This week, I think I deserve an award because I’ve managed to get Mr. EN to eat (and enjoy!) four totally vegan meals – in a row – without once ever asking “Where’s the meat?” This 30-Minute Squash and Coconut Curry, inspired by pinchofyum.com. was so deliciously different and easy to make, that it honestly surprised both of us.
To make this curry, I didn’t follow Lindsay’s recipe exactly, mainly because I didn’t have everything I needed to make it her way. So, I added and took away a few ingredients and ended up with what I think is one of the most interesting and flavorful curry dishes I’ve ever made. (I’ve even added tips in the prep section for how I’ll make it even better next time.)
This curry is…
- Extra nutritious! Why? Because winter squash, like all the orange veggies are some of the healthiest veggies you can eat. They’re loaded with blood-pressure lowering potassium, calcium, magnesium and folate. Plus, using light coconut milk instead of full-fat makes this dish much lower in artery-clogging fat.
- Uniquely flavored. After a summer of making dish after dish with fresh basil and tomatoes I was ready for a new flavor profile. This Squash and Coconut Curry definitely “brought it”.
- Cilantro-spiked – in a good way. If you look at this photo, you will only see a few fresh cilantro leaves sprinkled here and there. That’s because Mr. EN hates cilantro (yes, still). After I took this photo I added a few tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro leaves (only to my plate of course) which punched up the flavor to the Nth degree. YumO!
- The Squash Story. We used winter squash that we grew in our garden using an experimental (898) squash seed. When it’s all grown up it looks like a baby Butternut and tastes out of this world. Read more about Row 7 Seeds amazing seeds here. For this recipe, you can use any kind of winter squash: acorn, pumpkin, honeynut, or butternut.
- Cast Iron If You Can. If you have a large cast iron pan, use it. It will slow-simmer the flavors oh-so-nicely together. If you don’t, no worries, any skillet will work.
- Curry Powder Issues. There are dozens of different types of curry powder blends. I used McCormick’s Hot Madras Curry Powder which was a little too hot for Mr. EN. If you’re afraid the dish might be too spicy, back off a bit on the curry and the chili garlic sauce, simmer a while, then taste and add more spices to taste.
- Use a spoon. If you don’t want your fingernails to turn a somewhat unattractive yellowish-orange color, toss the squash and spices with a spoon – not your hands. (I learned this the hard way. 😊)
- Next time…. After I made this dish I thought of a few things I’ll add next time I make it: a pinch of cardamom when I add the spices, a handful of golden raisins or diced apricots 2-3 minutes before the squash is cooked through, and a sprinkling of toasted coconut and/or pumpkin seeds (I only had almonds) on top for garnish.
Are you trying to eat more meatless meals? You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this easy healthy meal. This week, why not give this 30-Minute Squash and Coconut Curry a try? Please let me know how it turns out and how you made this dish your own.
Peace, love and good eats; from our empty nest to yours.
Trending in the EN Kitchen: McCormick’s Hot Madras Curry Powder
30-Minute Squash and Coconut Curry
Yield 2 large servings
- 4 cups winter squash (acorn, butternut, honeynut etc.) peeled and cubed
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger or 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 2 teaspoons good-quality olive oil
- ½ teaspoon each curry powder and chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ (15-oz) can light coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste or chili garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 (14.5-oz) can fire-roasted or chili and lime diced tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Juice of ½ fresh orange or lime
- 2 tablespoons toasted nuts (any kind)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger or ginger powder. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
- Sprinkle the dry seasonings (curry powder, chili powder, turmeric, cayenne) over the squash and toss to combine. Pour the coconut milk into the skillet and whisk the curry paste or chili garlic sauce, peanut butter, and honey into the coconut milk until smooth. Add the seasoned squash and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until squash is tender but not mushy. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper if necessary.
- Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes (the sauce will thicken).
- Add the rice to the skillet and mix well or serve the curry over mounds of cooked rice.
- Right before serving, add a squeeze of fresh orange or lime juice, then top with chopped cilantro and toasted nuts.