Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Lentils are cheap, versatile, comforting & good for you.   These can be made thick & served over a grain (like Basmati rice) or made a bit thinner & served as a soup.  They freeze well, too, so why not make a fuckton – like I did – and freeze a bunch for lazy days in the future?

I used sweet basil from Bangluck Thai market in Hollywood but hot basil or regular basil will do.  Were I to make this again – I would double the basil quantity.  I used a small amount of coconut milk in this so keep it lighter & less fattening but more coconut milk would make this creamier & yummier.  I also used a combination of lentils & dal & mung beans – seen below.  You can use all one kind or any combo you have handy.

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Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils

Makes a large pot full

INGREDIENTS

Coconut oil

5 cups lentils (or dal or mung beans)

1 onion – diced

2 jalapenos – chopped (optional)

1-8 garlic cloves (to taste) – minced

1-2 TBS minced ginger

5 ounces (or more) coconut milk (a 15 oz can would not be too much – I just kept it light)

2 TBS rice vinegar

6 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

8 or more cups vegetable stock

1-2 cups fresh basil

GARNISH – cooked rice & more basil

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DIRECTIONS

Melt 1 or more TBS of coconut oil (or other cooking oil) in a large stock pot.  Add the onions & jalapenos & saute until soft.  Stir in the garlic & ginger for a minute & then add everything else – (except the fresh basil) – starting with only about 6 cups of the stock.  Bring to a boil & reduced heat to low.  Cover & simmer for 30-60 minutes or until your lentils are soft.  I used & immersion blender & mashed about 25% of the lentils.  Not necessary.  Add more stock for a thinner dish or a soup.  Heat it down if it is too thin.

Stir in the fresh basil & serve with additional basil as garnish.  Serve as it is or over cooked rice.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This might – honestly – be the most delicious soup I have ever made and it is as easy as can be.  If you have a blender, food processor or immersion blender – you can wow the fuck out of your friends with this glorious, autumnal, light & healthy, rich & creamy soup!  I used all the random veggies that I had wilting in my vegetable bins.  You can add or subtract ingredients but I gotta say – this baby is kinda perfect!  Very little added oil & chock full of veggie nutrients.  The Coconut- ginger cream is certainly optional but it adds a nice level.  The pistachios & pomegranate were for texture & color – but they can go with little impact on this soup.  If you are not vegan – stirring in a little goat cheese might be a nice touch.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sweet potatoes – sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

3 bell peppers – halved & seeded

1/2 onion (or a leek or some shallots) – peeled & cut in half

10 small carrots – ends trimmed

1 jalapeno (optional)

1 TBS fresh lemon juice (optional)

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp red (or other) curry powder (or curry paste)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne

Several fresh thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp dry thyme)

4 cups vegetable stock

olive oil (or coconut or other oil)

S&P

Garnish – pistachios and pomegranate seeds (optional)

for the coconut-ginger cream

5.5 ounces coconut milk

1-3 TBS minced ginger (I used a squeezable kind) – or to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the vegetables in a bit of olive oil & spread in a single layer on cooking sheets (covered with either foil sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper).  Salt & pepper liberally.  Cook for about 30+ minutes or until the veggies are soft.  Some might need to come out earlier than others.  I cooked an extra sweet potato to put in my dogs’ food tonight.  They LOVE sweet potatoes.  The bell peppers should blacken a little bit.  When the peppers are done – either put them in a tightly-closed container or wrap them in foil to cool a bit.  This will make them sweat & the skins should peel off nicely under running water.  Do not worry if all the skin does not come off.

Meanwhile – combine the coconut milk & ginger – adding ginger in increments – until it tastes good to you.  Set aside.

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Once you can handle the veggies (not the sweet potatoes) – chop them a little bit.  Seed the jalapeno to make it less spicy.  I used the seeds.

Heat a little olive oil in a large stock pot & add the chopped veggies & sweet potato and garlic.  Stir to combine & then add stock & spices.  Squeeze in about a TBS lemon juice.  Bring to a boil & turn off heat.

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Puree the soup in batches or with an immersion blender.  I added about 1-2 cups of water to thin it enough to puree in the blender.  Season with S&P.

Serve garnished with coconut-ginger cream, pistachios & pomegranate seeds.

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Vegan Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Vegetables & Split Lentils for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Slow cooker recipes.  Is anything better than just dumping a bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker, going away for hours and then coming home to dinner – warm & waiting?  I think not!

I used yellow split lentils or urad dal – but any variety of lentils will work just fine.  I added a ton of random vegetables – because I had them.  You can add or omit any veggies you like.

I had a big bag of English peas & some fresh spinach that were going to spoil before I could cook them – so – I froze them.

