You guys, if you knew me before I became a vegetarian last year, you probably would have never believed that I would eat something that contained both red lentils and cauliflower. In fact, I probably would have thrown up ON YOUR FACE if you had even suggested it.
But I eat this stuff like it’s going out of style and it’s delicious. We made it for our church today and a friend told me that it tasted like, “San Francisco” food. I’m guessing that’s a mighty fine compliment from someone who’s from California. I responded with, “Tubular! Thanks, dude.” (No, I didn’t.)
Anyway, this is an adapted recipe from the delicious, awesome cookbook Veganomicon, which I highly recommend if you’re even remotely interested in vegan/vegetarian cooking. I know there’s lots of recipes online, but there’s something about flipping through a cookbook and finding a great recipe.
Without further ado, I give you:
Cauliflower and Red Lentil Curry
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large chile pepper (jalapeno or Serrano or sometimes I use poblano)
- 1 half inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (Ginger is a highly under-used flavor in American cooking. It’s DELICIOUS!)
- 2 tsp curry powder (I use a lot more)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 ½ c red lentils (sometimes I use more)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1.5-2 lb cauliflower, trimmed and sliced into small florets (make sure you don’t hack your hand off in the process)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1.5 tsp salt
- Optional extras: pineapple, bell pepper, potato (?)
1. Have all the ingredients chopped and readily at hand. All of the ingredient chopping is the worst part of this recipe. You also have to put the ginger and spices in pretty quickly, so have those ready to go too.
2. In large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until tender and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the grated ginger and pepper (jalapeno, serrano, etc) and sauté for 1 minute. Add spices and briskly stir fry for 30 seconds.
3. Slowly pour in the veggie broth, then stir in the lentils. You pour in a little, stir it in, and then pour a little more. Patience, my friend, will be worth it. Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, boil for 1 minute, Give the mixture a stir, then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow the lentils to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. They should turn light yellow and look mushy. (YUM, MUSHY!)
4. Add the cauliflower florets, stirring to coat with the lentils. (Sometimes I have to add more liquid at this point). Partially cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. (If texture is an issue, you can scoop about a third and blend it in a blender before pouring it back in. This, for some reason, makes it more palatable to me.)
5. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Allow the curry to sit, covered for a bout 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld and the mixture to cool slightly.
Serve with: jasmine rice, brown rice, couscous, or quinoa. This makes EXCELLENT leftovers and after you make it the first time, you get the hang of it and you can make large batches.
Yes I can attest to the fact that in high school Beth ate “cheesy rice” and that was about it. The fact that she eats vegetables at all astounds me.