Pot make cooking beans a cinch and cooking my own chick peas, black beans, pinto beans, etc.( verses using canned beans) not only saves money, but it also reduces our exposure to the harmful toxins that leaches into food from cans.



What kind of harmful toxins and chemicals you ask? 


1. Aluminum  - 
  • Metals like aluminum can leach into the food (especially if it is acidic like chopped tomatoes) and accumulate in your organs. Studies have shown higher levels of aluminum accumulation in the brains of Alzheimers patients.
2. BPA - 
  • BPA, which is found in cans, plastics water bottles and the lining of lids for jars, can affect hormone levels in the body and behave similarly to estrogen. High levels of estrogen are not good for us- may even be linked to breast cancer.
  •  
  • An article from The Breast Cancer Prevention Partners website  explains " the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA). "This hormonally active chemical in the lining of canned foods has been linked to breast cancer and a host of other health concerns. What’s meant to be a protective barrier between the metal and the can’s contents actually leaches this toxic chemical into the food we eat."- This is not an isolated article. I've been reading for years about this problem. I've included links. 
           https://www.thealternativedaily.com/bpa-exposure-from-canned-food/

In addition, pressure cooking your beans tastes great! I make some on Mondays and they last until Thursday! Of course you could also freeze cooked beans-

I use cooked beans to make homemade Humus, chick pea salads, Chick pea ( tuna like ) spread for gf sandwiches. In addition, I add cooked chickpeas to soups etc. Chickpeas are a great source of plant based protein which is low in fat and calories! It's a winner!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Baba Ganoush with Sweet Meyer Lemon twist - a healthy Dip








This is no ordinary Baba Ganoush
The juice of sweet Meyer lemon is brilliant in this traditional Baba Ganoush!
Have you resolved to make healthier snack choices this holiday season? 

This easy Mediterranean vegan dip provides lots of fiber, nutrients, and taste.
It's actually a show stopper!

Roasted eggplant, cooked chick peas, juice from Meyer lemon, fresh lime juice and Mediterranean spices blend into a wonderful dip that can be eaten with gluten free  baked chips, gluten free crackers, or WW simple to make 1 point gluten free bagel rolls. ( no yeast - simply mix and bake) 



I'm making this for New Years's Day with my WW gluten free bagel rolls!



Slice open the roasted eggplant


Scoop out the roasted eggplant


Information about Meyer lemons 

Sweet , less acidic and more fragrant than regular lemons.

According to Wikipedia


"Citrus × meyeri, the Meyer lemon, is a hybrid citrus fruit native to China. It is a cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo hybrid distinct from the common or bitter oranges. Mature trees are around 6 to 10 ft tall with dark green shiny leaves. Flowers are white with a purple base and fragrant. Wikipedia

An article in the Los Angeles times called 100 Things To Do with a Meyer Lemon shared that Meyer lemons are 

"A cross between a lemon and a sweet orange, imported to the U.S. from China exactly 100 years ago by the man whose name they bear, the Meyer lemon is a furiously addictive fruit"

Most Meyer lemons are now grown in California, many in people's backyards- and the fruit is seasonal
Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z 
Prep: 15 minutes + cook time
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 1 large bowl of dip 

Ingredients: 

1 cup ( or more) of roasted eggplant pulp
2 tablespoons of tahini
1/2 teaspoon cumin 
juice of 1/2 lime 
juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon 
Himalayan pink salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees-
Place a whole ( washed) eggplant on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 1/2 hour until soft. Remove from oven, slice eggplant down the middle, discard excess seeds and juice, and reserve the roasted eggplant and set aside.

Using a food processor and the metal blade, add the cooked chickpeas, tahini, cooled eggplant, cumin, lime juice, Meyer lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend in the food processor until smooth.

Remove from food processor and place in a bowl or flat plate. Spread the surface somewhat flat and garnish with a little more cumin and 2 tablespoons of whole cooked chickpeas.





Shared on Weekend Cooking where anyone is welcome to share a food related post. 



My notes: 

  • You can use canned chick peas

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