A Couple Favorite Vegetable Curry Dishes

Vegetable curry dishes are so great. Nourishing, economical, and deliciously flavorful. Here are two favorites I alternate between when I cook one of our weekly vegetarian meals. The Fresh Vegetable Curry was inspired from Nourishing Meals, the other I wanted to share is a Curried Vegetable Letil Chili from Kim’s Cravings which I have cooked often with a variety of vegetables. They are pretty forgiving and always tasty. Try them yourself!

Fresh Vegetable Curry:

3 tablespoons coconut or virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 medium sweet potato or 4 medium red potatoes, cut into cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons sea salt or Herbamare
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
bunch of spinach or 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces
3/4 pound cauliflower, cut into tiny florets (this can take a while to cook soft)
1/2 pound mushrooms, cut in half
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat a large skillet (I use an 11-inch) over medium to medium-high heat for a few minutes to let the pan heat up. Add the coconut oil, then the mustard seeds and ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds (you should hear the mustard seeds popping). Then add the potatoes and carrots. Saute for about 10 to 15 minutes, keeping the heat moderate so they don’t start browning too much or sticking. Then add the spices and Herbamare. Stir well and saute for about a minute more. Sautéing the spices in oil is key to a good curry!
Next add the diced tomatoes. Saute for 2 minutes while stirring. Mix the cup of water with the arrowroot in a small bowl. I use a fork to whisk it together. Add this mixture to the cooking veggies.
Then add the green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, and chickpeas. Stir gently. cover and cook for about 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over rice or quinoa and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Curried Vegetable Chili:

1 cup brown or green lentil, rinsed and drained (a quicker option is using a can of garbanzo beans/ chick peas)
3 cups vegetable broth (water will work too)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ medium white onion, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 large zucchini, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 -1.5 tablespoons curry powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (or handfuls) fresh spinach, chopped

Place lentils and vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 45 minutes or until tender.
I first rinse and start my rice, which we like with our curries.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion and carrot, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Stir in curry powder, salt, pepper and garlic. Add zucchini and continue to sauté for about 3-5 more minutes. Continue to sauté until veggies are tender. Finally, add the spinach and continue to stir around the skillet until spinach is slightly wilted. You can throw in the garbanzo beans now, if using.
Once both lentils and veggie mixture are cooked, add lentil to the veggie mixture and stir to combine.
Optional, but highly recommended to make lentil chili thicker: Blend half of the lentil mixture in a high speed blender and then add back to the skillet for a super thick lentil chili.
Add more seasoning and salt, as needed.
Serve as is or over rice and enjoy!

Cheesy Comfort Food

When we make this we call it Mac’n cheese and mix it in with brown rice noodles – my boys’ lunchtime favorite. And it can be made without any cow dairy for those with this food sensitivity! I often use nutritional yeast for a non-dairy extra cheesy flavor, and for the excellent source of vitamin B.

Mac’n Cheese Recipe:
1 package of brown rice elbows or penne (I like Trader Joe’s)
2 Tbsp organic butter or ghee
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 c whole milk (goat or almond milk work for those with dairy sensitivities)
1 1/2 c cheese (I usually do a mixture of grated, grass-fed white sharp chedder and soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp (or more) nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
dash of basil, crushed garlic clove, or a can of sockeye salmon are also nice additions

Fill large pot with water and a dash of salt, and bring to rapid boil. Add noodles and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 8-10 minute or until soft.

Melt butter, and whisk in flour until lumps are gone. At medium-low heat, slowly stir in a little milk at a time. Add cheese and stir as it melts. Mix in nutritional yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over drained noodles and mix to combine.

Soothing Red Lentil Soup

Satisfying and nutritious with tumeric, lenils, and dark greens. It’s also an economical meal with a simple ingredients list. I also like to blend with an immersion blender in the pot before serving for a smoother texture.

I find it useful to keep greens (that tend to perish quickly) in the freezer. Gently washing, drying, and stripping most of the tough stems then freezing in ziploc bags, you can use fresh Summer greens through out the year. Just crush them a bit and sprinkle the leaf pieces into your soup!

To avoid a bitter taste, make sure spices like tumeric are fresh (avoid using spices over 6 mos old) and always saute spices with oil for the very best curry flavor.

Red Lentil Soup
from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed (or more)
1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 cups red lentils
8 cups water or veggie stock (or a mixture of both)
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 – 4 cups thinly sliced chard (or kale, spinach, collards)
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot (8-quart). Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder and saute for 5-10 minutes at medium low heat, stirring every so often to prevent any burning.

Add the red lentils and water or stock. I like to prep the carrots at this point. It’s just nice to get the lentils cooking first to save time. Then add the carrots, cover the pot, and simmer for about an hour total (start time after adding liquid and lentils).

Turn off heat, add greens (if added to early they lose nutritional value and colour), lemon, and salt. Stir it all together and let it rest for about five minutes for the greens to soften. Blend lightly if desired.

*I recently started with this recipe as a base but altered it and we loved it too. We used half chicken broth and half water, and added changed up a few of the other ingredients. I added coconut cream, 2 diced med sweet potatoes, peas, no leafy greens and only half a squeezed lemon added at the end. It made creamy and comforting soup.

Curry Rice and Lentil Casserole

I tried fresh tumeric the first time I made this. I’ve found this root, that looks a lot like ginger, at a couple different markets recently. It had less of a bitter taste that dried spices often have.

Look for the clic brand of brown lentils in the bean and lentil Indian section in Superstore if you have trouble like I did, finding brown lentils for a good price.

This is a sweet, mild flavored curry dish we’re having tonight that takes all afternoon to cook in the oven. But worth it! It’s actually quite an easy (and nutritious) meal. I found this at the blog www.nourishingmeals.com, full of recipes with wheat and gluten free alternatives.

