Recipe: Super easy plant-based slow cooker curry

Fast and delicious recipes are the best recipes. When they are also 100% plant-based (how I try to eat as often as possible thanks to the amazing health/planet benefits) and pretty darn cheap… I’m sold. This is one such recipe dear reader.

There’s minimal prep (just a bit of chopping and a bit of sautéing) and it’s basically built out of pantry ingredients you already have, together with whatever veggies you need to use up or your particular faves. It’s a no brainer, but where possible – organic locally-grown produce is the healthiest choice. In Dubai I adore Ripe Market and the Ripe shop for reasonably priced, locally-grown organic fruits and veggies and I also shop in Spinneys. My advice is to take care to note where your vegetables are traveling from and buy organic and local(ish) were possible. Spinneys have some great organic options, although I prefer to buy whole vegetables over the pre-chopped and plastic-packaged ones they sometimes offer as much as possible, since veggies will have lost a lot of nutrients in that chopping and packaging process.

This is a great meal to start in your slow cooker around midday – just in time for a 6pm dinner. If you don’t have a slow cooker, or prefer a conventional hob cooking method, you can easily do that too – I assume it would take around 1.5 hour total: prep and cooking time.

This recipe makes enough for 4. The curry will also freeze really well for future meal prep (but don’t freeze your side grain – brown rice or quinoa etc. Just make that fresh when needed). It’s worth noting that I don’t really see this as a “switch on the slow cooker and disappear for 6 hours” type recipe. I think my final curry really benefitted from some TLC a few times throughout the process – when I checked on it (3x total in 6 hours): I stirred it, I tasted it and added more seasoning. You also need to add the plum tomatoes half way through cooking time. However, this is still the most convenient, fast and delicious meal – and I think the slow cooker is the best method for cooking this as it really lets the spices and ingredients slowly jam together. Yum.

INGREDIENTS

–Your preferred oil for sautéing (mine is olive oil)

–1 medium brown or white organic onion, diced

–Finest sea salt flakes you can find

–3 organic garlic cloves, peeled + crushed

–Thumb-sized piece of fresh organic ginger, peeled + grated

–1 tablespoon of organic cumin

–1 tablespoon of organic ground coriander

–1 teaspoon of organic turmeric

–1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper

–1 can of organic diced tomatoes

–1 can of organic plum tomatoes

–1 can of organic full fat coconut milk

–Your organic vegetable selection (I used 2 carrots, 1 aubergine and 1 courgette) nicely chopped up (other ideas: sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, squash, pumpkin, potato etc)

–1 cup of dried lentils (whatever your preference – you can also substitute this for beans or chickpeas if you prefer)

–Brown rice, quinoa or your grain of preference to serve with

METHOD

  1. Heat a pan on the hob, set to medium heat, with a drizzle of your oil. Add the onion and a big pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are soft and fragrant. Stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger to the onion mixture. Sauté for a further 2-3 minutes.
  3. Now add the following spices to the garlic, ginger + onion: 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  4. Stir everything together really well for a minute or two before transferring the contents of your pan to the slow cooker.
  5. Note: If you’re not using a slow cooker, at this point you’d transfer the mixture to a big saucepan and add everything together from the below. Simmering for the acquired cooking time (just keep an eye on it, and keep tasting and stirring and you can’t really go wrong.)
  6. Set your slow cooker to ‘low’ and the curry will be ready in 5-6 hours. Set it to ‘high’ and it will take 2-3 hours.
  7. Add your organic chopped tomatoes can to the slow cooker (Note: Not the plum tomatoes, they are added later!)
  8. Add your cut up veggie assortment.
  9. Add your 1 cup of dried lentils.
  10. Add your can of organic full fat coconut milk.
  11. Give everything a really good stir, for around 2-3 minutes. Season well with salt (and pepper if you like). Before putting the lid on and letting the slow cooker work its magic.
  12. Half way through your cooking time (about 2-3 hours in if using low setting or 1-2 hours in if using high setting) add your can of plum tomatoes. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
  13. Important Note: As often as you can, check on your curry. Stir it. Taste test it to see if it needs more seasoning and give it some TLC. I stirred mine on three different occasions over the course of 5-6 hours and added a bit more salt each time.
  14. When the curry is cooked and ready, turn the slow cooker off and remove the lid from the pot. Allow it to sit like this whilst you prepare your side grain, so it cools down enough to enjoy immediately.
  15. Prepare your desired grain. Serve. Enjoy!
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