Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

This wholesome and earthy stew was adapted from The First Mess‘ beautiful and delicious extra recipe bundle that is available when you pre-order Laura Wright’s cookbook (which is by far and away the most inspirational cookbook I’ve bought in a while). I primarily adapted this because I didn’t have all of the ingredients in the house that I thought I did and so….But this is how inspired and new recipes are created.  A little bit of this and that added to the pot.  Stir it up and try it out on your guinea pigs (not that I refer to my loved ones as that usually ;-).

I haven’t come across a recipe in a long time that requires dirtying so few dishes.  It honestly was one pot, one knife, a chopping board, a measuring cup and one or two measuring spoons.  Gluten-free, nut-free, no sugar.

Red Lentil Stew with Tomatoes, Rice, and Coconut

Ingredients

Serves 6

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, rinsed and chopped

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried chili or red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed

1/2 cup dried arborio rice, rinsed

1 x 15 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)

1 x 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce, which is what I used) – fire-roasted is suggested by Laura to be awesome

3 cups water

1 cup light coconut milk (or just over 1/2 a 15 oz can)

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with the oil.  As the pot heats, chop up the onion, carrots, and celery. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, around 4-5 minutes.
  2. Once the onion is soft, add to the pot the turmeric and garlic. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Add the cumin and chili or red pepper flakes and stir. Let sit for 30 seconds as the spices become fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and water.  Raise the heat and bring the contents to a boil, then lower heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure the lentils and rice do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Once the lentils and rice are cooked, it is time to puree the stew.  This is optional, but pureeing at least part of the stew will lend a creaminess to it.  Ladle around half of the stew into a blender with the coconut milk and puree to desired consistency.  I like mine a bit chunkier.  Add back the pureed mixture to the pot, mix, and reheat.  Add in the lemon juice and stir.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

See! So easy and so so delicious.  Until the next recipe….

Chai Coconut Tart

Sometimes I make food and it sucks.  Or I make it and I think ‘this is not what I was hoping it would taste like’ or even better ‘How the hell did it end up tasting like THIS, I didn’t even add curry?’.  One minor ingredient can be missing that you can’t quite put your finger on that you know would transform a dish.  It can be frustrating to say the least.  I’ve been known to make food and when it doesn’t come out right, put it in the fridge and muddle over what might be missing that could take it to the next level – for days.  I liken food to music.  You have the main chords – or food items- that you like to work with or put you in a certain mood, and then you have a huge range of options that add to those basic notes.  Do you want bright and happy?  How about a little basil.  Thinking romantic?  Add some sweetness.  Feeling sad?  Give me anything with carbohydrates!!

Food combinations are an opera but I don’t like singing every night.  That’s what happened with this little baby, the chai coconut tart.  I started by wanting to make chai coconut pudding.  When I first tried it the texture bothered me and the taste was missing something.  So I added more ingredients and blended it.  I still thought it was missing something and though about it for another day.  Eventually I realized that this pudding needed to be eaten WITH something else.  Enter the tart.  What kind of tart?  Yes, well this cycle is the never-ending quest of the cook.  Meddle, fix, eat, throw out, meddle, fix, eat tentatively, fix again, eat, and eventually voila!  Suddenly the picture in your mind becomes the food on your plate and your taste buds go crazy.

And then sometimes you just throw pasta in a pot, mix with some oil and vinegar and whatever else may or may not be handy and call it a day.

Chai Coconut Tart

Serves: 4

Ingredients

Pudding

1 14oz can coconut milk

2 chai teabags

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup chia seeds

up to 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Crust

1 cup gluten free oats

1 cup dates

 

  1. Gently heat the coconut milk in a saucepan.
  2. Once warm, add syrup, spices, and salt.  Gently mix.  Remove from heat and add the teabags.  Let sit until desired chai-ness has been reached.
  3. Remove teabags and let cool.  Once room temperature whisk in chia seeds.  Put in fridge to set.
  4. Once set (around an hour or so) remove from fridge and add to a blender with almond milk and additional spices if you want more flavour.  Blend until smooth.  Put back in the fridge to set.
  5. Start the crust by adding oats and dates to a food processor and process until chunky and slightly sticky.  Press the oat/date mixture into a mold of your choice.  Place in freezer until serving.
  6. Before serving, remove the mold from the freezer and remove the shell from the mold. Add the pudding into the shells.
  7. Top with coconut cream and fresh mint, raspberries or whatever else you like!

