Vegan Slow Cooker Red Lentil Coconut Curry Recipe

It has been a while since I shared a recipe but this recipe, inspired by Anupy Singla’s “South Indian Lentils With Curry Leaves” from “The Indian Slow Cooker” (amazon affiliate link), is something we make just about every week.  

When my husband and I got married we received a slow cooker (amazon affiliate link) as a wedding gift and I was perplexed because as vegetarians I didn’t think we would use a slow cooker that much.  It is wonderful for beans (see my post about a refried bean recipe here) and with this recipe, the red lentils break down wonderfully for a meal on their own or served over brown or white rice.  

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I normally hesitate to list ingredients when a recipe is derived from a cookbook, opting to instead point readers to the book itself, but my variant of Ms. Singla’s recipe cuts a number of ingredients out (I didn’t have fresh curry leaves, for example) or reduces them drastically (like the coconut milk and salt – she suggested two tablespoons and I use one teaspoon!).  This makes a very generous batch so you can freeze half and serve half or have leftovers another night.

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Supplies

Knife
Cutting Board
Strainer
6 Quart Slow Cooker
Frying Pan

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Ingredients

1 Red Ripe Tomato, Quartered
3 Cups Red Lentils, Rinsed and Drained
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
7 oz Can of Diced Green Chiles
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
4 Teaspoons Curry Powder
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
2-3 Teaspoons Canola Oil
3/4 Cup of Coconut Milk
8 Cups Water

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Directions

Heat the frying pan on medium until warm, then add the oil.  Put the mustard seeds in the pan until they start popping and add the diced onion.  Stir and add the turmeric, curry powder, and salt.  Once the onions have softened you can add them to your slow cooker.  While the onions are frying, feel free to rinse the red lentils in the strainer over the sink.  Pick through the lentils as well to make sure there are not small pebbles or the like.  Add the drained red lentils to the crock pot along with the diced chiles, tomatoes, and water.

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Stir the mixture and set the slow cooker to low for 6 hours.  Add the coconut milk and stir, then cook on high for half an hour.  No worries if you are not home to do this at the 6 hour mark, your slow cooker should switch to the warm setting until you get home and can add the coconut milk.

You can halve the recipe but if you do, keep the coconut milk the same measurement but do halve the water along with everything else.  Sometimes the curry can me thicker or more liquid depending on the liquid from the onion and tomato but it is always delicious.  Ms. Singla includes cumin, coriander, and even fresh curry leaves in her recipe but I have streamlined it a great deal for my kitchen.

The leftover coconut milk (if you use a large can) is great in smoothies.  Enjoy!

Light Quinoa Tabouli (or Tabbouleh or Tabbouli)

I always suggest this cool summer salad to people when they are looking for a way to spruce up their quinoa (a wonderful staple all alone) and yet I’ve never posted about it!  Quinoa makes a great stand in for the usual tabouli base of wheat bulgur (E is allergic to wheat as you may know).  We serve this with our favorite falafel recipe (I made a double batch which yielded 27 patties at under 70 calories apiece) and bean dip.  Now that I can eat tomatoes again I am sure to throw some extra tomatoes on my plate as well.  I can’t help it!

Oh, and I have seen this spelled tabouli, tabbouleh, and tabbouli just to name three variations and though Wikipedia goes with “tabbouleh” I’m going to use “tabouli” because I don’t do well remembering to be consistent when double letters are at play.

Supplies

Cutting board and knife

Large Bowl

Scale and/or measuring cups

Ingredients

3.5 cups cooked quinoa (about 640 grams) – this would be just a little over 1 cup dry quinoa

4 or 5 leaves (or 2 grams) of minced fresh mint – you can of course put more but the mint I’d purchased wasn’t all good

20 diced grape tomatoes (or 2 servings at 85 grams each)

100 grams of onion (or half a medium onion), diced

10 grams of parsley (about half a cup), minced

2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled, though fresh is tastiest)

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil – this is where I was trying to save calories)

