On days when you have zero time to cook, don't succumb to the takeout menu. Instead, whip out your pressure cooker to make a healthy meal faster than you ever thought possible
The Science Behind Pressure Cooking
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Here's the thing about cooking and nutrition: Sometimes, the cooking process actually elevates a food's health benefits—for example, cooking tomatoes allows you to better absorb the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene (hi, homemade pasta sauce!). But other times, cooking can actually strip away nutrients in your favorite foods. That veggie stir-fry you made? All that sautéing steals water-soluble vitamins from veggies like zucchini and carrots (the only way to save the good stuff that's been lost is to drink the cooking liquid—as in, make soup!). What's a cook to do?
Meet: the pressure cooker, your new time- and nutrient-saving best friend. A pressure cooker is essentially the opposite of a slow cooker. If you don't have time to prep a meal in the morning (or the thought of leaving a hot appliance on all day actually terrifies you), you can bust out this fast-acting gadget when you get home and have dinner ready by the time you get done with your 20-Minute At-Home Cardio Workout. Even better: The super sealed lid minimizes evaporation and the device requires less liquid to cook in the first place, both of which mean more of those essential vitamins and nutrients make it onto your plate.
Get started with seven pressure cooker recipes that are guaranteed to make life easier.
Chicken Noodle Soup
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One bowl of warm comfort food coming right up. Have the sniffles? Make this Chicken Noodle Soup. Don't have the sniffles? Still make this soup. Savory broth, soft veggies, soba noodles, and, of course, chicken, come together in a total of 20 minutes—that includes the five minutes of prep time.
Photo: Chef De Home
Simple Pressure-Cooker Artichokes
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When you're craving an artichoke, you shouldn't have to choose between a long, drawn-out cooking process (plus all that trimming and slicing to get to the good stuff!), and the jarred kind—bleh. Behold the 6-Minute Artichoke!
Photo: Kayln's Kitchen
Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili
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You've tried turkey chili, white bean chili, even sweet potato chili, but what about Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili? This hearty bowl is also healthy thanks to the cholesterol-lowering collard greens. In fact, one study found that steaming collard greens (cough, pressure cooking) actually increases this leafy green's health benefits. (Looking for ways to step-up your chili game? Check out How to Make Chili 15 Fantastic Ways.)
Photo: Yup...It's Vegan
Carnitas Tacos with Radish Salsa
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Enjoy juicy, tender pulled pork tacos right at home, no restaurant bill in sight! Plus, crunchy radishes hit their peak freshness in spring, making for a colorful and unique salsa that completes these Carnitas Tacos with Radish Salsa.
Photo: Gastro Senses
Chicken and Lentil Soup
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The stovetop version of this Chicken and Lentil Soup takes almost two hours to make, but the pressure cooker method knocks that time down to just 30 minutes! Same great taste in less a quarter of the time? Win!
Chickpea, Courgette, and Spinach Curry
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Get on the pulse trend with this Chickpea, Courgette, and Spinach Curry. This recipe gives you all of the curry flavor you're used to without a thick sauce weighing it down. Cooked apricots add a chewy sweetness that makes this dish so interesting. (Still not sure what a pulse is? Try these 6 Healthy Recipes to Turn You On the Pulses.)
Indian Butter Chicken
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Cooking Indian dishes at home might seem like an undertaking better left to the chefs, but thanks to your trusty pressure cooker, classic Indian Butter Chicken becomes totally attainable. Inflammation-reducing ginger, lycopene-heavy canned tomatoes, and, as expected, lots more delicious spices and flavors come together for a one-pot dish that's just as good as your typical takeout—just kidding, it tastes even better.
Photo: Pressure Cooking Today