Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vegan Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry

It is certainly that time of year to whip up recipes with squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, etc.  The change in weather begs for heartier plates.  And, this recipe is not messing around.  It is protein driven and stick to your ribs filling.  The sweetness of the asian squash pairs very nicely with the earthiness of the lentils.  Keep in mind this recipe is going to taste more like an Indian curry rather than a Thai curry.

If you are not familiar with the kabocha squash, it can also be referred to as a Japanese pumpkin that is in season late summer and early fall.  So right now they are at their peak!  So what are you waiting for?  Pick some up and lets get cooking!

I also love keeping the seeds, cleaning them and then baking them.  A great little snack for the fall!

I also love when you are able to use the outside of a vegetable as a serving vessel.  I just feel like it honors the produce that much more.   If you follow this recipe, keep in mind this can be served family style.  One entire stuffed squash will easily fill up 3-4 people. 

Vegan Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry
1 acorn squash, top cut off and cleaned out, removing seeds
1 c lentils
2 c water or broth
1 c kale, chopped
1 small-medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 coconut milk
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp evoo
1-2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp ground coriander
1-2 tsp cayanne
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamin
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly oil the cleaned out kabocha squash and bake in oven for roughly 45 minutes or until a knife can be softly inserted into the flesh.  Check for done-ness around the 30 minute mark to gauge how much longer you have to bake.  Once done, let cool until able to handle.

In the meantime, bring your water or broth to a boil, add in the lentil, turn to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until tender and the liquid is absorbed.  Note, older lentils may take longer and red lentils should only take about 20 minutes.

Once the squash is cooled down, scoop out the flesh carefully, making sure the outer shell remains in tact.  Place 75 percent of the flesh in a blender, add in coconut milk, starting with just 1 cup and blend.  Check consistency and add in the remaining coconut milk if desired.  Set aside.

With a large saute pan, heat evoo and add in garlic and ginger.  Saute for about 2-3 minutes and add in chopped green bell pepper.  Saute for an additional 2-3 minutes and then add in kale.  Saute for about one minute.  Add in cooked lentils, squash puree and all the seasonings.  Mix thoroughly.  Add in more spices to your taste.  Scoop the mixture into the shell and serve!

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