Red Lentil and Sweet Potato (Squash) Curry

Because I am who I am, I don’t generally write up recipes from cookbooks on the blog. Unless I heavily modified the recipe, it feels like giving away someone’s hard work for free and I worry about things like that. However, I’m posting this recipe here along with a list of other recipes we love from the book, and information on buying the book… so I don’t feel too badly about it! 😀

The Cookbook: Fresh Food Fast

The book is called Fresh Food Fast – Delicious, Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under an Hour. It delivers just what the title promises. Not all recipes are healthy, as you’ll see below, and Scott has been the main experimenter from this cookbook so you will see cheese make a more frequent appearance. Still, I’m very grateful to have a husband who enjoys cooking and I love that he is willing to experiment!

The book is organized as about 12 menus per season, with a shopping list for each and helpful tips on speeding up the process and cooking with ingredients that may be new to you.

Recipes we’ve tried and loved

Scrambled Eggs with Dandelion Greens and Goat Cheese – ok, not healthy but delicious and really fun to eat a new kind of green
Black Bean and Zucchini Quesadillas – We do keep some cheese in there as a binder, but these are very veggie heavy and so delicious that I am already looking forward to next summer. And, I may blog about them next summer. They are really, really really good.
Three Sisters Stew with Okra and Leeks – I’m pretty sure baby okra want to be in this soup when they grow up.
Thai-Style Tofu and Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Broth with Jasmine Rice
Warm Mesclun Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette and Five-Minute Eggs – We don’t eat eggs very often anymore, but this was a staple at our house for over a year.
Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry with Warm Pita Bread – Recipe below
Balsamic-Roasted Seitan with Cipollini Onions – We were nervous about trying seitan, but Scott grew up a meat and potatoes guy and declared this the ultimate comfort food for him. Especially when served with:
Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips – So delicious, though you’ll want to cut way down on the butter/oil.
Crunchy Cabbage Salad – Very good, fast, light and simple. Halve the dressing.
Tomato Goat Cheese Strata – I hesitate to mention this because it is not at all healthy, but it’s really really delicious and promises to wow if you make it for a special occasion.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I will list recipes we’ve tried and have NOT loved.

The Beans Won’t Make These Again

Spinach Soup with Basmati Rice and Carrots
Curried Chickpea Pancakes with Spicy Tahini Sauce
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint
Spicy Corn Frittata with Tomatoes and Onions – decent, but didn’t blow us away
Arepas: Pan-grilled Colombian Corn Cakes
Lemon Lentil Soup with Spinach – I have mixed feelings about this one. It was cheap, fast, healthy and decent tasting, but Scott didn’t love it. It may make one more appearance just to be sure he doesn’t like it.
Broccoli Rabe with Balsamic Brown Butter – Meh, it was decent but horribly unhealthy.

I will say that even I discover a recipe I won’t make again, I rarely regret cooking out of this book because it gets us trying new things in season and the meals come together pretty fast.

TIP: We almost always write in pencil a rating out of 10 at the top of a recipe as we sit and eat it for the first time. We include a couple of sentences to justify the rating and it has helped immensely with figuring out what is worth making again when the season comes around the following year.

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato (Squash) Curry

We made this particular dish last night, likely for the 4th or 5th time. We used most of a sweet potato squash because we had run out of sweet potatoes and it still worked beautifully.

Canola or grapeseed oil (enough to sautee onions in, optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder (or 2 tsp if you use our hot curry powder from Penzeys)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 c. red lentils
Whole wheat pita

1) Bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot.

2) In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil and add the onions. Saute for 3 or 4 minutes.

3) Add the sweet potato, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and bay leaf and saute for 1 minute.

4) Pour in boiling water and stir in lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes. The sweet potato should be tender and the lentils broken down.

5) Serve over (or stuffed in) warm whole wheat pita.

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About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
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