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)
 
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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.

Shaved Carrot, Radish, and Green Apple Salad with Lemon and Fresh Mint

Try this light and refreshing shaved salad as a side to almost any meal. Radishes are good at dissolving fat, while green apple and lemon have the sour taste that is cleansing for the liver and gall bladder. The mint garnish gives it a super fresh taste!

Shaved Carrot, Daikon, and Green Apple Salad with Lemon and Fresh Mint
 
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Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 daikon radish or 1 bunch red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed and peeled into wide strips
  • a few pinches sea salt
  • 1 green apple, cored, cut into quarters, then thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar (optional)
  • ½ lemon, sliced into thin quarter moons
  • handful fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
Instructions
  1. Place daikon and carrot into a large bowl. Massage sea salt into vegetables for a minute or two, until vegetables are shiny.
  2. Add green apple, lemon juice, and umeboshi vinegar (if using). Toss to coat the entire salad.
  3. Plate salad with sliced lemon and fresh mint leaf slivers.
Note
  1. Umeboshi vinegar will add a salty, sour taste to the salad.
Variation
  1. Add ½ bulb fresh fennel, cored and thinly sliced.

 

 

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing

Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew-Dill Dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed, spun, and chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced (or 1 cup grape tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • ¾ kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced
Dressing
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • ½ cup spring or filtered water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt, to taste
Instructions
Salad
  1. Place greens onto a platter or individual salad bowls. Decorate greens with tomato slices, cucumber slices, olives, and red onion.
Dressing
  1. Drain cashews and discard soaking water.
  2. Blend cashews in blender or VitaMix with water, garlic, scallions, lemon juice, and umeboshi vinegar until smooth.
  3. With blender on low speed, add in olive oil and blend until incorporated.
  4. Add dill, mint, and oregano and blend on low for a few seconds.
  5. Add a pinch or two of sea salt, if needed, to balance flavors.
  6. Pour dressing into a bowl or creamer to serve alongside salad.
Variation
  1. Serve with goat feta or homemade tofu feta cheese on the side.

 

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley

Although it takes more effort to cook your own beans from scratch, the result is well worth it. I recommend soaking 2-3 cups of dry chickpeas so that you can use some of them in this recipe (about 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas) and you will have plenty leftover to use in soup, for snacks, or to sprinkle on salads. This recipe uses olive oil rather than tahini (sesame butter). The result is a lighter more Mediterranean style hummus.

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • spring or filtered water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-inch piece of kombu
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • New Mexico chili powder, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Rinse chickpeas and place in glass bowl. Cover with water about 1-1/2 inches above the chickpeas and soak 6-8 hours.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with enough fresh water to cover 2 inches above the beans.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes uncovered. Skim off foam that collects on the surface.
  4. Add garlic and kombu. Place lid on the pressure cooker and allow to come up to pressure.Turn heat down to low, and cook chickpeas for 18 minutes.
  5. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Once the lid can be removed, add sea salt and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.
  6. Strain chickpeas and garlic (reserving cooking liquid) and place in food processor.
  7. Place lemon juice, lemon zest, and umeboshi vinegar in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  8. Add olive oil and blend again until smooth.
  9. Adjust thickness by gradually adding some of the cooking liquid (if needed).
  10. Adjust seasonings (add more lemon juice or sea salt if needed).
  11. Add parsley and pulse food processor just to combine.
  12. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and a few sprinkles of chile powder before serving.
Variations
  1. Boil chickpeas in a heavy bottomed pot instead of pressure cooking. Cooking time may take more than an hour for chickpeas to become soft before adding sea salt.
  2. Use tahini (sesame butter) in place of olive oil.