red lentil coconut + ginger curry

vegan curry Indian lentil split pea lime chili cilantro

This one pot curry is one of my staple winter and fall meals- it’s not my recipe, it’s Yotam Ottolenghi’s (and may I say he’s hands down in my top 3 favorite chefs of all time- the things he does with flavors are UNREAL).  You can find the recipe HERE on Bon Appetit’s website.  It’s fast and packed with flavor.  Since there’s so few ingredients, I really make sure the curry powder is fresh and strong and tasty.  Our bulk curry powder here is really good, but for years I’ve loved using the Sun Brand Madras style curry powder, too.

If you’re into making your own blend, this recipe by Heidi Swanson has never steered me wrong (scroll to the bottom of the linked page).

DON’T skip the lime, cilantro, and sprinkle of salt garnish.  It’s essential.

This is part of the #yayforearthchallenge II, read more about it + the meal plan HERE.

Curry spices

Here’s some options + variations to make it your own:

take it to the next level:  I like to toss in a handful of golden raisins sometimes if I have them, or wilt in some spinach.  Sometimes I use broth instead of the water.

make it heartier: sometimes I also start a pot of basmati rice while it cooks: 2c rice to 3c water + a pinch of salt.  Should be done in 15-20 (for white), exactly when your curry is done.

make it faster:  this is already really fast, but you could make the night before or on the weekend if you know you’ll have a long day.  Then, simply reheat.  Bonus is that the flavors only get deeper.

less waste:  I always use the cilantro stems, too.  Minced finely, they add just as great of a flavor as the leaves.

summer staple: marinated lentil salad

lentil salad

Hi friends!  How’s your week going?  Currently we (Joel) are driving to the beach with a carload of kids in the back and tons of snacks.  It’s 102 in our town and we’re escaping to the coast where it’s a cool 66 for a day of exploring tide pools and soaking up the salty air.

What we have packed for food: homemade popcorn in our simple ecocoloy cloth bag, carrots/cucumber/celery, dates, pb+j sammies for the kids + marinated lentil salad with eggplant and zucchini for me + J.  Packed in our To Go Ware tiffin, and a few spoons and cloth napkins to avoid bringing any plastic to the beach.

I’ve made the marinated lentil salad 3 times so far this month and it’s a great and delicious way to make a big batch of filling food that can last in the fridge a few days and be easily grabbed for lunches or to supplement dinner without turning on the stove again.  It also tastes better and better after sitting in the fridge.

As always, I encourage you to use your own variations based on what you like or have.  This is really more of a rough recipe.  Instead of lentils, try chickpeas, pasta, quinoa, or potatoes.  Instead of fennel seeds and basil, try cilantro and cumin.  Try green beans or roasted bell peppers or corn instead of the zucchini and eggplants.  I’ve also used thin slices of raw zucchini instead of sautéing it.  Mostly I just make the lentil base and toss in whatever needs to be used up.

Lentil salad to go lunch

When it’s time to pull out a portion for lunch, I put it in my bowl or on the go container and sprinkle a bit more vinegar and salt it or pack a lemon wedge with it.  You can take a big amount as is or use a small amount and then bulk it up with fresh extras like avocado, thick wedges of tomato, thin sliced carrot, grated beets, spinach, kale, lettuce etc.

Lentil salad

for lunch- I added sliced carrots, orange garden tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic on top.  The jar is from Weck and I like it because the mouth is wide enough to eat out of easily.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do and that it serves you well this summer.  I’d love to see what variations you guys enjoy!

marinated lentil salad with broiled summer veggies

2 cups lentils (I prefer french or beluga)

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano or use 1/2 tsp dried

1 small shallot or a bit of red onion, minced

olive oil to taste, optional or use up to 1/4 cup

salt and black pepper to taste

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

2-3 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3 long and thin (Japanese variety) eggplant, sliced on the diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices

1/2 a bunch of basil, chopped

1/2 a bunch of parsley, chopped

Cover the lentils with water (enough to cover by a few inches) and some salt.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer, setting the timer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, oregano, shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust as needed.  Chop up the tomatoes and add them in.  Slice the zucchini and eggplant and set aside.

At this point the timer should be going off.  Check the lentils and see if they’re tender.  If not, keep cooking and checking, up to 10 more minutes depending on the lentil.  When they’re tender but not mushy, drain them and add them to the bowl with the tomatoes and vinaigrette.

Heat up a drizzle of oil and the fennel seeds in a sauté pan (or use water if you avoid oil) and when hot, add in the zucchini.  Let sear without stirring for a couple minutes to get a little browning.  While that’s browning, arrange the eggplant on a lined baking sheet in a way that they will all be under the broiler once in the oven.

Stir the zucchini around and mix in the red pepper flakes.  Keep cooking and stirring until tender.  When tender, stir through the garlic and let cook another minute.  Add to the lentil bowl.

Turn on the broil setting of your oven.  Rub the eggplant slices with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place under the broiler and let cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Flip over and return to broiler, cooking about 5-7 more minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle some red wine vinegar over and let sit a minute.  Add to bowl with the lentils.  Mix through.

Add in the herbs and mix again.  Taste and adjust with more vinegar, salt, chili flakes, or garlic as needed.

Keeps well in the fridge about 4 days, a few more days if you omit the basil/parsley and add fresh as you eat it.

quick variation:  omit fennel seeds.  Reduce garlic to 2 cloves, crushed and add to the dressing.  Add the pepper flakes to the dressing too.  Instead of cooking the zucchini, slice it paper thin with a mandolin into the bowl.  Or sub cucumber.  Omit eggplant.  Sub in some rough chopped jarred (or from the olive bar) marinated artichoke hearts and/or marinated broiled red peppers.

lentil bolognese

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This lentil bolognese turned out so flavorful!  I had some lentils lounging in the fridge that needed to be used, so as usual, I planned my meal around them.  I always like to cook a legume on the weekend to have in the fridge to build meals easily- lentils go so well in grain salads, green salads, soups and more.  They are perfect little gems: gorgeous, easy to digest and packed with protein and iron.  Plus they have a nice hearty texture and can hold their own in this sauce.  Crimini mushrooms and tamari add a little umami, and plenty of aromatics make everything pop.  YUMMM let’s get to it.

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lentil bolognese (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil for sautéing

1/4 cup minced shallot or onion

1/4 cup minced carrot

1/4 cup minced celery

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

4 cloves chopped garlic

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning OR 1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

3 cups tomatoes- you can use chopped fresh or canned

1 tablespoon tamari

1.5 cups cooked lentils- I used French green; you can use any EXCEPT red lentils which will turn to mush

1/4 cup chopped basil or parsley + more for garnishing

METHOD:

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven.  Add in the shallot, celery, carrot, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened- about 7 minutes.  Add in the garlic, dried herbs, and chili flakes and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Add in tomatoes and tamari, stir, and simmer 20 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened.  At this point I pureed half of it before returning it to the pot; my kids prefer a smoother sauce.  You can do that too or leave as is; up to you!  Add in the lentils and basil and let cook minute or two to heat through.  Toss with pasta or zoodles or spaghetti squash, plate, and sprinkle with more chopped herbs and a generous sprinkle of my crumbly vegan parm .  Yum!  Keeps well in the fridge too.  Hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did!  If you make it, I’d love to see!  Tag me on instagram @mamaeatsplants .  Have a lovely weekend friends! xx A.

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