Curry Rice and Lentil Casserole recipe:

1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion
1-2 tbsp fresh finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp fresh finely chopped tumeric, or 1 tsp dried tumeric
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 carrots
1 c brown rice
1 1/2 c french or brown lentils
1 can coconut milk
5 c water

Soak rice for 4-6 hours, discard water and rinse.

Chop carrots and onion. Heat oil in steel saucepan and saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add ginger and spices, saute 2 more min on low heat. Rinse lentils. Place onion mixture, carrots, lentils, rice, and coconut milk in dish and mix. Add water and gently stir. Cover and bake for 2 hours, then uncover and bake another 20 minutes. Stir and serve.

No-Crust Quiches

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An easy quiche-like dish. I usually have a frozen tub of organic cottage cheese (another thing I look for mark-downs on!) and a freezer bag of spinach on hand for making an easy meal once in a while. You can either layer either red peppers (pictured) or tomatoes (my fave) on top.

Cheese and Spinach Pie recipe:

1 tub cottage cheese
3 free range eggs
6 tbsp spelt (or other) flour
approx 2/3 of a 10 oz container of spinach, roughly chopped
1 c chedder cheese (I like Dublin grass fed white chedder!)
1/2 cup diced organic ham or 2 pieces bacon (optional)
1/2 tomato or 1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced
salt and freshly cracked pepper
freshly grated parmesan (optional)

Mix the cottage cheese and eggs. Add flour and mix until lumps are mostly gone. Fold in spinach, then cheese. Scrap into pie plate. Arrange tomato slices over dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and parmesan. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting. Works great served the next day.

And my more recent go-to recipe!…
The following quiche recipe is something I often make when I haven’t really planned a meal ahead of time and have a good supply of eggs.
I can generally throw a bunch of ingredients I have on hand together and it’s always a hit with my family. I’m a big fan of forgiving recipes like that. It’s a pretty general recipe, but I always include 6 eggs, a dash of milk, a pinch of cheese, sauteed onion or leek (leek is our favorite, and sometimes I sautee a bunch and freeze in ziploc in small portions for later), then some greens from our freezer or small broccoli florets. One quiche serves 4.

Basic Ingredients:
1/2 sweet onion or 3 leeks (white only), sauteed
6-8 large free run eggs
bunch of swiss chard leaves, cut into small pieces (or other greens)
1/4 c – 1.5 c cheese (I usually use up to 1/4 c soft (goat or feta) cheese, also I reserve a little grated hard cheese (chedder, mozzerella or parmesan) just for the topping )
approx 1/2 – 3/4 c cream or milk (dairy or non dairy)
salt & pepper
optional – diced ham or bacon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute leeks or onion in oil until soft. (Sometimes I just do this all in my cast iron pan and it’s a one-pot dish!) Mix all ingredients together, lightly grease and pour ingredients into pie plate. Sprinkle salt, pepper and cheese on top and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a little browned on top, and it’s set so that liquid doesn’t seep out when poked in middle with knife.

Chipotle Bean and Yam Stew with a Cilantro Cabbage Slaw

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I found this simple and economical meal from Whole Life Nutrition to be surprisingly satisfying, as did my guests, so I will make again for a nourishing and economical meal. It’s great if you need to avoid tomatoes (like my son), and my kids really like it! The garnish flavor compliments well and raw cabbage and fresh herbs aid digestion. It has a mild spicy flavor, not too spicy for my kids though, and you can add some extra spice to your bowl with a pinch of chipotle powder or chili flakes.
You can about 4 cans of black beans if you are not cooking your own dried. If you are cooking your own, be sure to save the liquid from the beans and use that as part of the liquid called for in the recipe.

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Chipotle Black Bean Stew:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin (I used half whole and half ground)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt (I prefer Himalayan)
2 medium yams, peeled and diced (just over 4 cups)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups cooked black beans
4 cups water or bean cooking liquid
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
the juice of one lime (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)

Heat a large 6 or 8-quart pot over medium low heat. Add olive oil then add onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes.

Then add the spices, salt, yams, and garlic, mix well and saute a minute or two more. Add the black beans and water (or bean cooking liquid). Using mainly bean cooking liquid adds a nice thickness. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until yams are barely tender but not yet cooked. Timing will depend on what size you dice your yams.

Then add the diced peppers and simmer. I let it simmer at a low heat for over an hour to make the best flavor and thickness. Remove from heat and add lime juice.

Cilantro-Cabbage Slaw Garnish:

4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
2 cups chopped cilantro
2 to 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
the juice of half a lime
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt or Herbamare

Place all ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and toss together. Be sure to make only what you will eat with you meal and enjoy!

Pea Soup

This is a tasty pea soup my kids like and a very cheap dinner! Without the ham pieces, would be suitable for older babies.

Pea Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1-2 stalks of celery, diced
2-3 small yams, chopped into small 1/2″ cubes
black pepper
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tarragon
dash of smoked paprika
1 1/2 c split peas (you can add up to 1/2 c more for thick soup, just allow more cooking time)
6 c water, chicken or vegetable broth
1 large bay leaf
tbsp red wine vinegar
1 c fresh peas or frozen
.5 kg organic smoked ham – bone in adds flavor and nutrition (optional)
1/2 tsp salt – if not using ham

Cook onion in oil until soft. Add potatoes, carrot, celery, 3 grinds of pepper, the cumin and tarragon, cooking for 5 min. Add peas bay leaf and water. Bring to boil then lower heat (add ham bone-in), simmering for at least 1 hour, until peas soften and soup is thick. Remove bay leaf. If just adding ham pieces, add ham, as well as red wine vinegar, fresh peas, dill and salt and simmer another 30-60 min. Makes 3-4 servings.