1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional, sometimes kids don’t like a strong garlic flavor) or 1 tsp of granulated garlic

1/4 tsp sea salt

pepper to taste

Directions

This is a very forgiving recipe, you can really cook any amount of quinoa to suit the proportion of herbs that you have but I had made quinoa the night before and had 3.5 cups of cooked quinoa left, hence the weird measurement here.  So rinse one to two cups of dry quinoa thoroughly while double the water is brought to a boil on your stove.  1 cup of quinoa needs 2 cups of water, and so on.  When the water is boiling, add your rinsed quinoa and reduce the heat to low, covering your pot with a lid and setting your timer at 15-20 minutes.  15 minutes usually does the trick for a cup of quinoa.  When the quinoa is fluffy, you’ll want to remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Chop your mint, parsley, onions, garlic, and tomatoes and combine with the cooled quinoa.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine, cover, and refrigerate a few hours or over night.  The flavors improve the longer the dish rests.  95 grams of the recipe I made above is about 102 calories which is not far removed from the usual nutritional profile of quinoa.  My kids like mint but they preferred this iteration of the salad over my usual ones when I have free reign with my fresh mint.  I’m guessing I overdo the herbs so a little restraint helps when you’re serving this dish to children.

As I mentioned above, enjoy alone or with falafel and bean dip!  However you spell it, it is a great option to add to your meal rotation.

(Shared on Cybele Pascal’s 8/3/12 Allergy Friendly Friday)

Arugula White Bean Dip Recipe

My kids love bean dip.  I think most children love dipping their food as a general rule but bean dip is a great option because it packs a nutritional punch.  Despite being a daily staple, I haven’t posted our usual hummus recipe because it is different every time – a little of this, a little of that, whatever beans we have on hand, all thrown into the food processor.  Enter this recipe for Arugula White Bean Dip by Maggie Verderame, founder of Kids Do Yoga located at The District at Green Valley Ranch.  My friend Elizabeth forwarded me the recipe knowing how much E and R love bean dip because the inclusion of arugula is a great way to include more greens in their diet.  We enjoyed it so much I e-mailed Maggie for permission to feature it here and she was happy to!

The recipe is really open to customization – different beans or different greens – but it is creamiest with white beans.  When I made it with garbanzo beans it wasn’t as smooth but a little olive oil or Sun Butter helps.  I have it in my head to try it with spinach and artichoke at some point soon!  In the version I photographed I doubled the lemon and the beans to make a more substantial portion and added extra garlic so it is truly flexible.  The best recipes give you a new idea in the kitchen that you can experiment with and this is a great example – I would have never considered doing a cooked bean dip before now.

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Arugula-White Bean Dip by Maggie Verderame (photos by Homa Woodrum)

Maggie Verderame is a mother, a yoga teacher, a singer-songwriter, a writer, and a vegetarian home-cook. Through her Kids Do Yoga™ program, Maggie writes the blog, ‘Mindful Mommy Moments’ where she offers observations in yoga with children, mindful parenting, and kid-friendly vegetarian recipes.  Please visit www.Kids-Do-Yoga.com for more information.

Supplies

Cutting board, knife

Food processor or blender

Bowl/sealable container

Ingredients

2-3 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Large Yellow Onion, coarsely diced

1 tsp Crushed Garlic

5 oz. Fresh Arugula (Trader Joe’s has the best prices as of writing this)

1, 15 oz Can of White Northern / Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1/2 a Lemon

Sea Salt

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low flame/heat.  Add onions and garlic to oil once it is warm and thinning. Cook until softened. Add arugula one handful at a time and toss with the onion mixture to coat with oil. As each handful of arugula wilts, add another and gently toss until all 5 ounces has been cooked down.

Then add the beans and lemon juice. Mix gently until combined and beans are warmed. Turn off heat. Transfer hot bean
mixture to a blender or food processor and puree, adding about 2 more tablespoons of oil as needed to assist with the blending.

Mixture should be thick and creamy, somewhat like hummus. Transfer to a bowl or storage container and add salt to taste.  Cover mixture and let it sit at room temperature for at least a half hour before refrigerating or serving.

