Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry
Okay yes, it's the first day of summer and I'm posting a warm curry dish. But it's too good not to share, and the truth is, we eat warm, nourishing dinners all year long.
1. My husband grew up eating piping hot food at dinnertime, and can't stand a cold meal in the evening. It took me a good year to get him to go out for sushi on a Saturday night - and we always have to start with miso soup and dumplings to make sure he's getting something warm.
2. Eating cooked food late in the day is easier for our bodies process. As we approach bedtime and the sun starts to set, our metabolism and digestion naturally start to slow. Which means we don't have the enzymes and stomach acid available to break down lots of roughage and heaps of food. So salads for lunch and cooked vegetables + grains at dinner is how we generally roll. We also keep dinner portions relatively small for the same reason. The last thing anyone needs is food sitting undigested in their stomach before hitting the sheets. Practicing this habit alone can help you sleep better and decrease symptoms of acid reflux - a common problem for most of my clients.
So that brings me to this delicious Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry. I love that it's hearty and light at the same time. The ginger and spices aid digestion, and red lentils are one of the easiest legumes for our bellies to break down.
Happy Summer! And be sure to let me know if you make this dish over on Instagram #erinparekh.
Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry
Serves 2-3 as a main (doubles easily)
1 Tbs. avocado or coconut oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 medium yellow onion (or 1 shallot), finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-inch ginger root, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red lentils (option to soak for 6-8 hours, then drain)
1/2 head cauliflower
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: 2 large handfuls spinach or kale
Cilantro + Lemon wedges (for serving)
Add oil and cumin seeds to a Dutch oven (or other pot with lid) and bring to medium heat. Let cumin seeds toast in the oil until fragrant and starting to pop (1-2 minutes). Add onion plus a pinch of salt and cook until translucent and starting to brown, 5-8 minutes, then add garlic, ginger, and carrot. Sauté several minutes more. Add spices and cook for 60 seconds until fragrant. Next layer in tomato paste plus a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes more.
Add in vegetable broth, red lentils, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes before adding heat cauliflower florets. Cook an additional 20 minutes until cauliflower is just tender - adding more broth / water as needed. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
For an optional serving of greens, wilt in several large handfuls of baby spinach or kale 5 minutes before you want to eat.
Serve hot and finish with a big squeeze of lemon and chopped cilantro over the top.
This dish holds well and reheats beautifully. Leftovers keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Note: If you can't find or don't have cumin seeds, use 1/4 tsp. cumin powder when you add the other spices.