Since one of my very best friends is now vegan, I’ve been hanging out with her and doing food prep days periodically and ending up with some vegan freezer meals! Curries are not something I typically make vegan since I like to use jarred curry paste, but believe it or not you can get vegan curry paste in a jar! Who knew?! We used Patak’s Mild Curry Paste.
I didn’t grow up in a family that ate a lot of Indian food, not even westernized Indian food (I’m looking at you, most butter chicken). Any, really, except for samosas! Indian food was something I really realized I liked on a food tour in college, as well as through friend’s mum’s cooking it! When I was finishing my BBA, I remember vividly one of my colleague’s mum bringing in chicken biryani and nearly dying of happiness it was so good. It was during finals and if you’re like me and have food memories, you’ll understand why Indian food is forevermore comfort food in my world.
This recipe is honestly what I’d call a use-up dish. You can throw whatever veggies you have kicking around and make some rice and call it a day. I think this is great for controlling food waste, but you can easily use frozen veggies if you need a quick meal from the freezer.
Vegan Lentil Curry
Serves eight for $12.96 or $1.62 per Serving
2 potatoes, large dice- $1.68
One red pepper- $2.10
One head of cauliflower- $4.58
Greens (we used swiss chard)- $2.28
2 cups red lentils- $1.32
1 cup Basmati rice (to serve with)- ~$1
Pantry Staples: Pataks Mild Curry Paste, olive oil, coconut milk (optional)
Step one of this recipe is to rinse your rice and put it on to cook in a pot. Next, rinse and check your lentils (for debris, like tiny pebbles HA). For your mise en place, wash all of your veggies up and dice them. I recommend that you keep your cauliflower florets and potato chunks pretty small so that they don’t take so long to cook that your lentils are mushy. I chop my swiss chard up and set the leafy bits aside for later, but the stems can cook with the rest of your veggies.
Start cooking by sauteeing your cauliflower , potatoes, swiss chard stems and red pepper in the bottom of a pot with a small amount of olive oil. Once they’re about halfway cooked, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of curry paste to the pot and heat it through with your veggies. Then, add 1.5 cups of water and your lentils, bring to a simmer, and put your lid on the pot!
This part is an art, not a science. Check your pot periodically, try tasting a veggie or lentil. Still hard or chewy? Make sure you have enough water in the pot still, and slap the lid back on. Repeat until everything is a nice consistency, adding water as you need or additional curry paste to your preference. If everything is the right texture (lentils should be slightly firm but break up easily when chewed), you can turn off the heat and add in your swiss chard tops to soften them! If you like coconut milk, add it in as well (I find it sweet, so I don’t, but this is a great way to dial back curry you’ve made too spicy). Serve it over a bed of rice and relax! This recipe is great for the freezer, too.
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Do you have a favorite veggie and lentils dish? Let me know!