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In Maggie’s original recipe she suggests serving the dip as a crostini topper.  If you have an allergen free bread you love, I think it would be great but I served it with potato chips above and below I actually ate some still warm with a lunchtime batch of yukon gold potato hash browns.  I like this photo because you can see R’s little fingers trying to pull the plate to himself.  He also likes to point at the food I’m photographing as if he is showcasing it.

The flavors do develop more the next day but I really like it both fresh and chilled.  Thank you again, Maggie for letting me share this – it is a great recipe for food allergy families for whom beans are safe.  I actually just finished up this particular batch while typing up this post, let me know in the comments if you try this recipe out!

(Shared on the 4/6/12 Allergy Friendly Friday link up at CybelePascal.com, click through for great allergy friendly recipes!)

Vegan Split Pea Khoresht Recipe

What do you think of a recipe that begins with making french fries?  You’ll want to make extra to account for the snacking you’ll do while cooking everything else.  In fact, the day I photographed this I made fries with our lunch and prepared the khoresht for dinner.  Khoresht is pretty much a term to encompass anything you’re making as a sauce or stew to serve with rice.  Like  lot of Persian cooking there are many steps but when you are in a food allergy household long cooking times stop being as big of an issue when you’re faced with the prospect of a new(ish) mix of the usual suspects: potatoes and rice.  You can’t sub frozen fries here because I’ve tried, in the interest of shortcuts, and it just wasn’t the same.

See here for how to make Persian Rice (just make the white rice, omit the steps with the lima bean mixture).  You could probably just serve this with your favorite style of rice if you prefer.

Supplies

Measuring cups

Knives, peelers, cutting board

Large pan for frying and large saucepan for the split peas

Bowls

Ingredients

2 cups of dried split peas, rinsed and drained (you can soak these overnight if you like or start them dry)

2 very large russet potatoes (peeled and sliced into fries, soaked in hot tap water in a bowl for 10 minutes, then drained and patted dry)

11 large white mushrooms, sliced (you can use an egg slicer for this, here is my favorite that can handle mushrooms: (amazon affiliate link))

1 1/4 cups canola oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 large onion, minced

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

Salt to taste on the fries

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried parsley

3 cups of vegetable broth (I use a tomato free version)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Take your rinsed 2 cups of split peas and put them into 9 cups of boiling water.  You’ll want to skim the foam that comes to the top because you don’t want your pot to boil over.  I believe it is just denatured protein coming off the split peas.  Boil them until they are pretty much falling apart, from dried split peas without soaking this took 45 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Wipe the pot you used to boil them, you’ll be making the khoresht in that pot.

While your split peas are cooking, prepare your russets for frying (you’ll also want to peel and slice your potatoes for tahdig if you’re making persian rice as mentioned above, you can also rinse and soak your rice right now, it just needs to soak for two hours at a minimum).  Soak them in hot tap water for ten minutes, this is a tip from Cook’s Illustrated to get them crispy when they are cooked.  Drain them and pat them dry.  You’ll want to heat your oil on high and when the oil is hot you’ll add one layer of potatoes.  Watch them, I start with high heat and then adjust one setting lower (on my electric stove) so they don’t burn or cook too quickly.  It takes some practice to get them how you want them.  When they are nicely golden, put them on some paper towels in a dish to cool, add salt while they’re still hot.  A sprinkling will do.  Continue until all your fries are made.

Now, remember the saucepan you wiped down?  Heat it on medium high and swirl your tablespoon of olive oil around, add your minced onion and cook for a few minutes until they are soft.  Now add your garlic and splices (turmeric, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley) and stir to coat.  After a minute or two, add your sliced mushrooms.  I read in Martha Stewart Living that you don’t want to stir mushrooms too much while they cook or they release their juices and don’t brown.  So don’t stir too often but no big deal if you do.  If things get sticky on the bottom of the pan, feel free to deglaze with a bit of water.  Cook on medium now for 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked.  Add your fries, if you think you’ve made too many, hold off on putting them all in and see how the pan fills with your other ingredients first.  Now add your split peas, broth, and lemon juice, stir and bring to a simmer and adjust the heat so it simmers steadily.  I put a lid slightly off kilter on the pot and reduce to low.  Now let it simmer, stirring from time to time, for 2 hours.  I told you this was a long one!

