Vegetarian-in-a-Bowl

I was looking to clean out my pantry and use up some veggies that I’ve had in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and put together this recipe.  I was craving Indian/Middle Eastern flavors (which you know I love) and put this together.  While I listed the exact ingredients I used below, you can substitute olive oil for the sesame and you can use any starch other than potato (perhaps a sweet potato or maybe a rutabaga).  I had only baby spinach, but I think kale would also be nice in this.

This is a relatively healthy dish, the only fat is in the oil, which is minimal.  The rest of the dish is vegetarian, and in fact vegan.  Adjust the spices as you like.

I served it over some whole-grain couscous for a nice meal.  Although this ideally serves two people, it is probably enough for three, as I had it for dinner, then again for lunch the next two days.

Indian Chickpea Bowl

(serves 2)

  • 1/2 onion, diced,
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (other oil may be substituted)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • One 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 small red potato (sweet potato or rutabaga can be substituted), diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced or diced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 8 oz baby spinach

Saute the onion in the oil on medium-high heat for 2 minutes.  Add the ginger and saute for another minute and then add garlic. Sprinkle the salt while cooking.

Add the can of chickpeas (including the liquid), carrots, diced potato, tomato paste and spices. Bring to a low boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the greens, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.

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“Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Curry (a.k.a., Thai Vegetable Curry)

There are occasions when I tend to get carried away in the produce section of the grocery store. I’m a sucker when I see beautifully arranged produce and will grab whatever looks good, which is sometimes lots.  I tend to get ambitious, thinking “Oh, with this, I will make X!”. When I get home, however, sometimes I leave my ambitions at the door.  The veggies will sit in the fridge for a while.  Oh sure, I will give them a glance whenever I open the refrigerator door and think, “Oh yeah, I need to do something with that.”

Well, the other day, I had had enough. I was tired of sneaking glances at the remaining cauliflower head I had purchased almost a month ago. And I felt guilty when I would try to ignore the beautiful yellow Daisy squash that I bought two weeks ago. If I didn’t use the veggies soon, they’d end up being frozen for the next batch of stock that I would make at some point in the future, or worse, tossed in the trash. *Gasp!*  So, what better way to use all these veggies at once than to make a yummy curry?

The word “curry” is derived from an Indian word for “sauce.”. It’s a generic description of many different dishes from Southeast Asia, including but not limited to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

One common thread in many curry powder mixtures is turmeric, which gives curries a distinctive color. Other spices in curry powder tend to include coriander, ginger, garlic, chiles, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin and tamarind.  The main types of curry you might encounter in an Indian or Thai restaurant are red, yellow, and green curry. Red curry is made with red chiles, while green curry is made with green chiles. Yellow curry is made mostly with turmeric and cumin, though it may include hot peppers or pepper flakes also.

Curry paste, which is what is used in the recipe here, is a moist blend of many of the above ground herbs and spices.

This recipe can be served over steamed jasmine or brown rice.  Rice noodles would be good too.  Be creative and use whatever vegetables you may have — the recipe here lists what I had in my fridge.  The amount of curry paste listed is not aggressive and can be altered to your liking. 

This curry is totally healthy as well, with the only fat coming from the olive oil (healthy fat) and the coconut milk.  I used light coconut milk, which tends to be a little more watery than the regular version.  You can, however, thicken the sauce at the end with a little bit of cornstarch.  I served it over brown rice.

Thai Vegetable Curry

(serves 4)

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 head of fresh cauliflower, cut into little florets
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced into semicircles
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into semicircles
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, any type, sliced
  • 1 small red bliss potato, diced
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1.5 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk (regular or light is fine)

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Cook the onion until soft.  Add garlic and cook until both begin to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Mix the curry paste with 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk. Add the paste mixture, remaining coconut milk and fish/soy sauce to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add the all of the veggies except the mushrooms, which tend to cook very fast. Simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  About 10 minutes from the finish, add the mushrooms in and stir until finished.  Serve with jasmine or brown rice.

If you wish to make a thicker sauce, then continue reading:

After the vegetables are cooked and soft, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Mix about 1 tsp of cornstarch with a little bit of water. Add to the sauce, bring to a boil, stirring until thickened.  Add the vegetables back in and serve.

The finished dish