There’s so much goodness in a spicy, vegetable and plant protein filled curry. By plant protein I mean plant foods that provide a wonderful source of protein such as beans (kidney, borlotti, cannellini..), lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, other pulses for example split peas and certain grains such as quinoa and buckwheat. While including these things isn’t a must, they do provide lovely texture, flavour, nourishment and heartiness to a curry so are a really nice addition.
Plant protein not only helps to keep us feeling satisfied but is also extremely beneficial for our health including our heart health, gut health and fertility health. While animal sources (such as red meat and chicken) provide fantastic protein, research shows that including sources of plant protein (as opposed to not including any at all) can help to optimize fertility. Sources of plant protein also provide many other wonderful things including energy, fibre, vitamins and minerals so are really worth enjoying on a regular basis.
I will add too that meals don’t have to be ‘full’ of these things. Just adding small to moderate amounts here and there, enjoying them in different ways, enables you to reap the benefits.
Also, if you don’t often cook with beans, lentils or other pulses or are not a real lover of them don’t worry at all, trying small amounts is a great place to start. It could be adding a small tin of lentils to a soup or a handful (or even half a handful) of roasted chickpeas to a salad. If you’re trying them in tasty ways you may begin to love them anyway. This is something I’ve certainly noticed when clients have started cooking more with beans and lentils. Both tinned and dried pulses make great pantry staples. They’re easy to store and easy to cook with.
To provide an example, this recipe is a particularly easy way to enjoy more chickpeas. I’ve used tinned chickpeas however I do highly recommend pre-soaking and cooking your own dried chickpeas.. if you have the time. Dried chickpeas when pre-soaked and cooked do taste that bit better.
Not only is this recipe easy to follow it’s also adaptable, allowing you to use vegetables that you have or like. Included are several other ingredient suggestions as well which you may like to try such as cashews and chopped dates.
With rice, quinoa and/or flat bread a wholesome homemade vegetable curry is such a feel good meal. Adding a spoonful of mango or lime chutney and/or shredded coconut coated sliced banana I must say is totally divine so do recommend this too. During winter, vegetable curry is something I make quite often, using and array of fresh vegetables and sometimes frozen too. Occasionally we’ll have some white flesh fish or chicken with a spicy vegetable curry.. I’ll lightly poach the fish or chicken in the curry sauce. This is usually because I have fish or chicken that needs to be used, or just because I (or we) feel like.
I’ve had bowls of this curry on it’s own for lunch, with rice or bread, and sometimes with a boiled egg too.
Preparation time: ~20mins
Cooking time: ~ 25-30mins
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
- Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 Tbsp. coriander powder
- 2 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 fresh chillies, chopped (optional, you can also just use one or none)
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 2-3 cups boiling water (1 cup to dissolve stock cube, plus 1-2 extra cups)
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (or use the same amount of soaked and pre-cooked dried chickpeas)
- 1 cup coconut milk (a 200ml can)
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Fresh coriander to serve
- ~4 cups chopped root vegetables (I used 1/8 of a medium sized Jap pumpkin, 2 parsnips & 3 carrots. You could also use sweet potato, turnip, swede, potato.. )
- ~4 cups other colourful vegetables/leafy greens (I used 1/2 a cauliflower chopped into florets, 1/2 a broccoli head chopped into florets & 1/2 a bunch of silverbeet. You could also use sprouts, green beans, spinach, peas.. )
Other ingredient suggestions:
- Chopped dates (these add such a nice sweetness)
- Raw or roasted cashews
- Other beans or lentils (in addition to or instead of the chickpeas)
- Fresh coriander, stirred through at the end (so nice!)
- In a large saucepan, lightly sauté the onion and garlic (in a nice splash of olive oil) until just translucent, on low heat. Then add ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin and chilli, stir and fry for about 30 seconds.
- Add your chopped root vegetables and fry just to coat them in the spice.
- Add chopped tomatoes, cinnamon stick and your cup of stock (dissolve stock cube in a cup of boiling water), plus an extra cup of water, stir and allow to simmer on medium heat for 10-15mins, stirring occasionally.
- Once the root vegetables begin to soften (check after 10mins), add your other vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, greens), stir in and simmer for an extra 5mins. If at this point your curry needs more liquid then add another cup of boiling water.
- Then add chickpeas, coconut milk and lime juice and zest, stir and simmer on low for another 5mins.
- Serve with rice, quinoa, another grain of choice and/or just lovely flat bread, and top with fresh coriander.