Friday, January 25, 2019

Beet and Walnut Salad with Pickled Onions

Beets are a healthy superfood-especially if you are thinking of heart or eye protection! 
 Personally, I like cooked beets and am always on the lookout for authentic ethnic recipes that include beets.

I was first introduced to this interesting salad at a luncheon given by an amazing cook who lived her first 18 years in Cairo, Egypt. She brought many of her family recipes with her.  

This colorful salad is one of her recipes. It is made with cooked beets, marinated pickled onions, and raw walnuts. The marinated onions serve as the seasoning, although you could add a little touch of vinegar to the beets if desired. 

The unique combination makes a flavorful salad that is high in fiber and vitamins, minerals, and protective antioxidants. Walnuts are a rich source of plant based Omega 3 fatty acids which have beneficial anti- inflammatory properties. Beets are a superfood and body cleanser that help remove toxins. In addition, beets are low in fat.

The natural ingredients in this nutritious salad are good for you, gluten free, vegan, and easy to make.

You can cook your own beets or buy pre-cooked beets in the supermarket. 

I cook beets in my Instant Pot. 

6 medium beets ( scrubbed but not peeled) 
1 steamer insert 
1 and 1/2 cups water

Directions : 

Place steamer insert into the inner liner of the Instant Pot. Add the water and the beets. 
Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, close steam valve, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. 

When done, allow pressure to release on its own for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure manually according to manufacturer's instructions. When all steam is released, carefully remove the lid. Using a fork, remove each beet and run under cold water while rubbing off the skin. ( use gloves to prevent red pigments from staining hands) If you do not use gloves, use baking soda to wash off stains from hands. 

Once peeled, cut beets into bite size chunks. 

Beet stains on your hands?

Did you know that baking soda or lemon juice can help remove beet stains from your hands! Of course, wearing plastic gloves to rub off beet skins ( after cooking) will keep your hands completely clean!!

Marinated pickled red onions are easy to prepare. Just need to soak sliced red onions in white vinegar for 2-3 hours. Follow the link for directions for this fabulous pickled onion.. 

Beet Salad Ingredients: 
4 cups of bite sized cubed cooked beets 
1 cup of marinated pickled red onions
1 cup of raw halved walnuts 

Mix the beets, pickled onions, and raw walnuts together in a bowl. 
Serve at room temperature or chill. 

Sharing on Beth Fish Reads  where anyone can share a food related post every Saturday morning.

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

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


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


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!

Sharing on Beth Fish Reads  where anyone can share a food related post every Saturday morning.

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. 

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!!