My Pressure Cooker & Ginger Carrot Soup

It’s vacation time!!! I could not be happier to have a few weeks off from school; after all, this semester kinda kicked my butt. Alan and I made the long drive out to Palm Springs yesterday. It was uneventful except for Xena got carsick and, once we arrived, we found that our water heater, oven and microwave have been blown out due to a power surge that must have happened while we were gone. So, I’ll be making due without those appliances for a few days, although hopefully the water heater will be fixed this afternoon. If not, then I’ll be going to the gym to shower. TMI?

Anyway, being the overachiever I am, I have put together a little to-do list for myself to accomplish during my winter break. First on the list is kind of random, but it’s something I’ve been telling myself I would do for almost a year, and that is to learn how to use my pressure cooker! I was reminded of this goal when I got a Facebook message a few weeks ago from the talented cookbook author, Jill Nussinow, aka, The Veggie Queen. Jill is a registered dietitian, talented chef and an all-around accomplished person who I admire greatly. She is also a reader of my blog and noted that I had not mentioned my pressure cooker for a long, long time. Based on her encouragement, I dusted off her incredible book that I already owned, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cook Whole Food Meals, and decided to try making something in the PC again.

I skimmed through the book and decided to make a soup inspired by a combination of her recipes for Shane’s Fabulous Lentil Soup and Spicy Thai Carrot Coconut Soup. I knew it was a gamble to go out on my own and create a new recipe so early in the game, but I was careful to research each ingredient and make sure that the cooking times would match and so I wouldn’t have another disaster like this one or this one. I was also conscious of how much of each ingredient to use and how much water to add; these are basic pressure cooker rules, I have learned.

I decided to try using these ingredients: carrots, onion, lentils, coconut milk, ginger, lime juice, water and spices:

Ingredients for Ginger-Carrot Soup

I started by water-sauteeing my carrots and onion in the pressure cooker and then adding the lentils:

Carrots, onion and lentils in the pressure cooker.

I added some cumin, no-salt seasoning, red pepper flakes and chopped ginger, and then six cups of water (I probably could have gotten away with four cups of water, but I was nervous since this was my first soup). The mixture looked like this:

Ginger Carrot Soup ready to be pressurized.

I should note here that I am using a 7 quart, stove-top version of a pressure cooker, I also have an electric one that I have used in the past. It is a personal choice which version you decide to get, I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this in the future. I locked on the lid and set my gas to high:

Lid is locked on!

This is the part that freaks me out using a pressure cooker because I have an irrational fear that the whole thing is going to explode. It didn’t. My version has an indicator that pops up when the full level of pressure is reached which is when you are supposed to start the timer:

Indicator for pressure cooker.

I set my timer for six minutes, let it do its thing and then set the cooker on a cool burner when it was done. It took an additional 20 minutes for the pressure to come back to normal so I could open the lid. I then poured in my coconut milk and lime juice and used my hand immersion blender to get this lovely soup:

Ginger Carrot Soup with steamed kale.

As you can see, I served it with some steamed kale and lime wedges on the side. The flavors were fantastic together. Although I’m not sure that I saved a lot of time making this soup in the pressure cooker, I can say that it was delicious and I was very pleased with the results. The flavor was sweet with a little bit of spice and zing and I absolutely loved it. I even brought some leftovers to Palm Springs with us to have for dinner last night. I mixed in some chopped kale and tofu last night which made for a chunkier texture and also changed the color a bit:

Leftovers of Ginger Carrot Soup

Here is the recipe:

Score!!! I am excited that I finally made something good in the pressure cooker. In honor of this achievement, Jill has offered to do a giveaway for one of you lucky readers for an electronic copy of her book, The New Fast Food. To enter, just leave a comment on this post with the name of an ingredient or a dish that you’d like to see in a pressure cooker format; I’m looking for suggestions for future PC recipes!

I’ll randomly select a winner of the ebook on Friday, December 21st, at 7 a.m. PST. This giveaway is open to everyone.

[Editor’s note: this giveaway is now closed]

Good luck and have a wonderful day. I’ll be back here on Wednesday and, until then, make sure you’ve liked my page on Facebook and are following me on Twitter so we can keep in touch.

