Over 3 years ago my elder daughter left home to go to university and my younger daughter went to boarding school to complete her last 2 years at school. Within a month of boarding, Emma announced that she was a vegetarian (although she has subsequently started eating fish). Whilst Charlotte eats meat, she has always loved vegetarian food, and as she was catering for herself, she was looking for nutritious and cheaper options. As such I started experimenting with and cooking more vegetarian food. Charlotte also wanted recipes that she could adapt to her budget, food she had available at the time but would also be delicious and interesting.
Hence, this recipe. I would try out variations with Emma when she came home at weekends and Charlotte would try them out for me at university. Healthy, nutritious, varied and quick to make, this Core Recipe offers a blank canvas for a huge number of dishes which pack huge flavour and nutritious punches, whilst being affordable and easy to adapt. Bursting with lentils, pulses, fresh vegetables and coconut milk or passata and spiced up with the addition of your choice of spice mixes.
Delicious served as a thick soup or stew, over rice or noodles or with some fresh bread to mop the juices.
A variety of recipes based on Lentil, Pulse and Vegetable Curry/Stew with Coconut or Tomato – Core Recipe
Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry with Chickpeas, Spinach and Coconut
Aubergine and Red Pepper Curry with Spinach, Green Lentils and Coconut
Carrot, Cauliflower and Haricot Bean Curry with Red Lentils, Kale and Coconut
Middle Eastern Aubergine and Red Pepper Stew with Green Lentils, Spinach, Chick Peas and Coconut
Green Lentil and Broccoli Curry with Black Eyed Peas, Coconut and Spinach
Indian Cauliflower and Sweetcorn Curry with Chickpeas, Red Lentils, Tomato and Fresh Coriander
Middle Eastern Courgette and Red Pepper Stew with Spinach, Chick Peas and Coconut
Spicy Broccoli and Green Pea Stew with Puy Lentils, Kale, Ginger, Black Beans and Coconut
Mexican Sweetcorn and Red Pepper Stew with Kidney Beans, Green Lentils, Tomato and Fresh Coriander
Hungarian Cauliflower, Red and Green Pepper Stew with Kidney Beans, Red Lentils. Tomato and Soured Cream
How to make Lentil, Pulse and Vegetable Curry/Stew with Coconut or Tomato – Core Recipe
These recipes do vary depending on the lentils and vegetables chosen. Some vegetables are added and the beginning of cooking and others are added towards the end. Equally some lentils take longer to cook than others, but in general this recipe is all prepared and cooked in around 30 minutes.
fry the onion
add any garlic and/or ginger
now add the lentils and most of the stock, the pulses, any vegetables which need a longer cooking time and the passata (if using this rather than the coconut milk)
when the lentils are cooked, add the remaining vegetables and coconut milk (if using rather than the passata)
just before serving stir in the fresh herbs
The amount of stock you need will depend on the vegetables you use and the consistency you are looking for. If you use the 500ml of stock, you will have quite a runny stew – ideal to eat with a spoon as a thick soup with the bread of your choice. If having it with rice or noodles you may prefer less stock so it is a bit thicker – however I always tend to make it quite runny – I love my rice and noodles soaked with the delicious sauce!
The ingredient list looks very long but there are many store cupboard ingredients included, and the vegetables I choose are often ones I want to use up. It is a great way of using up vegetables, which might not be sufficient for a meal in their own right but when mixed with the lentils and pulses, as well as other vegetables, are more than enough. So check what vegetables you have lurking in your fridge and use your imagination!
The photographs below are from my recipe for Spicy Cauliflower, Broccoli and Green Pea Stew with Spinach, Ginger, Black Beans and Coconut
Lentil, Pulse and Vegetable Curry/Stew with Coconut or Tomato – Core Recipe
Bursting with lentils, pulses, fresh vegetables and coconut milk or passata and spiced up with the addition of your choice of spice mixes. Delicious served as a thick soup or stew, over rice or noodles, tabbouli or cous cous or with some fresh bread to mop the juices.
Dinner, Lunch, Supper
curry, lentils, pulses, stew, vegetarian
1 tablespoon olive oil
125g – 150g/1 onion, peeled and chopped
16g/4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely chopped
16g ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped (optional)
250g – 500g vegetables (some you add at the beginning of cooking and some you add closer to the end – see Recipe Notes)
1 tin pulses/beans/chick peas, drained
1 x 400g tin of coconut milk or 400g passata
75g – 100g kale, stems removed and shredded or baby spinach
up to 30g fresh herbs, chopped e.g. coriander, parsley, mint, basil
Heat the oil in a cast iron casserole over a moderate heat and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until softened and slightly caramelised.
Add the crushed/chopped garlic and ginger, if using, and cook for a further minute until aromatic.
Stir in the spices and cook, stirring, until aromatic – around 20 – 30 seconds
Add the tomato paste and then add 375ml of the stock and the lentils. Stir well to mix.
Next add the drained beans/chick peas and the vegetables which take longer to cook.
If you are using passata, as opposed to coconut milk, you also add that now.
Bring to a simmer and cook, with the lid on, for 15 – 25 minutes or until the dried lentils are soft.
Add the coconut milk, if using, and the remaining vegetables, apart from the spinach but including kale, if using. Add more stock if necessary and cook with the lid off for a further 2 – 6 minutes until everything is cooked.
Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
Finally stir in the fresh herbs and serve with your choice of serving options
Cast iron casserole or frying pan and lid
Chopping board and knife
Kitchen scales and measuring spoons
Sieve or colander
Vegetables to add early in the cooking process:
Pepper – if you like it soft and melting in your mouth
Vegetables to add towards the end of the cooking process:
Spinach or kale
Pepper – if you prefer to have some bite
Cooked rice – white, brown or wild rice or a mix of both, OR