You can make this the day before and it will be great, an hour before you’re ready to serve, get your rice going (if you’re making persian rice as linked to above) and you’ll see that this sauce gets nice and thick.  I know the pictures make all the beautiful fries look like they are hidden but the flavor is all there and the russets help thicken your sauce.  My mom makes this with dried lemon and tomato in it as well but she helped me adapt this because we’ve been mostly tomato free because of R’s allergy.

Tomato Salsa Recipe

(Linked to CybelePascal.com’s Allergy Friendly Friday 8/19/11, click through for other recipes!)

So I can’t eat this anymore at the moment, this photographed batch was actually still in the fridge when I realized R had issues with me eating tomatoes so I never got to finish it.  What I did have was yummy, though!  This isn’t a saucy salsa, it is a little more like a pico de gallo style.  Just good lime and cilantro flavors all mixed together.  I used to eat salsa for breakfast, is that weird?

Anyway, this is adapted from The New Best Recipe (amazon affiliate link) from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.  I actually discovered Cook’s Illustrated (amazon affiliate link) which is still a favorite book even with our dietary restrictions.  The original one is on page 25.  I love reading the story behind each recipe.  I didn’t have all their ingredients when I first made it so my version was then born (no tomato juice, no jalapeno, white onions instead of red, and a lot more of everything else).  E loves this, she will ask for salsa for breakfast, I wonder who she got that from?

Supplies

Cutting board, knife

Large bowl/sealable container (I love lock & locks (amazon affiliate link))

Ingredients

4 lbs. of ripe tomatoes (I used roma here but you can try other kinds)

1 1/2 white onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (I have tried bottled lime juice and it was not good)

Salt and pepper to taste (the best part is “checking” for the right amounts)

Directions

Some people like to seed their tomatoes but I love tomato seeds and since I leave out the tomato juice here I just chop the tomatoes small and toss them with the other ingredients.  It is good to let the flavors meld awhile but you can still enjoy this right away.  I shake the container around so everything is evenly mixed.  The salt will bring tomato juices out of the tomatoes which is nice.  Enjoy with potato chips or, if you can have corn, corn chips.

Potato chips are a staple snack at our house due to the lack of many other options but I have always eaten salsa with potato chips, even as a kid.

Slow Cooked Refried Beans Recipe

The first time I made this recipe I told the friend that shared it with me (I followed most of her suggested variations though I used more salt) that I felt empowered.  That may seem silly but every time I make something from scratch I feel better and better about the food I make for my family.  Do I mess up?  Often!  I think you have to keep trying though.

One of our “fast” food options is rice and beans so making refried beans from scratch kind of goes against the “fast” aspect of things but this is easy to throw together and you can freeze it so I think it is still a fast recipe.  You’ll need a slow cooker, something I thought as a vegetarian family we’d never get real use out of!  More photos here.

Supplies

Knife, cutting board

Slow Cooker

Sieve

Food Processor/Blender/Potato Masher

Ingredients

3 cups of rinsed dry pinto beans (no need to soak!) (about 1 lb. 3 oz.)

1 onion, quartered

4 ounce can of hatch chiles

5 cloves of minced garlic

4 teaspoons of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

9 to 10 cups of water (I do 10 because when you’re filling cups quickly under running water they don’t fill up entirely)

Fresh lime juice

Directions

Put the beans, onion, chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin in the slow cooker then add the 9 cups of water.  Stir, close the lid and set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours.  My friend remarked that hers takes only 4 or 5 hours on high and the recipe calls for 8 on high but my cooker only has a 6 hour high setting and it worked well.  You’ll need to add more water as needed, you don’t want too much to evaporate so maybe adjust your heat settings as needed as well.

