This soup is ‘leek’ your lips good!

As a dietitian and a mom, I am constantly trying to find ways to provide my family with excellent nutrition, while at the same time entertaining their taste buds.  Let’s be honest, no matter your age, you aren’t excited to eat something unless it tastes good!  My assessment is that we don’t give ourselves (especially our children) enough opportunity to truly enjoy healthy foods.  Today’s recipe is a great example that, oftentimes, healthy food appreciation requires a delicious context.  It’ll most likely shock you how many healthy ingredients go into this soup, yet how creamy, savory and satisfyingly tasty it is! The recipe also happens to pay homage to a traditional Irish dish, colcannon, once again showcasing the versatility of the Instant Pot® (IP)! Enjoy!

Instant Pot Colcannon-Inspired Soup
Serves 6 to 8

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Ingredients

2 cups sliced leeks (see first step in ‘Instructions’ for how to prep/clean the leeks)
2 cups chopped green cabbage
2 cups chopped lacinato kale
15 ounce can of white beans
7 medium red potatoes (about 2.5 pounds), peeled or unpeeled* and diced
32 fluid ounces vegetable stock/broth
16 fluid ounces water
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 ½ teaspoons salt (divided into 1 teaspoon and 1 ½ teaspoons)
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream

*I like to leave potatoes unpeeled in most recipes to increase the fiber content of a dish

For Garnish:
Vegetarian bacon
Parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

1. Leek preparation/cleaning: Cut off the leek roots and cut the leek bunch lengthwise. Then chop, starting at the white end, until you reach a 2-cup amount of chopped leeks (make sure you do not chop the last couple of inches of the green part, as it’s quite tough). Fill a bowl with cold water and put the chopped leeks into the bowl and stir for a bit (it’s at this point that any sand or sediment will sink to the bottom of the bowl).
2. Place cleaned leeks, cabbage, kale, beans and potatoes into the IP. Add broth, water, bay leaves, pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Place cover on instant pot and lock in place. Make sure the sealing knob is turned to ‘Sealing.’ Set the IP to Manual, High Pressure for 8 minutes.
3. Once the cook cycle is done, let the IP naturally release for 5 minutes, then carefully do a quick release.
4. Open lid and remove the 2 bay leaves.
5. Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture (careful – it’s HOT). Stir in the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt along with the butter and cream. Enjoy! (with garnish if desired)

Though this soup doesn’t really need anything alongside it for nutritional balance, my kiddos did enjoy some healthy garlic bread (as mentioned here) for dipping!

For the Nutrition Highlight today, I thought I’d talk about a food that often doesn’t get much of a nutritional second glance, yet has a lot to offer, health-wise.  Let’s discuss. . .

LEEKS

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Leeks contain:

Copper: Involved in antioxidant function and critical for growth of connective tissue, energy production, metabolism or iron and neurotransmitter function
Fiber: improves digestion and/or decreases blood cholesterol
Folate: critical in the synthesis of genetic material (i.e. DNA) and cell division
Iron: used to make hemoglobin and myoglobin which are critical for oxygen transport throughout the body; also required for many hormones and the structure of our connective tissue
Manganese: critical component of enzymes involved in antioxidant function, bone development, metabolism, and wound healing
Vitamin B6: necessary for many metabolic enzymes in addition to brain and immune function
Vitamin K: critical for blood clotting and bone structure

So, that’s all for now.  Please feel free to ask questions about my experience with the IP, Weekday Vegetarianism, leeks, general nutrition or whatever!  See you next time!

References:
1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=26
2. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper
3. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-Consumer/
4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/
5. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/manganese
6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-Consumer/
7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-Consumer/

Disclaimer:
Any content you find on Sunny Seeds Nutrition Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.

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