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Recipe Time - Savory Spanakopita Brownies and Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Updated: Apr 18

Spinach and Feta Brownies

I am a huge fan of the hungry happens site and have made this particular dish a few times. Making spinach pie (spanakopita) isn't easy. Phyllo dough isn't easy to work with and requires considerable time. If you want that spinach pie flavor without the hassle, this savory brownie version is delicious and simple to make. You could enjoy this dish at any time of the day and it pairs well with soups and salads. Doubling or tripling the recipe isn't a bad idea as these freeze well and only require a few minutes in the oven for a quick warm up.

Healthy Recipe Adjustment - Cut the butter or oil from 1/4 to 1/5 and reduce the overall amount of cheese by 1/3. I usually keep the feta and parmesan amounts as is and omit the mozzarella entirely. I didn't think the mozzarella really added much flavor to the dish and I didn't miss it. I also use oat milk versus dairy milk since I am lactose sensitive.

Instant Pot Lentil Soup

This is a staple in our household going back nearly 5 years. I dabble with the recipe now and then but it is pretty standard, extremely easy and quick to make and freezes well. I always make enough for dinner (and maybe lunch the next day) and freeze a portion for another weeknight dinner over the coming weeks. The recipe linked above can be followed but I made some adjustments and have included my version below.

Prep time is about 10 minutes and Cook time is 20 minutes or so.

Ingredients for 4 Servings

  • 1 cup red Lentils

  • 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil/butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 2-3 garlic cloves chopped/minced

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baharat seasoning

    • I use this general seasoning since it is easier than measuring out cumin, cardamom, coriander and other seasonings individually.

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac

    • I don't typically use this since it is a bit harder to find, but it's a nice addition if you have it.

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes or to taste

    • Omit if you're really sensitive to spice

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried

  • Pinch of sugar

  • 4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth or water

    • Using all broth or all water works or half/half.

  • Salt to taste

  • Black pepper to taste

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Additions/Changes to Recipe

  • I often use butter instead of olive oil and will throw a ham bone into the soup for flavor if I can get my hands on one.

  • I usually dice 3 to 4 carrots and some celery and saute them with the onions to add some texture and additional vegetables to the dish.

  • You may need to add more seasoning once the pressure cooking is complete. This is expected. Once the cooking is completed, give it a taste and adjust the seasonings, including salt and pepper.

  • I sometimes use a stick blender to blend the soup together if I want it more porridge-like vs. soup-like.

  • I recommend doubling the recipe and freezing the leftovers.

The soup is terrific as is, but can be elevated with some toppings, including green onions, crusty homemade bread crumbs, crumbled up pretzel chips, a dash of hot sauce, etc.


  1. Press the saute button on your Instant Pot (IP). Wait till it gets hot and then add olive oil or butter to the pot.

  2. Once oil is hot, add chopped onion and saute till it becomes light golden brown in color. If you're adding carrots or celery, toss these in also. Adding a couple tablespoons of water after the IP gets hots is a good idea.

  3. Add chopped garlic, baharat seasoning, ground sumac (if using), red chili flakes (if using), parsley and a pinch of sugar.

  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

  5. Add the lentils and the salt and pepper. Stir to mix for 1 minute.

  6. Add water (or vegetable broth) and give it a stir.

  7. Close the Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing position.

  8. Cancel saute mode and press the "Manual" button on your IP. Adjust the timing and set it to 10 minutes on high. Once 10 minutes are up, wait for 5 minutes and then do the quick release.

  9. Stir the soup, add lemon juice and taste to see if additional spices are needed.

  10. Serve with or without toppings and enjoy.



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