The beans are so very good, you drain them and reserve the liquid.  I run mine through the food processor and add liquid until the consistency is as you like it.  I also add lime juice for flavor.  Now that we’ve made this a few times I can estimate you’ll get 3 pounds of beans if you run them all into the food processor but we’ve been reserving whole cooked beans to eat because they are so good that way.

I love that this is tomato free, flavorful, and much cheaper than canned beans.

Check out the other recipes on the 7/22 Allergy Friendly Friday at CybelePascal.com!  This week the theme is farmstand recipes so I was hesitant to include refried beans but I got the go ahead (on twitter) to post it.

Vegan Black and White Bean Mushroom Chili Recipe

This recipe is a variant of one I found during the great cookbook checkout phase of January 2010.  I reserved and checked out every single allergy or gluten free cookbook I could get my hands on at the library and searched for things that would be “safe” for us to eat.  Some I’m sure were great for someone but they were devoid of recipes that met my criteria.  Others had one gem, like “Gluten Free Sugar Free Cooking” by Susan O’Brien (amazon affiliate link).  On page 131 there is a recipe for bean and mushroom chili and I have had good luck adapting it into a good option to serve with rice or potatoes (the usual suspects in our household).

The first time I made this I worried it wouldn’t be thick enough so I added arrowroot powder (bad idea for lots of reasons, it is not a thickener I can make work for me without being gross texture wise, now I use potato flour to thicken but not for this recipe).  If you just trust the recipe a little bit you’ll see it has a nice thick consistency after you cook it long enough.  It stops being soupy and becomes more like a thick sauce.

Supplies

Large frying pan or saute pan (I use a 3 quart saute pan from all-clad, amazon affiliate link)

Knife, cutting board

Measuring spoons

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chile powder (sometimes I have chili, sometimes I have chile powder, I use them interchangeably though they are different)

1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds (I had never used them before this recipe but they’re worth seeking out)

1 large onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

12 ounces of mushrooms, sliced (I use an egg slicer sometimes to do this, E loves to help and you can see in the photos I posted earlier that you can just do it over the pan as you cook, amazon affiliate link)

1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 ounce can of white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 6 ounce can of tomato paste

1/2 cup water

3 cups vegetable broth

Fresh cilantro (to garnish, optional)

Directions

Heat your pan on medium and add your oil, it should shimmer before you add your spices.  This is different than my usual strategy for recipes, I normally fry my onions and then add spices but you want to add your mustard seeds, chile powder, cumin, and cardamom and when the mustard seeds start to make a popping sound you’ll add your onions.  Stir to coat them a little bit and then after a minute or two add your garlic and let that fry for a minute.  Now you’ll add your chopped mushrooms.  I like to give them two or three minutes to cook before adding the 1/2 cup of water but you may need to deglaze your pan at this point so if things look like they’re sticking, go ahead and add some of the water.  If you haven’t added the water you can add it after the mushrooms cook a little bit.  Now cover the pan and let everything cook while you prepare your other ingredients.  Check on the mushrooms periodically, you want to cook them for about 10 minutes.

Now add your beans, tomato paste, veggie broth, and tomato paste.  Stir everything and keep heating it on medium until it has  some simmering/bubbling going on and now reduce it to low and put the pan lid on slightly off kilter to allow some steam to escape.  Stir and check on it periodically but it should cook together and meld after at least 30 minutes.  It is different every time I make it.

This obviously needs salt but the beans still carry some saltiness and you can salt it when all is said and done.  You can use a mix of white and brown mushrooms or all white or all brown.  Both have been good with this but I think the brown mushrooms are more flavorful while the white mushrooms can be too chewy if not sliced thinly enough.  It is a pretty flexible recipe.

See more photos here, I used my rice recipe from here without the lima bean mixture and the fresh salsa?  I have pictures ready but have to type the recipe up soon!

(I shared this post at Allergy Friendly Friday 6/3/11 at CybelePascal.com)