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It was about 2 cups of peas & make 4 cups of spinach but the spinach wilted in the freezer – down to about 4 cups.  If you use frozen veggies in yours – add them at the very end or they will just disintegrate.

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Vegan Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Vegetables & Split Lentils for the Slow Cooker

Makes a lot – likely enough to feed 6 well if served with rice

INGREDIENTS (very flexible)

2 cups lentils

2 potatoes – cubed

1 small onion – diced

1-4 cloves garlic – minced

1 small head cauliflower – cut into small florets

1-5 jalapenos – seeded & diced (use less or omit – if you do not like heat)

3-5 carrots – sliced

3 TBS ginger – minced

1 (5.5 oz) can coconut milk (use more for a richer curry)

3 TBS green curry paste

1 TBS garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp turmeric

6 cups vegetable stock

4 cups fresh spinach or 2 cups frozen

2 cups peas

S&P

GARNISH – hot sauce (like sriracha), cilantro & cooked rice (I used basmati)

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 DIRECTIONS

Put everything except peas, spinach & any frozen vegetables you might be using into the slow cooker.  If using anything frozen – all them to thaw.  Ignore my photos showing the spinach & peas being added with the other ingredients at the start.  They disintegrated & I had to add more of each at the end.  I also added the cauliflower after the curry had been cooking for hours – hence the different-looking imagery below.

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Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.  If it is too thick, add stock or water.  If it is too thin – cook a bit longer with the lid off – or mash some of the curry with a masher or immersion blender to create a thicker gravy.

15 minutes before serving – add peas, spinach & any frozen vegetables you selected.  Season with S&P.

Serve with rice & garnish with cilantro & hot sauce.

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Vegan Chicken Satay with Peanut & Coconut Sauce and Spicy Thai Red Curry & Coconut Cauliflower Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is another super-duper easy one.  The recipe for the Spicy Thai Red Curry & Coconut Cauliflower Rice (seen just above) is HERE.

I used a 12oz package of Beyond Meat chicken strips – because they are the best on the market.  If you cannot find them – use the brand available to you – preferably not breaded.

This recipe is really just for a marinade (not totally necessary) & for the peanut & coconut sauce.  You can whisk each together in bowls & heat the chicken in any pan on the stove.  So easy & REALLY delicious!

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Vegan Chicken Satay with Peanut & Coconut Sauce

Depends on the amount of “chicken” you use & appetites – but 1 or 2

INGREDIENTS

for the chicken satay

Beyond Meat chicken strips (or other vegan chicken) – in the quantity you require

Cooking oil or cooking spray

for the marinade (an optional step – you can skip the marinade if you want to but it does ratchet up the flavors)

2 garlic cloves – minced

2 shallots – minced

1-2 serrano or jalapeno peppers – minced (seed them for less heat)

2 TBS Bragg’s liquid amino acids (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS agave nectar (or sugar)

juice of one lime

for the peanut-coconut sauce

1 cup lite coconut milk

1/4 cup peanut butter (more – if you want a thicker sauce)

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1-3 serrano or jalapeno peppers – diced (seed them for less heat)

2 shallots – minced

2 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

2 TBS Bragg’s liquid amino acids (or soy sauce or tamari)

juice of one lime

GARNISH – lime wedges & cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

for the marinade

Whisk ingredients together & put the chicken in it.  Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes – or overnight.  I did this in a Ziplock bag.

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for the peanut-coconut sauce

Whisk everything together.  Adjust the peanut butter to coconut ratio to suit your tastes.  I put mine in an old pickle jar so I could give it a good shake before using it.

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for the chicken satay

Heat some oil or cooking spray & dump the chicken & marinade into a pan.  Heat through.

Plate the chicken & drizzle with a light bit of the peanut-coconut sauce (reserve some because there is a lot of sauce).

Serve with rice & garnish with extra sauce, cilantro & lime wedges.

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Pictured above with Creamy Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry & Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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This one has quite a few ingredients only two of which might be hard to find – the fenugreek seeds & the curry leaves.  Honestly – I think there is so much flavor in this dish that you can omit those if you cannot find them.   This dish used unsweetened grated coconut blended with cashews & I did not blend my coconut fine enough & it added a bit of texture to the dish that was not unpleasant – but I will definitely pulse it more finely next time.

Indian foods are often served with one of my favorite condiments in the world – Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney (seen below) and I recommend making some because it really adds something special – though it is definitely not necessary.

