Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)

photo of kabocha squash-red lentil curry in white bowl on purple placemat on the dinner table

Community cookoffs are a delicious way to bring people together!

It’s almost time again for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) Annual Community Cookoff! This year’s theme is “Oodles of Noodles” and will be held on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 2-4 pm at the Brew & Brew. It will be a celebration of carbs and the recipes of many chefs working hard to please your palate!

This year’s cookoff motivated me to post about last year’s AFBA 2017 Collossal Curry Cookoff. As a brand new member of the AFBA, I decided to enter my Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry in the cookoff. I was a bit scared, but I thought it would be a good way to meet my fellow AFBA members and showcase the type of food that I cook.

Curries don’t have to be hot to be flavorful, aromatic, and delicious!

I was excited for people to try my vegan curry which was not at all hot and spicy. I wanted to make the curry flavorful (with sweet kabocha squash, fennel, sweet potato, and curry leaves) and spicy rather than hot (with ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon). I also used red lentils to give the curry great body, flavor, and texture. Yum!

fresh ginger and bowl of spices for Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry

Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrot, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 fronds fresh curry leaves, chiffonade or 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup sweet potato, small dice
  • 1 cup fennel bulb, small dice
  • 2 cups kabocha or butternut squash, small dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups filtered or spring water
  • 1 teaspoon tamari, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar, or to taste (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • lemon or lime wedges, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Rinse red lentils several times and soak in a bowl with water for about an hour.
  2. Heat heavy-bottomed soup pot on medium heat. When hot, add coconut oil, onion, and pinch of sea salt. Sauté on medium heat until soft.
  3. Add the carrot, celery, curry leaves or bay leaf, ginger, and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir in powdered spices.
  4. Add the chopped sweet potato, fennel, squash, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes.
  5. Drain red lentils and add them to the vegetable sauté. Add water, bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in coconut milk. Season with tamari and ume vinegar (or sea salt). Heat until simmering.
  7. Add fresh herbs and turn off heat.
  8. Serve on top of rice with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

3rd place finish!

After a few hours of curry tasting and ballot casting, I was thrilled to get a 3rd place finish, and went home with various gift cards and goodies from local businesses. It ended up being such a fun day!

I hope you’ll try making this recipe when you are in the mood for something sweet, savory, and nourishing. It is delicious with basmati rice and a crisp green side salad. I also add baby spinach when warming up leftovers to give it some freshness.

Sign up for this year’s cookoff!

And by the way, get your tickets here for the 2018 AFBA Oodles of Noodles cookoff on September 23rd. It will be an experience to remember!

Please let me know if you’d like to chat about on-demand cooking lessons, corporate team building, dinner parties, or yoga retreat catering.

Indian Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry

This dish is typically made with tomatoes and chili peppers, but has been made nightshade-free using butternut squash and umeboshi vinegar in place of tomatoes.  It is still wonderfully flavorful with the unique blend of fresh and dried spices, including anti-inflammatory turmeric. My family made this last night in a hurry, thanks to having half a cauliflower already cut into florets in the refrigerator. It makes enough for leftovers that are very tasty too!

Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1½ cups frozen green peas
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced and halved
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground coriander
  • ½ tablespoon mango powder
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • seeds of 2 cardamom pods
  • ¾ cup cashew cream or coconut milk
  • 1½ cups butternut squash puree
  • 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the cauliflower florets and peas in boiling water until tender. Drain.
  2. Saute onion, garlic, and ginger in safflower oil or ghee until soft and golden.
  3. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, tumeric, garam masala, coriander, mango powder, agave nectar, cardamom seeds, and cashew cream or coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add butternut squash puree and umeboshi vinegar and simmer 3-4 minutes. Add cauliflower and peas and simmer a few minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt as needed.
  4. Serve with rice.