Pumpkin lentil curry – gluten free, dairy free, clean, vegan, vegetarian and paleo friendly.
The inspiration for this dish came after a lunch time visit with a friend to a vegan Thai restaurant. Even though the menu consisted entirely of vegetables, the strong Thai flavours made the dishes flavourful.
Vegetarian food can taste exciting if you add the right flavouring and textures. Curries are a perfect way to get more vegetables into you and it’s always nice to take a break from meat.
This week’s recipe is not Thai actually, but Indian. I played around with some flavours until I was happy with it and my taste tester was equally impressed. I’ve used chunks of butternut pumpkin combined with split red lentils which swell and thicken the sauce over time. It’s a delicious Winter warmer that is filling and satisfying. I’ve also dry pan toasted a handful of pepita (pumpkin) seeds until they start to pop and brown, roughly chopped them and sprinkled them over the top. They add a delicious crunch and nuttiness.
I ate this curry again the following day and it was thicker than the previous day. If you want to take a break from rice, it tastes wonderful with plain quinoa. If you haven’t tried quinoa before or cooked with it then here’s a little bit of info about it:
What is quinoa?
Not a grain, quinoa is in fact a seed and is native to South America. Its nutrition profile is so high it’s deemed a superfood. It has a mild nutty flavour and can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. It’s covered in a bitter coating called saponin (which deters the birds from eating it) so it’s best to rinse quinoa before cooking. You can find it in any health food store and in most supermarkets in the health food aisle.
How do you cook it?
Always rinse quinoa before cooking with it to remove the naturally occurring saponins in order to remove the bitter taste. Use 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water and cook for about 20 minutes with the lid on until the water has completely evaporated when you give it a stir (bottom of pan should be completely dry). Remove saucepan from heat and let it sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes or more so the steam will continue to soften the grain. Fluff with a fork.
Treat quinoa like you do rice – it’s a blank canvas to which you can add lots of flavour, whether sweet or savoury.
Here’s an overview on what to do
Why this is so good for you
Coconut speeds up metabolism, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces the risk of diabetes, improves digestion, increases immune strength, is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic, prevents osteoporosis, prevents stroke and helps prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Pumpkin promotes good vision, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, reduces the risk of heart disease, helps protect against asthma, helps delay aging, reduces the risk of prostate cancer, helps promote fertility and strengthens the immune system.
Onions strengthen the immune system, help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, help prevent cancer and reduce the risk of gastric ulcers.
Chillies fight sinus congestion, aid digestion, help relieve migraines, muscle, joint and nerve pain, control blood pressure and aid in metabolism for weight loss.
Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, supports the circulatory, digestive and immune systems, helps lower blood pressure, assists in detoxification, prevents formation of blood clots, reduces blood pressure, helps with asthma, regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics and lowers the risk of most types of cancer.
Carrots improve vision, reduce the risk of lung, colon and breast cancer, slow down ageing, promote healthier skin, help prevent infection, prevent heart disease and detox the body.
Lentils reduce the risk of heart disease, aid digestion, help prevent IBS, help prevent diabetes, help prevent iron deficiency and give sustained energy.
Ginger inhibits inflammation, helps relieve pain, relieves nausea, boosts immunity, reduces risk of heart attack, helps prevent and treat fatty liver disease and helps relieve gastrointestinal irritation.
Turmeric helps prevent cancer, (especially in the digestive system) can reduce the growth of cancerous cells (especially prostate cancer when combined with cauliflower), lowers the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, prevents and treats Alzheimer’s disease, relieves rheumatoid arthritis, helps treat depression, helps delay ageing, is anti-inflammatory, helps reduce the severity of colds and flu, reduces symptoms of indigestion (bloating and gas), assists in weight loss, controls diabetes, reduces bad cholesterol levels, increases immune strength, heals wounds, helps treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions, detoxifies the liver and is a natural pain killer.
Cumin aids digestion, is a natural laxative, heals infection and wounds in the digestive and excretory system, clears up symptoms of haemorrhoids and helps prevent diabetes, relieves stress and anxiety, helps relieve asthma and bronchitis, helps fight common cold and fights against iron deficiency when menstruating.
Pepper helps prevent breast cancer, improves digestion, relieves constipation, gives relief from respiratory disorders, coughs and the common cold, helps fight infections and insect bites and helps prevent liver problems.
Himalayan salt contains all of the 84 elements found in your body. It is anti aging, increases hydration, promotes blood sugar health, prevents muscle cramping, strengthens bones, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, helps expel toxins from the body, helps reduce acid reflux and helps the intestines absorb nutrients.
Coriander helps control diabetes, aids in digestion, helps proper functioning of the liver, helps reduce diarrhea, reduces blood pressure, helps reduce anemia, protects the integrity of bones, prevents macular degeneration and helps reduce blood pressure.
Love, Tash x
- 1 brown onion, quartered
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1 large, long red chilli
- Fresh piece of ginger (4 cm x 2 cm)
- Coconut oil, for cooking
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 kilo butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes (roughly 5 cups)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 litre gluten free vegetable stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Optional: 2 tablespoons almond butter
- Fine pink Himalayan salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander or flat leaf parsley
- Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large saucepan on medium low heat.
- Place onion, garlic, chilli and ginger in a food processor and finely blitz. Add to saucepan along with the carrot and cook until onion has softened.
- Add another tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the spices and cook until aromatic.
- Add the pumpkin, lentils, stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Remove lid and simmer a further 20 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir through optional nut butter and season with enough salt depending on what stock you used. (I used 2 teaspoons of Himalayan salt but you may wish to use less).
- Stir through the chopped coriander/parsley and serve with quinoa or brown rice.