Pressure Cooker Vegan Lentil Soup

On the myriad cooking shows I watch they often use pressure cookers. I've often wondered to myself if I need one and if I did have one, what exactly I would make with it. 

I never did buy one for myself. I always figured I had the time to wait for the same thing to happen via the stovetop. 

But for some strange reason, my mother bought one. She doesn't even like to cook. Perhaps that factored into her decision. 

When she fell ill, I found myself with the desire to make good use of this appliance on her behalf. It felt therapeutic to create sustenance from this device that she'd bought so soon before she'd become sick. 
Since it's summer and hot, I thought to myself, I can make a complex broth based soup without making the house hot simmering it on the stovetop for a long time. 

My absolute favorite soup meal is lentil soup. It's just the ultimate vegan chicken noodle soup analog. It's the food of memories, childhood and comfort. It will give you a big hug. 


Vegan Dirty Lentils and Barley

I made some 'dirty' lentils and barley tonight. I was trying to capture a Cajun style flavor. Dirty rice kinda feel without the discarded animal parts. I like the whole Cajun flavor profile and I think this is a good permutation.

1/2 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup dry pearl barley
1 14 ounce can vegetable broth
1/3 cup frozen chopped collard greens
1/3 cup frozen diced red and green bell peppers
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbl spicy mustard
1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce
1/4 cup carrots
1 jalapeno pepper diced
7 cloves garlic sliced
water as needed
2 tsps vegan margarine
garlic powder, onion powder, Cayenne powder, chili powder, thyme and basil to season

Add broth, barley and lentils to a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer covered for 10 minutes.

Add collards, carrots, soy sauce and mustard and more water in 1/4 cups increments as needed. Continue simmering 5 more minutes.

Add jalapeno, garlic, and hot sauce. Simmer 3 more minutes.

Add some of each spice and more water if needed. Just enough water to keep stuff from sticking. Simmer 1 minute longer and taste. Adjust spices to your preference. Add pepper and margarine. Turn off heat. Stir to melt margarine, thaw peppers and combine all ingredients. Taste. Adjust spices.

Serve immediately sprinkled with some nutritional yeast and sprinkled with additional hot sauce if desired. It's great with a side of roasted potatoes.

Or let cool and store in fridge overnight to let flavors mingle. It makes a great sandwich on a bagel or roll with some pickle slices.