Comments

  1. Laura S. says

    Sweet potatoes? Beans? Can you even cook those in a pressure cooker?? I have no idea. I know nothing about pressure cookers so anything you make will be news to me. Sorry if that doesn’t help you too much Carrie!!! ;-)

  2. Jan-Marie says

    Carrie ~
    You are amazing! The fact that you weren’t super comfortable with using your pressure cooker and then tried a combo of recipes. That’s incredible. I’m glad it all turned out for you.

    I have an electric PC that I use at least once a week. I love Mexican food so I’d appreciate a trial of something in that realm. I make Chef AJ’s Mexican lentils a lot as they have many uses. I haven’t mastered a thick chili yet, as I too seem to be a little overly cautious about the amount of water to use. It’s a lot like Christmas when you open that lid; did it work or is it a flop?

    Do you think a fajita-style soup would be do-able in the PC? I really used to like chicken tortilla soup. How could we vegan-ize that?

    Enjoy your few weeks off!

    • says

      Jan-Marie,

      I make a Minted Garlic Tortilla Soup in the pressure cooker. The recipe is in my book (The New Fast Food) which is the giveaway. The ebook and the print book are the same and it’s in there.

      You can definitely make any kind of soup in the pressure cooker. It’s perfect for that. Keep on using it and you will see.

  3. Lisa Johnston says

    I would love to win this ebook…a friend of mine just bought it and it sounds great. I love cooking with my pressure cooker and I am interested in recipes for the pressure cooker that would use eggplant…just not sure how that would go. Hope you have some ideas!
    lisa J

    • says

      Lisa,

      It’s not the right time of year for eggplant here in California but I am an eggplant lover so there are recipes for eggplant in my book. Eggplant turns out amazingly well in the pressure cooker.

      Now you have me craving eggplant and I have to wait until it’s in season again. That’s a long time.

  4. says

    Sweet! I am getting my grandmother’s old pressure cooker this Christmas and I can’t wait to try it out. I will try not to tinker with any recipes based on your experiences. I look forward to hearing about your other successes. :)

  5. Carla Moschetti says

    I’d like to see a recipe for black eyed peas in the pressure cooker. I use my pc all the time to cook beans. Love it. To speed up the pressure coming down, I run some cold water on the top and side, without letting it in any holes.

  6. Jeanne says

    Hi Carrie!
    It is amazing how much influence you have over me and I’ve never met you. I just pulled out my pressure cooker for the stove and I had bought the Insta Pot too. I haven’t had the nerve to use either but now I feel guilty so I’m going to give it a whirl. I would love for you to make some Indian dishes, as I enjoy the flavors of the food. I haven’t gone out for Indian food since starting ETL and I really do miss it!

    Hugs,
    Jeanne

    • says

      Oh my goodness, Jeanne, I LOVE Indian food and think this is a great idea. I’m going to see if I can find a PC recipe for one of those great dishes I remember from my pre-ETL days. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Christy B says

    Great post! It would be great to see recipes for soups that include beans and greens. I love one pot meals that I can quickly make while providing lots of nutrition.

    Enjoy your time off!

  8. Nicole P. says

    Congratulations on using your pressure cooker. I used mine for the first time last night, too!

    I would love to see a recipe for the yellow split pea stew you can get at Ethiopian restaurants called Kik Alicha. Mmmm!

  9. Robert White says

    I would love to see a pressure cooked meal with black eyed peas. I am from the south, and we have a tradition that eating black eyed peas on New Years Day brings good luck. It worked this year because I heard about Dr Fuhrman and started his diet style!

  10. Helena says

    I too have a pressure cooker that I rarely use, not because I’m afraid of it but because I usually don’t see the point. With the waiting until it is at pressure and then the waiting until the pressure releases, it takes about the same time as cooking in a regular pot, but you have to watch it more (while it is under pressure or waiting to get there). I must be missing something! This recipe does look delicious though, and comes at just the right time. I want to eat more lentil soup, but am a bit tired of my usual recipes. I love carrot soup, so this sounds like a lovely healthy way to eat that.
    So, if you’re looking for suggestions, I’d love recipes that really save time, for example beans that take longer to cook, or where the flavor is really enhanced by the pressure cooking process. I wonder if brussels sprouts would be good for pressure cooking?

