Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Weekly Vegan: Red Lentil-Cauliflower Curry

All you really need to know about lentils is that they are an edible pulse (I have no idea what that means, but gosh darn it I want to eat that). My favorite (and one of my first vegetarian dishes) was a lentil loaf, so I jumped on the chance to prepare another dish with these delightful legumes (it's late and I may be reading lots of wikipedia instead of sleeping like I should be). Combined with cauliflower (or albino broccoli to the cool kids), we were set for a fabulous curry to go with our samosas (and possibly serve as a dipping sauce since I like to think the point of any Indian dish is to facilitate dipping carby things).

Red Lentil-Cauliflower Curry
Adapted from The Veganomicon by I. Moskowitz and T. Romero
Servings: 6
Time: 60 minutes
Add faux chicken or seitan for more protein

3 tbsp peanut oil
1 onion, chopped

2 shallots, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1-2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
4 cups veggie broth
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and sliced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
Basmati rice

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large stockpot.
  2. Sauté  the onion and shallots until tender and translucent (about 7 minutes).
  3. Stir in the ginger and jalapeno and cook for another minute.
  4. Mix in the spices and cook for a minute then add the parsnip and stir-fry for a minute.
  5. Slowly stir in the veggie broth then add in the lentils.
  6. Cover the pot and bring to a boil for one minute.
  7. Remove the cover and stir then cover again and let simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes until the lentils turn yellow and mushy.
  8. Add in the cauliflower and mix to coat then simmer covered for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro, lime juice and salt. Let sit covered for 15 minutes then serve over basmati rice.
Wholesome Sunday family dinner!
Personally, I think the curry won the meal. It had an amazing cauliflower taste permeating throughout (fun fact: I finally learned like a year ago that you could eat cauliflower without melted cheese all over it. Hooray, healthy childhoods!) and the little hint of cilantro was a nice touch. It could have used a little more heat, but luckily we have a healthy supply of sriracha (or you could add another jalapeno). Also, to round out the meal and create a little textural variety I'd recommend incorporating a veggie dish like bhendi (I'm disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of an opportunity to eat okra). Most importantly, my friends continued to enjoy my attempt to indoctrinate them into crazy veganity to let me feel like I'm back in L.A. cooking with my sister (and Heather proved her worth in the kitchen meaning I'll now expect big things from her).

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