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. 


Curried Chickpea Salad (Vegan)

I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Yahoo that was a chickpea based salad. It was mostly full of ingredients that I don't really like, but basing an entree around one of my favorite beans sounded great. I also had a lime in my fridge which I was hoping to utilizie.

My first thought was olives. I used to eat a Campbell's product that was basically chickpeas and olives in a tomato curry. I really like it a lot. Apparently no one else did. Because after about 4 months it was nowhere to be found.

So olives and chickpeas. From there the wheels turned effortlessly.

1 can Chickpeas rinsed
1 cup cooked rice
1 can sliced Black Olives drained
5-7 Cloves Garlic thinly sliced
1/2 medium Red Onion in small slices
Jalapeno and or Serrano minced
Zest and juice from 2 limes
2 tbls  Hot sauce
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 tbls pickle brine
Cumin, Coridander, Turmeric, Paprika, Cayenne, Garlic Powder, Basil, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 tbls Sesame Seeds (Toasted are better)
1/4 cup Freshly chopped Cilantro or Parsley
Salt and Pepper

Cook the rice as you normally would to preferred texture. I like to add some of the hot pepper seeds/ribs and a few small garlic cloves to the rice cooking water. This infuses the cooking rice with those flavors.

In a medium to large bowl combine chickpeas, olives, garlic, onion, hot peppers, cilantro or parsley. I don't give any measurments for the peppers because everyone likes a different level of heat. Add as much or as little as you see fit.

When the rice is done add it right on top of the bowl mixture. Stir to combine all elements. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Add lime zest and juice, hot sauce, olive oil, some of all the spices. Mix thoroughtly. Taste. Add more spices and hot suace as needed. Finish with sesame seeds.

Let chill in the fridge for a few hours for optimum flavor.

For other additions carrots or small tomatoes would also go really well in this.

This whole dish is really simple, wholesome ingredients that come together to create something spectacular. It's a wonderful example of how modest ingredients can easily create awesome food.