    • says

      I totally agree with you, Helena, I have yet to see the beauty and appeal of the pressure cooker. So far, I have spent more time using it than just cooking on the stove. That being said, I am wondering if I just need to get more adept at using it and then it will be easier. I am willing to give it a try and I will certainly let you know.

  11. Lynn says

    Would love a recipe for veggie soup, using lots of different ones. Not sure of cooking time for each vegetable, and which ones could turn to mush. I just bought InstantPot, but have only cooked beans.

  12. Erin P says

    I’m wondering if root veggies like beets and rutabagas (my new favorite) would cook faster. I have a recipe for a rutabaga torte but it takes hours of prep.

  13. Christy says

    I’d like to see recipes for Indian food in a pressure cooker. Especially one for butter masala. My hubby and son spend so much money eating out at Indian restaurants. It’s a type of food that I’ve never really cooked before, plus, I want to learn how to use a pressure cooker.

  14. Xine says

    Pressure cooker recipes…. Hm… I suspect it may be a multi- pressuring recipe (to cook the beans a bit first, then to add other ingredients), but I’d love it if the Famous Anti Cancer Soup could become an evening task, rather than an all day task.

  15. Deb Hawkins says

    I too have been looking at pressure cookers but haven’t taken the plunge yet. Your recipes so far look tasty! I’m all about soups right now. Would love to see some extra soup combinations or veggies that can top quinoa or rice.

  16. says

    I love pretty much any one step meal in the pressure cooker so I can chase my toddler around! Loved you beans and cabbage with tahini sauce recipe- do yummy and easy.

  17. Joni says

    Beans seem like the obvious thing for a pressure cooker, cuts way down on the time. But chili, or something else that is more like a meal by itself would be great. What bout baked goods of some kind, is that even a possibility?

    • says

      Yes, cakes are possible! I steam-bake small, healthful cakes routinely in my pressure cooker. It’s fast and you don’t have to heat up an entire oven for a two-serving cake.

      The website for my book (“Cooking and Experimenting with Pressure Cookers’) has the procedure for baking a small apple cake in a pressure cooker. Website also has my articles on cooking pasta, whole potatoes, split peas, and polenta in a pressure cooker.

      The pressure cooker can do a LOT more than cook beans, rice, and stews.

        • says

          You’re very welcome!
          Figuring out baking in a pressure cooker was not easy. I spent several months experimenting, going through a lot of packaged cake and muffin mixes. My book describes the experiments.
          After I started getting good results with the package mixes, I worked out the procedure for the Apple Cake– and similar healthy cakes. For all these cakes, I use pure WWF (whole wheat flour). (Using pure WWF took another round of experiments.)
          However, I love my little WWF cakes. I can easily bake one up in about 30 min in the pressure cooker.

  18. Jennifer says

    I love love love any kind of dry bean or pea, so I would have to say any type of recipe involving a legume – soup, Mexican, side, Italian… Beans are usually my main protein almost every day, so sometimes I like to shake things up and try something new :)

  19. Ima says

    Hi Carrie!

    I love all the information you share with us. I would really like to know if eggplant works in the pressure cooker. Can you do artichoke hearts in it? Can pasta dishes be made in a pressure cooker or does it become mush?

    Thanks for all you do….

    • says

      Linda,
      Bok choy takes only 1 minute in the pressure cooker with a quick release. Thank you for mentioning it because I have some and want to eat it. I’d forgotten all about it. I will likely cook it with onions and mushrooms which I will cook for 1 minute first. Then quick release and add the bok choy, ginger and garlic. Yum.

  20. Blanca says

    Hi Carrie, my dad used to prepare different kinds of soups and also black beans on a pressure cooker, that was his speciality <3. I'm so scared to use this apparatus hahaha! But definitely black beans were the first that I would try because you can save a lot of time. But, step by step …first I have to a costume to this new way to eat. Love that You were brave and try. Good for you. Love your blog.

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