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb mixed mushrooms – sliced

2 cups peas

2 tomatoes – diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

4 TBS fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 cup unsweetened grated coconut

20 cashews

15 curry leaves (optional)

2 tsp black mustard seeds (mustard powder – if you do not have seeds)

1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

5 cups vegetable stock

Garnish – cilantro

Cooked rice

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 DIRECTIONS

Pulse the cashews & coconut in a food processor or spice mill until the coconut is very fine – more fine than in my photo below.  Set aside

Heat 2 TBS oil & saute the mushrooms over high heat until they are soft & beginning to brown.  Put in a bowl & set aside.

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In the same pan  – add another TBS oil & add the mustard seeds heat until they begin to pop then add the fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.

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Stir & add the onion & tomato & saute until the onions are soft.  Add the garlic & the ginger & the chili powder, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cumin & stir to incorporate.

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Add the coconut/cashew blend & the curry leaves.  Blend & then add the stock & bring to a boil.

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Boil it down until it thickens a bit & then add the mushrooms & peas.  You might want to reserve a few mushroom slices & peas to garnish the servings but this is not necessary.

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If the texture is to your liking – serve it on top of rice.  I chose to puree about half of it with an immersion blender.  You can do this – or use a regular blender to puree some of it – or not.  Your call.

Serve over rice & garnish with reserved veggies or cilantro.

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Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice”

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I think everyone likes rice one way or the other but sometimes you just don’t want that starch & carb thing.  But, sometimes, you find you are 50 years old & are 25 pounds off your game weight.  Sometimes, you can’t fit into even your “fat” pants – unless they have a stretchy waist…and it is always a slippery slope – getting too cozy in those stretchy pants.  Sometimes – you gotta take a stand, make sacrifices, cut yourself off.  Sometimes, you need to cut calories & God knows you are not cutting back on the wine & champagne.  You don’t want to become alchorexic – saving all your calories up to drink at night.  So – what do you do?  You make things like this cauliflower rice!  Seems like rice – but it is just grated cauliflower!  Guiltless & a good way to sneak extra veggies into veggie-suspicious diners.  It really is convincing – especially when incorporated into other dishes – like Thai or Indian foods.

In the past, I have posted Garlic and Ginger Cauliflower RiceEasy Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice, Cauliflower Fried Rice, and Spicy Thai Fried Cauliflower “Rice” – seen below, respectively.  Today – I am posting a Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”  If you have never tried it before – trust me – it works!  Really seems like rice but you can shove it in your face like you are at an eating tournament & your ass won’t grow a bit.  It might even tighten up!  So – why not give it a go?

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Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice”

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

I head cauliflower – leaves & core cut away

2 jalapeno peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS grated fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 cup unsweetened, grated coconut

2 TBS coconut oil

1 tsp ground cumin

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Grate the cauliflower with a box grater or with the grating blade in a food processor.

Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large frying pan & cook the jalapenos until they begin to soften.  Add te ginger & cook one minute.  Add the cauliflower, coconut & cumin & cook about 5 minutes – or until the cauliflower is soften but not mushy.  Season with S&P.

Stores very well in the fridge without clumping.

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Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Here is the Wikipedia definition of “kootu:”

Kootu is a Tamil word means ‘add’ i.e.vegetable added with lentils which form the dish, made of vegetable and lentils and are semi-solid in consistency, i.e., less aqueous than sambhar, but more so than dry curries. Virundhu Sappadu (Typical Tamil feast) comes with the combo of boiled rice (‘Choru’ in Tamil), sambar, rasam, curd, poriyal, kootu, appalam, pickle and banana. All kootus by default have some vegetables and lentils, but many variations of kootu exist.

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I am a big fan of vegan curries – especially those with lots of “sauce” and even more so if they are made in a slow cooker.  This recipe is simple with no exotic ingredients & feeds a LOT of people.   I made this in a 7-quart Crock Pot & nearly filled the thing.  It makes enough to feed a dozen people if served with rice.  I ate it for lunch every day & froze a bunch.  You can do this or cut the recipe down.  I just developed an urgent passion to use ALL the produce I had in my house this week & I had 4 pounds of carrots – so this kootu.

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Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

Serves 10-12 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 cups peeled split mung beans (yellow lentils)

4 pound carrots – sliced

1 onion – chopped

3 cans coconut milk

3 cups vegetable stock

1 or more (according to your taste for heat) jalapenos (or other peppers) – seeded & diced (I used several split Bird’s Eye chilies)

1 TBS fresh ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 TBS ground cumin

1 cup fresh cilantro – chopped plus more for garnish

1/2 cup or more Thai or other basil – chopped

Lime wedges for garnish

S&P

Cooked rice (I used brown jasmine)

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into the slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or until the carrots are tender.  Season with S&P.

Serve withe rice & garnish with cilantro & lime wedges.

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