I really like eating vegetarian lunches, to cut down on my meat consumption, and also because most vegetarian meals are high in fiber and low in calories. This usually means that I cook a big pot of something over the weekend that I eat for lunch all week. It might sound like a lot of work, but when you tend to forget to eat lunch until you’re starving past the point of thinking straight (cough), it’s really nice to know exactly what you can eat to fix that calorie deficit, pronto.
Andrea’s Lunch Dish is also handy for getting my fix of foods that the rest of my family doesn’t much like. The kids aren’t about to start eating spicy Thai red curry anytime soon, and it would just be a misery for us all if I asked them to. So last week, my pot-of-lunch was a cauliflower and rutabaga curry, over wilted spinach and quinoa. A friend mentioned wanting the “recipe” and voila! a blog post is born.
This dish is dead simple, if you have the ingredients handy. I started with 1 whole cauliflower, cut into florets, and 3 rutabagas, peeled and cubed to about a 1/2 inch size. I minced up about half a small onion and sauteed it in about a 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, until it was soft. Then I tossed in the cauliflower and rutabaga and sauteed on medium for about 5-10 minutes, until it was starting to soften. Then I tossed in about a tablespoon of red curry paste — Taste of Thai is easy to find at most grocery stores, but that’s an affiliate link if you need to mail-order; it keeps forever and is very versatile — and move that around for a while in the pan to try to coat the veggies with the paste. This is just to avoid having big chunks of curry paste hiding in the dish, ouch. You can use more or less curry paste, depending on your heat preference. 🙂
Once the paste has kind of melted around the veggies, toss a can of coconut milk on top — can be light or full-fat coconut milk, as you prefer (I prefer regular coconut milk; the light version tastes thin to me), and mix it all up. Simmer until the veggies are tender. Hopefully the veg was mostly cooked before you threw the coconut milk on, but if you underestimated and you need to simmer it for 20 minutes longer, that’s fine. When the veg is soft enough for you, take the whole thing off the heat. I let it cool on the stove for an hour or two before I put it in the fridge, to keep my fridge from having to work too hard.
I happened to also make a big pot of quinoa on Monday of the week that I was eating this, so this week I ate the curry over that. But it could have been nearly any kind of starch — rice, noodles, etc. When it was lunch time next, I just put a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach on about 3/4 cup of cold quinoa, and microwaved that for about 2m to wilt the spinach. then spooned about a cup of curried vegetables with sauce on top of that, and then microwaved another 2m or so until hot. Toss some chopped cilantro on top if you want to be SUPER fancy.
You can make this same kind of curry with practically any vegetable. Cubed butternut squash with broccoli, cauliflower with potato, rainbow carrots and kale, japanese eggplant and snap peas maybe. If you keep a few cans of coconut milk in the pantry and curry paste in the fridge, you also have the base ingredients for a delicious coconut curry soup made from pureed squash, potato, cauliflower whatever. Many yummy dishes await you! Enjoy.