Pressure cookers can make a great addition to any kitchen, and are especially useful for those following a lectin-free diet.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of pressure cookers and why they’re a good family investment. You’ll also learn some tasty new recipes to whip up in a snap.
What Is A Pressure Cooker?
At first glance, a pressure cooker can look a little daunting. So, let’s take a look at how one actually works.
In a nutshell, a pressure cooker is steam under pressure. You have a sealed cooking pot that allows steam to build up inside it, creating a highly pressurized state. A pressure release valve produces and regulates this pressure.
Why is this an asset? Well, a pressure cooker allows temperatures to build higher than the temperature that water boils, so it decreases cooking time.
Pressure cookers are a wonderful asset for a busy lifestyle – you can just pop all your ingredients into the cooker and let it do the work for you.
Cooking Food With Water And Steam: Do High Temperatures Remove Vitamins And Minerals From Vegetables?
Is pressure cooking healthy? In a word, yes. Let’s take a look at why.
As pressure cookers cook at such high temperatures, there’s often concern as to whether they’ll kill all the wonderful vitamins and minerals found in fresh food ingredients. But fear not. Pressure cookers actually preserve nutrients in food.
This is because, in general, shorter cooking times mean a greater preservation of vitamins and minerals. In fact, according to one study, steaming (like pressure cooking) may actually ensure better preservation of antioxidants and other nutrients than other cooking methods.1
What About Lectins? Can Pressure Cooking Reduce Or Remove Lectins From Food?
Aside from being quick and locking in lots of flavor, pressure cooking can also help protect you from lectins. In fact, the best way (and the Dr. Gundry preferred way) of destroying lectins is by using a pressure cooker.2 While a pressure cooker won’t destroy all of the lectins in some of your favorite foods, it can dramatically reduce their lectin content making them safe to consume in moderation.
Now, not all lectin-rich foods can be “treated” by pressure cooking. But plenty can. And that means you can add some of those foods on the Gundry “no” list back into your diet, but again, in moderation.
Lectin-rich foods that can be pressure cooked: Legumes, white rice, potatoes, tomatoes (in fact, all nightshade veggies), and all types of squash and pumpkins.
Lectin-rich foods that can’t be pressure cooked: Gluten-rich, wheat-based products (like pastas and grains), other types of grains like buckwheat or oats (even gluten-free oats). These should still be avoided.
You also shouldn’t try to pressure cook non-grass fed meats to make them healthier, as this also doesn’t work. Instead, stick to buying purely grass-fed meats.
Stove-top vs Electric Pressure Cookers
Now, there are two kinds of pressure cookers that you can purchase: the traditional stove-top stainless steel cooker or the more modern electric pressure cooker. Either is a great choice.
Electric pressure cookers usually require a longer cook time than stovetop cookers, as they have a slightly different cooking pressure. But they’re also a lot easier to use, and safer, as they aren’t as at-risk for explosions and other kitchen accidents.
Try These Easy And Healthy Pressure Cooker Recipes For Healthy Meal Plans
First, it’s a good idea to learn how to pressure cook legumes. Then you’ll be more able to safely consume them.
Recipe: Pressure Cooking Legumes
- Pre-soak legumes through several changes of water. This also helps to remove lectins and can decrease the cooking time.
- Using an electric pressure cooker, add just enough water to cover the legumes sufficiently, then cook as follows:
- Black beans: 6-8 minutes
- Garbanzo beans: 10-15 minutes
- Kidney beans: 8-10 minutes
- Lentils: 10-12 minutes (lentils prefer a ratio of 1:2 with water)
Recipe: “Cheesy” Baked Potato Soup
While you’re nixing those lectins, why not indulge in some nightshade vegetables like potatoes? This soup is delicious and easily prepared.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups onion, diced
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 6 cloves garlic
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: chopped green onion to garnish
- Heat olive oil on sauté mode in the pressure cooker for about 5 minutes.
- Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add potatoes, garlic, chicken stock, and nutritional yeast and stir.
- Switch to the pressure cook manual button and select 8 minutes.
- Once the cycle ends, let the pot sit undisturbed for 10 minutes to naturally release. Then do a very careful “quick release” of any remaining pressure to ensure no hot soup comes firing out.
- Using a blender, purée the soup until completely smooth. Add salt and black pepper. Garnish with green onion.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Tacos
Juicy taco meat and lectin-free cassava tortillas bring a whole new look to Taco Tuesday.
- 2 lbs lean, grass-fed and finished beef
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cassava flour taco shells or lettuce leaves
- Choice of toppings: avocado, shredded lettuce, sweet potato, cilantro, Dr. Gundry’s creamy “cheese” sauce
- Add all of the ingredients except the ground beef to the electric pressure cooker.
- Stir fry in pot without using the pressure cooker setting for 5-6 minutes (use the sauté setting if you have one).
- Add beef and slowly brown.
- Secure the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
- If there is an excess of liquid, just sauté it off.
- Serve with warmed cassava taco shells or romaine lettuce leaves and lectin-free toppings.
Recipe: Salmon, Sweet Potato, And Broccoli One-Pot Dinner
Enjoy this romantic, exceedingly quick one-pot dinner for two.
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 frozen salmon fillets
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into large pieces
- Pepper to taste
- Add sweet potatoes to the bottom of the pressure cooker pot and sprinkle with olive oil and salt.
- Pour the water over the top.
- Place the cooker’s “trivet” or steam rack over the sweet potatoes.
- Add lemon slices to the rack and then place the salmon on top of the lemon, skin-side down.
- Season fish with minced garlic. Then, lay more lemon slices on top of the fish.
- Position the small aluminum bowl that comes with your cooker over the top of the fish.
- Add broccoli to the bowl and sprinkle with olive oil and salt.
- Close the pressure cooker and cook for 3 minutes on high.
- When complete, quick release the steam, open the lid, and serve.
Lectin-Free Food Choices: It’s Easy
Pressure cookers are a wonderful way to still eat some of your favorite lectin-rich foods from time to time. Using a pressure cooker also speeds up your cooking time on busy evenings. From vegetables to soups to entire meals, there’s plenty of delicious options to make using a pressure cooker.