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Whether or not I’ll stick to it, I don’t know. My goal is to use the Instant Pot (IP) for more than testing recipes for other people’s upcoming cookbooks. It’s not that I’m not a gadget person; I am–sort of. It’s not that I’m out of room…well, I almost am. If another pot this size arrives in my house, it’ll need to be stored in the trunk of my car.  In other words, to buy anything new and large will require a trip to Goodwill carrying a piece of equipment of equal size.   

                                 No IP? Stovetop directions included below recipe.

Meanwhile, the small IP problem fits right in with my current need for more vegetables in the menu. While I typically eat vegetables at every meal…

Egg whites and vegetables are my usual breakfast, but sometimes I splurge and eat the whole egg!

losing a little weight at my age requires eating even more plants as well as spending a daily interval on the treadmill, walking, or otherwise moving in some fashion.  It goes right along with the Meatless Monday movement, too, so I’m board.  108 calories per serving. This is serious stuff in a bowl. Anyone else slimming right now? And what are you doing to make that happen?

So why Meatless Mondays? There are lots of reasons. Click the link to read up, but here are a few that work for me:  weighing less, being healthier, and living a bit more lightly on the land:

—Several large studies in Europe and the United States have demonstrated that people on plant-based, vegetarian diets tend to have a significantly lower body weight and body mass index (BMI). This may be in part because plant-based diets are rich in fiber (which is not found in animal products). Fiber contributes to fullness, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating.[6],[7],[8],[9]

 

Because going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. And going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.

Another sturdy, stand-up support of Meatless Mondays is the budget.  Money, moolah, the green stuff, pocket change…whatever you call it.  While vegetables certainly aren’t cheap (see my grocery bill), you’ll have more ready cash each week if you skip cooking a few meat-based meals. Vegetable meals also last longer in the fridge; meat spoils quicker. There’s something else I find entrancing:  vegetables have color. Vibrant, scintillating hues that are fascinating. Meat and poultry are brown. They’re just brown.

Try photographing that brown. And then throw a little red tomato action in:

or perhaps green bean fun:

I find I like to eat in color just as much as I like to photograph in color. Not brown and white.  At least not all the time. (Ok, ok, I need a little steak sometimes.)

One last ah-ha.  When you make my soup, your mouth won’t just hum; it will sing.  Buzz. Long after you’re out of the kitchen and the dishes are done, a tiny and happy little melody will be running around your tongue and teeth to keep you company. When you breathe in, giggling gingery notes just might encourage deep, deep clear breaths. Curry to the rescue! Crunchy coconut and tons, simply tons of vitamin C to cheer you up during cold season. Really.

Laugh, sing, breathe, be richer, thinner, and maybe even sleep better (as you’ll be eating less and be better hydrated–a sure help) when you try my up-lifting soup hot or cold:

INSTANT POT CURRIED CAULIFLOWER-COCONUT SOUP

6 servings

This is a fast soup, but if you’re in even more of a hurry, skip the SAUTÉ for the coconut milk (step 5) or try adding it without heating the soup again to see if it’s hot  enough for you temperature-wise. About a 4 on a scale of 1-10  for spicy-heat; leave out the crushed red pepper and decrease ginger if you need a milder meal.  Scroll down for stovetop directions.  108 calories per serving.

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (You’ll need about a 2-pound head of cauliflower or buy the bags of pre-cut florets.)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced–optional
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 EACH: large carrot and stalk celery, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons grated or finely chopped ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: curry powder and ground cumin
  • 1 quart vegetable stock (4 cups or 32 ounces)
  • 15-ounce can “lite” coconut milk
  • Unsweetened grated coconut and/or chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  1. Place all ingredients in INSTANT POT except coconut milk, grated coconut or cilantro
  2. Secure lid and close the PRESSURE-RELEASE VALVE. Select MANUAL and set for 7 minutes, pressure cooking.
  3. Pressure cook for the 7 minutes. When completed, let sit cooling (continuing to cook slowly) to use NATURAL RELEASE to depressurize–may take 20 minutes or more. Open the PRESSURE-RELEASE VALVE and allow steam to release. Press CANCEL/WARM*. Open lid.
  4. Purée using a hand-held immersion blender or carefully in batches in the food processor or blender (hold towel down tightly over lid). Return soup to pot if needed.
  5. Select SAUTÉ, adjusting heat to NORMAL.  Pour in coconut milk and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly until hot. Taste and adjust seasonings. Press CANCEL/WARM button. Serve hot garnished with a few shreds of unsweetened grated coconut or cilantro or both.

*My pot’s “CANCEL” button also begins the WARM feature, and so is labeled CANCEL/WARM; yours may only say CANCEL.

{printable recipe}

EQUIPMENT NOTES:  A. Place IP in a spot in your kitchen where it will not emit and release steam onto the underside of your cabinets or other surfaces. B. I used a 6-quart INSTANT POT (Instant Pot LUX60 V3 6 Qt 6-in-1 Muti-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer)  — purchased nearly a year ago. If you have an 8-quart, you may be able to increase the amount of soup you make proportionally.

WINE: I might choose a Washington state riesling or an Oregon Pinot Gris as there’s a wee bit of heat here and you don’t want the wine fighting that.

Have my soup cookbook? This recipe is a riff on my Roasted Cauliflower Soup on page 53, with added ingredients like Coconut and Coconut Milk and re-worked for the IP.  I’m interested to see how my book recipes translate here and am doing a little testing on the blog with you.

STOVE TOP DIRECTIONS:   You’ll need to add a little oil for this version. Note that the ingredients are added in a bit different order. Ingredients are in dark gray.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add apple, onion, celery, and carrot. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until beginning to soften–about 10 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Stir in cauliflower and potato, if using. Simmer over  medium heat until the vegetables are very tender, 15-20 minutes. Puree with a hand-held blender or in batches in a blender (hold a towel firmly over the top) or food processor. Return soup to pot if needed; taste to adjust seasonings. Stir in coconut milk and heat through until just simmering. Taste again for seasonings. Serve hot or cold topped with coconut and/or cilantro.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO does not include coconut garnish, which is about 33 calories per tablespoon.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 6.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 108
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g 5 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 11 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 809 mg 34 %
Potassium 624 mg 18 %
Total Carbohydrate 19 g 6 %
Dietary Fiber 5 g 21 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 4 g 8 %
Vitamin A 8 %
Vitamin C 128 %
Calcium 5 %
Iron 5 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

What is an Instant Pot anyway? (People ask me this regularly in the winter of 2018.)

Want extra? Check out my post, INSTANT POT BUTTERNUT AND YELLOW SQUASH SOUP. I added several links for articles, basic operating information, recipes, websites, etc.

If you haven’t used your IP before today, or aren’t terribly familiar with it, read your operating manual thoroughly and perhaps view a you tube video on how to use your IP before you make the soup.

Harvard Medical School:  Comparing the Mediterranean and DASH diets.

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Make a little music today in your kitchen,

Alyce