Weekday Chickpea Coconut Curry

I went to a potluck the other week and one of my friends made this incredibly delicious chickpea curry.  Although I did look at the original recipe, I decided to tweak it a bit to better suite how I like to eat (ie. I added veggies).  I mean what’s a meal without something green in it?  This curry is an absolute winner when it comes to simplicity and speed.  15 minutes tops I would think since the majority of the time is just sauteing the onions and opening some cans.

Perpetual Flow - ingredients for chickpea coconut curry

On evenings where I’m totally strapped for time, or even just so starving I’m close to eating an entire bar of chocolate just because it’s already made, I make this curry.  My trick is to go to the store and grab the ingredients for 2 meals so that if the next time I don’t have time to cook I already (brilliantly) have everything I need.  Obviously, this recipe can be played with as much as you like.  Add whatever veggies tickle your fancy and other spices too.  You could even add ginger if you have some lying around that needs to be used or red pepper.  There are so many options!

Perpetual Flow - chickpea coconut curry

Many people love serving it on white jasmine rice, but I went with wild rice this time just to kick things up a notch.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 x 15 fl. oz can coconut milk (full or low fat, I don’t find it makes much of a difference)

2 x 15 fl. oz cans chickpeas, strained and rinsed

2 tbsp curry paste (I used red because it’s what I have in my fridge but you could also use green or yellow)

1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 or 2 medium tomatoes or a handful or two of cherry tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 or 2 handfuls of spinach, rinsed

salt and pepper, as needed

1 tbsp lime juice

fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley  (optional)

Rice (optional)

perpetualflow chickpea coconut curry

  1. In a large pan, saute the onion over medium heat until translucent (around 5 minutes).  Add in the garlic and continue sauteing until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
  2. Add the curry paste and 1/4-1/2 the can of coconut milk to the pan.  Stir the curry paste until dissolved into the coconut milk.
  3. Add in the strained chickpeas, the remaining coconut milk and the tamari. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes.
  4. Right before serving add in the tomatoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, and spinach.
  5. Garnish with herbs and a slice of lime.  Serve over rice.

And there you go.  A crazy delicious, simple, and fast recipe for any weekday night you’re in a pinch.  I usually have chickpeas soaking on the counter because I use them in so many recipes so you’re welcome to use non-canned chickpeas too if you have them available.

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Vanilla Coconut Cream

I woke up this morning and realized that it was Valentine’s Day.  I don’t have anyone to ‘celebrate’ it with here in Kelowna but I still decided that a little love could be spread on my part and hopefully others would feel it.  As I lay there I thought to myself ‘what would be something easy to make today that could spread the love?’.  Answer?  Well, obviously chocolate because it’s awesome…and what else?  Well, I am one of the world’s (lucky) coconut lovers.  A light bulb went on – chia pudding and coconut cream.  This recipe requires so few ingredients and it’s so simple to make.  Even a boy could do it! (Just bugging you men!)  No complicated folding or baking or rising to worry about.  Mix a few things together in two separate bowls, layer, and VOILA!

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Vanilla Coconut Cream inspired by Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows
Chocolate Chia Pudding with Vanilla Coconut Cream inspired by Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows

I also learned throughout this recipe that the hand-mixer I purchased from the Salvation Army does not work if absolutely anything is touching the beaters.  I could put the darn thing in water and the beaters would stop turning.  So, this recipe also shows that you can do the coconut whipped cream by hand and save yourself dirtying up more dishes if you’d like.

Coconut Whipped Cream inspired from Oh She Glows
Coconut Whipped Cream inspired from Oh She Glows

Layering was probably the most stressful part of this entire dessert.  Although truly it’s nothing to worry about and the more half-hazard you do it the more deliciously disheveled it will look.  Top with any fruit you’d like or even jam or coconut chips.  Have fun and if you don’t have someone to share it with I hope you eat it all just like I did!!!

Choco Chia Pudding with Coconut Cream
Choco Chia Pudding with Coconut Cream

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe can be found at Minimalist Baker and the Coconut Whipped Cream can be found at Oh She Glows. Two of my most favorite food blogs!