I have been looking forward to putting this post together for WEEKS because it combines two things which I absolutely love:
The Mediterranean diet and pressure cooking.
There are so many advantages and yummy benefits to both – it’s a match made in heaven.
I guess I’ll start with talking about my love for Mediterranean food. The fresh tastes of basil and rosemary, the bright colours of tomatoes, and the rich, savory flavor of cheese have been staples in my life since I was a little girl.
As you may have found out in other posts and eBooks of mine, my mother had a garden beside the house of my childhood home. In it were the fresh, exotic tastes of Mediterranean cuisine which my mother so fondly grew and cooked with. Bright, fresh, colorful, and crisp salads always accompanied our meal, and our pastas never went without a healthy amount of homemade pesto or tomato sauce.
And when a friend introduced me to pressure cooking in my university days, I knew right away that the two would go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Pressure cooking not only cuts significant time out of a regular cooking routine, but it also locks in all the flavors of the ingredients used. That being said, the fresh flavors of Mediterranean dishes really benefit from it.
Without my trusty pressure cooker, I really don’t know if I would have made it through my university days alive. Making meals doesn’t get much easier than making them with a pressure cooker. You simply throw all your ingredients in and let the cooker do the rest of the work for you.
It’s like slow cooking, but it takes minutes instead of hours.
So without further ado, I’d like to present you with my favorite Mediterranean pressure cooker recipes. Created in my kitchen first – from my home to yours.
Cheesy Baked Eggs (makes 2 servings)
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet most people skip it. Mornings are busy, and sometimes we don’t have time for much as then some toast and jam or God forbid – a drive-thru breakfast sandwich.
But fear not! This breakfast recipe is both tasty and nutritious, and it only takes around 10 minutes to throw together. Prepare the ingredients the night before, and you can have it done in 5.
I do admit that the picture I’ve used for this post is a little bit misleading. I took that for this same recipe, but made in the oven. Made in the pressure cooker, I use these little heat-proof bowls (but some know them as ramekins?), and I’ve never gone back. Instead of the usual twenty minutes in the oven, it takes 5 minutes in the pressure cooker. And since the pressure cooker is just so amazing at locking all those flavors in, it tastes even better.
And honestly, this dish offers quite the dining experience. The flavors of the tomato and ham go together beautifully to complement the neutral yet savory eggs and mozzarella cheese.
I usually pair these with fresh fruit or whole wheat toast and jam to really compliment the Mediterranean palette. But hey, you can pair it with whatever you feel!
Also, don’t shy away from experimenting with different flavors with this one. As a total foodie myself, I’m always doing the same!
Sometimes if I don’t have ham on hand, I’ll use some crispy bacon instead. Or if I don’t have basil, I’ll use a couple sprigs of fresh cilantro or rosemary.
And if I’m feeling really fancy-schmancy I’ll chop up some red onion, garlic, bell pepper or throw in a few extra spices. You know, anything to make the dining experience more memorable.
Here’s the basic recipe though. Perfect for a rushed Tuesday morning or a relaxing brunch with the family. Let me know if you come up with any fun spins on this recipe!
Calories – 345
Fat in grams – 24
Carbs in grams – 6
Fiber in grams – 2
Protein in grams – 26
Savory Chestnut Potato Soup (makes 2 servings)
As I write this post from my cozy apartment in Canada, it’s absolutely freeeeezing out! From morning to night, you’ve got to wrap yourself up in 3 layers before headed out.
Needless to say, a warm nutritious soup is pretty much a must-have.
I usually find myself making crock pot soup on the weekends. I’ll wake up and start throwing things in there, then dine on it later in the evening. I love coming up with new, creative creations. Saturday mornings always have me dreaming up new combinations.
But throughout the week, I’m not so fortunate. I don’t have time to get all that creative, and I definitely don’t have time to start my crock pot in the morning. That being said, making a good pot of soup is a little more challenging.
Pressure cooking makes it a whole lot easier though.
The first time I made this savory chestnut potato soup I asked myself – why in the world did I wait so long? It takes zero effort, minimal time, and tastes so amazing. Often I’ll double the recipe to make seconds for the next day. There’s no excuse not to eat a nutritious, home-cooked meal with a fast and easy recipe like this one.
As a nutritionist, feeding myself quality ingredients on a daily basis is super important to me. And as a foodie, it’s important that those quality ingredients taste good. This is one of those recipes that gives me the best of both worlds without drilling a hole in my wallet or eating up all my free time (not that I have much free time, anyways…)
So yeah. This recipe is a pretty great example of why everyone crunched for money and time needs to get themselves a pressure cooker – AND STAT! You’ll fall in love with the creamy flavors, and your waistline will love them too.
Here’s to indulging in comfort food this chilly season, and sticking to our New Year’s resolutions while doing it!
Calories – 294
Fat in grams – 15
Carbs in grams – 26
Fiber in grams – 4
Protein in grams – 12
Spicy Chicken and Tomatoes (makes 2-3 servings)
This Mediterranean dinner of spicy chicken thighs and crushed cherry tomatoes is one that looks difficult, but is effortlessly easy. It requires such a tiny amount of labor that you’ll be laughing, and the flavors are out of this world. Bright, fresh colors allow for a naturally beautiful presentation as well. Your friends and family are sure to be impressed.
The pungent flavor of the cherry tomatoes complements the chicken perfectly. And with just a bit of hot sauce all the flavors stand out like crazy.
You could of course layer on more vegetables if you want to create a heartier meal. In the past, I’ve experimented with potatoes (as in the photo above), zucchini, bell pepper, eggplant, and more tomato. It’s a great way of adding substance and nutrition without adding a ton of calories. Just be sure to let your dish cook for a little longer in the pressure cooker.
In this recipe, I recommend draining the vegetable juices at the end for a dish that looks like it just came straight off the grill. If you like, however, you can choose to keep the juices for a more stew-like consistency. I’ve had it both ways and they’re both delicious, so the choice is yours!
Oh, and this stuff is ever better the second day, so you might want to make extras!
Calories – 81
Fat in grams – 6
Carbs in grams – 7
Fiber in grams – 1
Protein in grams – 4