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.

cultured almond ricotta

Yesterday I made this almond ricotta thanks to inspiration from my friend Frances @blissfullynurtured, and it turned out so delicious I thought I’d write it down here in the blog for easy referencing.

I’ve made ricotta many times before with cashews, and I’d assume if you are allergic to nuts you could try making it with a seed instead or even tofu.

This time, I decided to try adding a probiotic capsule and letting it culture a bit on the counter before refrigeration.  I left it out maybe 6-9 hours and tasted it when I got home from work- perfect.  The culturing just adds that little bit extra, in my opinion, to make it taste more rounded and complex.  Also, I added in lemon zest which really went beautifully!  You could flavor it any way you like- herbs, a dark strong olive oil, pepper, chiles, garlic, or go sweet with vanilla or almond extract etc.

lemon vegan ricotta almond

Spread onto toast with jam or honey/agave (my kids LOVED it like this), spread on thick cut tomatoes with a drizzle of good balsamic and basil, broil or bake or grill a peach and dollop some in the middle, mix with some pesto and toss with pasta or roasted veggies, theres so many ways to use it!

As always, I encourage you to use this “recipe” as more of a jumping off point, and adjust / play around with the consistency and flavors to make it just right for you!  There is no right and wrong and the recipe is super forgiving.  If you make it, I’d LOVE to see it- tag me on instagram @mamaeatsplants or email me mamaeatsplants@gmail.com.

peach ricotta toast vegan

cultured almond ricotta

1 cup blanched slivered almonds, soaked overnight or at least 4 hours (I found these in the bulk section, alternatively you can use whole almonds and peel in the morning after soaking, or use cashews and no peeling is required)

1/2 tsp lemon zest and 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional0 sub whatever flavorings you like)

1/4 cup water + more as needed

salt to taste

1 probiotic capsule (optional but delicious- I used a 100 billion count as that’s what I happened to have in the fridge, but really any good probiotic will do)

method:

Place almonds in the food processor.  Add in the lemon juice + zest, the water and a few pinches salt.  Blend in the food processor until creamy, stopping to check consistency and scrape down the sides as needed, or adding tiny bits of water as you see fit.  When the consistency is how you like it, taste and check for salt and other flavorings and adjust as needed.

Transfer to a jar and mix through the probiotic capsule- try to use a non reactive spoon, like wood.  I actually just pulsed it for a second or two in the food processor, purely for ease, but I know it’s said that metal can deactivate the probiotic.  I haven’t had that experience.  So, up to you.

Put the lid on loosely and wrap a kitchen towel over it (for insulation and keeping out light).  Let sit for 2-8 hours, depending on how warm it is in your house, and how tangy you want the final product.  You can smell or taste a bit as it goes to judge how its progressing.  Once it tastes right to you, transfer to fridge and keep there- should keep over a week.

ricotta almond vegan lemon zero waste

package free: fermented hot sauce

fermented red Fresno Chile habanero hot sauce probiotic vegan

This year I’m trying to reduce my recycling and rely less often on store bought products in the interest of sustainability- and also just because its fun for me.  I already buy very little pre made foods- see package free: veggie broth , everything bagel spicepackage free: hummus, pickled onions + beets and sauerkraut. but certain things I just haven’t gotten around to DIY-ing: mustard (although I have a great recipe a friend on IG gifted me with), ketchup, mayo, and previously: hot sauce.

I love a good hot sauce to spice things up, and after I watched BA Brad make this amazing fermented hot sauce I just had to try it.  Turns out, it’s super easy, delicious, and cheap to make your own.  Plus I got all the ingredients sans packaging.  My husband even rescued some empty Tabasco and Cholula bottles from his work that were heading for the landfill.  I washed them out and they work perfectly for my own brew.  Zero waste win!

A note about fermenting:  some people are scared of fermenting, fearing botulism or food poisoning.  I’ve been fermenting for years and only had something go off on me once: a batch of kraut that grew mold on the top (I didn’t properly submerge it under the brine).  Not saying it can never happen, but just use common sense: use CLEAN hands, tools, and vessels when fermenting; discard anything that looks or smells bad.  WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT (compost it).

If something is off, it will smell terrible/skunky/strange/alcohol-y or have weird colors/textures.  If it smells delicious and tangy, its fine.  Use your common sense and you’ll be good.  If you’re unsure about something, you can send me a pic of it on instagram if you want!  Two really great books that go into depth on fermentation are Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation.  I found these at my library and they’re so interesting and helpful.

Chiles zero waste habanero red Fresno fermented

This recipe was written down from the verbal directions in this video which I highly recommend you watching….its not only hilarious, its super informative and shows you how to do it step by step.

BA brad’s fermented red chile hot sauce:

ingredients:

20 red fresno peppers

3 habanero peppers

3 dried hibiscus flowers (sometimes labeled flor de jamaica or in the tea section)-optional

4 mixed peppercorns (or just all black peppercorns)

4 cardamom pods (optional)

1 teaspoon Aleppo or Maras Biber chili flakes (optional but adds depth)

4 cloves of garlic

6 tablespoons kosher sea salt

6 tablespoons sugar

2 quarts of water

method:

Deseed the peppers- you can leave some seeds in, all of the seeds, or none of the seeds.  It will still be really spicy even without seeds from the habaneros.

In a large glass jar, add 1 quart of water and all the spices, salt, and sugar.  Put the lid on and shake it or stir it up until the sugar and salt dissolve.  Add in the peppers and the remaining quart of water.  Stir again gently.  Replace lid loosely (so a little air can escape still) and place jar in a dark spot (like a cupboard or closet).

The ideal temp to ferment in is 70-80 degrees.  Keep in mind that if its colder, your ferment will take longer, if its warmer, it will take less time.

Let ferment for 2 weeks and open jar daily or every other day to release gas. After 2 weeks, open jar and press on peppers with a wooden spoon quite firmly to release juices and break down cell walls a bit, and stir jar.  This is what my jar looked like after 2 weeks- bubbly but nothing crazy, smelling super savory and delicious.

Fermented Chile hot sauce garlic hibiscus

Let ferment another 2 weeks. Continue to open jar daily to release gas.  This is what my jar looked like at this point.  See that white waxy/filmy stuff?  Thats totally normal and fine- don’t get freaked out if you see this.  Its just natural yeasts from the chile skins.

Fermented Chile salt brine hot sauce zero waste

Strain the liquid, reserving it for later.  Remove whole spices if desired.  Add rest of jar into blender. Add half a cup of liquid from straining and blend smooth, adding more liquid as needed to attain desired consistency.  Bottle and enjoy!