Do you ever feel like if you have anything planned in your afternoon or early evening you can’t possibly cook a dinner for your family? I used to feel that way and those nights were nights when we’d order pizza, take out, or worse, I’d buy some processed meal that was quick to make. I still have those nights when all we have time to do is pick up a pizza, I am human after all. I’ve realized, however, that with a little planning ahead and early day preparations, I can still prepare a real-food meal for my family in a short amount of time. It saves money on take out and the more real food we put in our body the healthier we are.
I had one of those crunched-for-time days last week. We were planning on going out to get our Christmas tree when Meghan woke up from her afternoon nap. I knew that once we got the tree and got back home, time for dinner prep would be minimal. I used some of Meghan’s nap time to do some prep that would help cut down the time it would take to prepare the dinner when we got home. This was the perfect meal to do this with, and I was even able to multi-task when cooking dinner and help with the tree.
I love ethnic foods and curry is one of my favorite flavors. This was a perfect dish for a cold (almost) winter night.Print
South Indian-Style Vegetable Curry with Lemony Quinoa
A tasty curry packed full of goodness
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 70 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: main meal
- Cuisine: Indian
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (~1 Tbs.)
- 1 Tbs. ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (this gives it a bit of heat-reduce if you want it milder)
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup lite coconut milk
- 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 1 1/2 cups (or one can, rinsed and drained) cooked chickpeas
- 4 cups lightly packed fresh spinach
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
for the quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. lemon zest
- During Meghan’s nap, I grabbed the vegetables I could prepare.
- I cut the sweet potato, carrots, and cauliflower, diced the onion, prepared the garlic and ginger, and measured out the spices. Do you ever wish you had a sous chef to do this kind of work for you? I know I do. After having all of this chopping, dicing, grating and measuring out of the way, dinner was a snap.
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium (or medium low if necessary) and cook until the onion is richly browned, 5-7 minutes more. Add the garlic and giner; cook, stirring for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne; stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended, about a minute.
- Add the stock, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, ~1 teaspoon salt, and ~1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low or low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Start the quinoa. In a small or medium sauce pan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to low and cover; simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to steam until you are ready to serve (do not remove the lid).
- Meanwhile, add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and carrots to the curry sauce. Raise the heat to medium high and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, lemon juice and zest; cook until the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes more.
Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine Oct/Nov 2010
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 282
- Sugar: 7.6g
- Sodium: 230mg
- Fat: 12.3g
- Carbohydrates: 37.6g
- Protein: 9.3g
Keywords: curry dish
This dish was a hit with Tim and me. Meghan liked half of it. I served her everything separate because she tends to shy away from things that are all mixed together. The vegetables away from the sauce didn’t have much heat at all so I wasn’t worried about that. Meghan’s still going through her little I’m-Not-Going-To-Eat-Vegetables-Unless-They-Are-In-A-Smoothie stage, so while she normally loves cauliflower, she didn’t eat it. She didn’t touch any of the orange vegetables, which didn’t surprise me because even in her good-eating phases, they are not her favorite. She ended up eating some of the quinoa and all of the chickpeas. She carefully pierced each one with her fork and ate it–it took quite a while to eat every single one on her plate, but she was determined.
It’s amazing how just doing a little prep work early in the day can make dinner so much quicker and more smooth. While I was cooking, Meghan danced around, so excited about the Christmas tree, while Tim hung the lights. See? I was totally able to sneak away from the kitchen while dinner was cooking.
Meghan loved helping put on the ornaments.
At the end of the night, we had a healthy, delicious dinner and a decorated Christmas tree.
And I was a happy mama (who smiles too big for pictures).