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. 


Garbanzo Croquettes with Dipping Sauce

These croquettes are definitely Indian inspired. Kind of a play on falafel. They're spicy and meaty. The sauce is sweet and rich. Running each bite through both the dipping sauce and my pear puree really made it a home run for me.

When I make dishes of this sort that are a patty, ball or cake form of beans masquerading where meat would normally go I try to keep it vegan. It'd be easy to add egg as a binder, but I feel like that's the lazy way out. A little creativity and work can produce as good of a finished product without that shortcut.

1 can garbanzos, plus 2 tbls can liquid
1 jalapeno
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
zest and juice from 1/2 a lime
1 inch ginger
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbl olive oil
3 grinds pink Himalayan or sea salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until a thick, chunky, chopped meat like consistency is achieved. Place in a storage container and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Overnight is better. Make the mixture the day before and finish it the next. This gives the oats time to absorb the moisture and firm everything up so it will keep its shape when you go to cook it.

I've done some experimenting with mixtures of this kind to try to keep them egg free and I've found oats really do the trick better than other alternatives.

Once your mixture has had a chance to chill and firm up shape it into balls.

Heat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil. When oil is hot add your balls in small batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. Gently press the balls into a disc shape. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes without bothering them to allow a crust to form. Once they've developed a nice crust on one side, carefully flip them over to create the same crust on the other side. Do this for all your mixture.

Arrange the crusted ones on a baking sheet. They'll still be kinda soft in the middle. Reshape as needed.

Heat your oven 350 F.

Finish cooking them in the oven. Bake them for 18-20 minutes to heat through and firm up the centers.

In the meantime prepare your dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
3 tbls soy sauce
3 tbls sriracha
1 tbl olive oil
1/2 inch grated ginger
1 tsp finely minced jalapeno/habernero
1 tsp garlic powder

Whisk together all ingredients. Let sit at least a few minutes for flavors to mingle.