6 Hot and Healthy Vegetarian Curry Recipes

A new year is the perfect time to reset — reset your mind, reset your diet, and reset your resolutions for the upcoming 365 days. Without a doubt, January is the month most of us are adamant about finding time to go the gym and eat healthy, but it doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing thing. You don’t need to work out everyday and only eat spinach in order to attain your healthy living goals. Healthy living is all about moderation, and about eating things that taste good, but are good for you, too.

One easy way to maintain a healthier diet in 2015, is cutting down on the meat-heavy dishes. Work on introducing vegetarian dishes into your meal plans, and you’ll be surprised to see how many different ingredients you can incorporate into your dishes, and how good meat-free satiation feels. Meat-free dishes don’t have to be boring, either. Some of your favorite dinners can easily be made vegetarian, and we’re showing you how.

Curries are a popular dinner choice among Americans because they bring the heat and can also easily be made at home thanks to the enlistment of certain spices and sauces. Here are 7 vegetarian curry recipes that will start your 2015 out on the right foot. Plan ahead for these seemingly sophisticated dinners and you’ll surprise yourself with how much you don’t miss the meat, thanks to some heat.

Chickpea Sweet Potato Curry, stew

Source: iStock

1. Sweet Potato Curry

Kicking things off on a high note, we start with this recipe from Bon Appétit starring our favorite superfood. This recipe for Sweet Potato Curry is vegetarian, fuss-free, and can appeal to both meat lovers and haters. According to Bon Appétit, it “grants you immunity from even the most gluten-averse, meat-abstaining, fat-conscious houseguests.” Whip up this meal that serves 12, and prove that you can conquer curry, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, coarsely chopped
  • One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1” pieces
  • ¾ pound small or young carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 medium shallots, peeled keeping roots intact, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Rice for serving
  • Thinly sliced scallions, basil leaves, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges for serving

Directions: Pulse lemongrass, ginger, and garlic in a food processor until very finely chopped. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add lemongrass mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; season with salt. Add curry and tomato pastes and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk; season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until curry is rich and full of flavor, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add sweet potatoes and carrots, then pour in water to cover. Partially cover pot and cook until carrots are crisp-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add shallots and cook until potatoes are tender and shallots are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add chile, if desired, and lime juice to curry and spoon over rice. Top with scallions, basil, and cilantro; serve with lime wedges.

Curry, broccoli, potatoes, pepper

Source: iStock

2. Thai Vegetable Curry

This Thai Vegetable Curry from Food & Wine is full of veggies (as its name suggests) and packs a spicy punch thanks to the green curry paste it calls for. Pick up the special paste at Asian grocery stores, or in the Asian section of supermarkets. The paste, combined with coconut milk and soy sauce, yield a sophisticated and savory flavor that your nutritious and delicious vegetables will soak right up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons Thai green curry paste
  • 1 ⅔ cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (one 15-ounce can)
  • 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup drained canned bamboo shoots, halved
  • 1 pound boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound broccoli, thick stems removed, tops cut into small florets
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
  • ⅓ cup thin-sliced basil leave

Directions: In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and fry, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, bamboo shoots, potatoes, and broccoli. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato and heat through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice and basil.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Vegan Lentil Curry

Up next is a vegan lentil curry from Simple Vegan Blog. No meat, no dairy, no problem. Even the most picky eaters can’t find problems with this dish. It enlists lentils, coconut milk, tomato sauce, and seasonings to yield a healthy and flavorful meal, and not only is it vegan, it’s also gluten-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • ⅔ cup coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons curry

Directions: Cook lentils according to package directions. We cooked them for 40 minutes over medium-high heat. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and the onion and cook them until golden brown. Add the tomato sauce, coconut milk, and spices and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add cooked lentils, stir and cook for at least 15 or 20 minutes over medium heat. Cook basmati rice according to package directions. We cooked them for 12 minutes over medium high heat. Drain and set aside.

Serve the lentils over the basmati rice.

Rinsing Quinoa

Source: iStock

4. Coconut Curry

Here’s a coconut curry recipe from Minimalist Baker that the recipe developers promise will be ready in just 30 minutes. An easy and healthy dinner is just at your fingertips, and even better, it’s vegan and gluten-free. Now, there’s no excuse to let this food formula pass you by. Gather your coconut and curry ingredients. The curry will be plated overtop of coconut quinoa, giving any forkful from this dish a rich and creamy taste.

Ingredients:

Curry

  • 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • ½ cup broccoli florets (or green bell pepper), diced
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ¼ cup diced tomato
  • ⅓ cup snow peas
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • Pinch cayenne or 1 dried red chili, diced
  • 2 cans light coconut milk
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • Sea salt and black pepper
Coconut Quinoa
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

Directions: If serving with coconut quinoa, begin by washing thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer. Add to a medium saucepan over medium heat and toast for 3 minutes. Add 1 can light coconut milk and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is light, fluffy and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside until serving.

In the meantime, heat a large saucepan or pot to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, broccoli and a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened – about 5 minutes.

Add curry powder, cayenne, veggie stock, coconut milk, another healthy pinch of salt and stir. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat slightly and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the snow peas and tomatoes in the last 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve over coconut quinoa.

vegetable soup

Source: iStock

5. Winter Vegetable Curry (In a Hurry)

In this 30-minute meal, Rachael Ray delivers a soul-warming winter vegetable curry. Her recipe can be prepared and on your dinner table in no time at all, and it serves 4 hungry diners. Gather your seasonings and get going. This veggie-packed dish is healthy and hearty, and takes advantage of the winter harvest.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 tablespoons mild or hot curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons mango chutney
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 scallions, chopped, for garnish
  • Cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • Slivered almonds or chopped cashews, toasted, for garnish

Directions: In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the rice and toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 3 cups chicken broth, the bay leaf, lemon zest, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cardamom. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 18 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and discard the bay leaf. Add the butter and toss to evenly coat the rice; set aside.

While the rice cooks, in a large, deep nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower, eggplant, bell pepper, onion, and garlic; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Uncover and stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, curry paste, and chutney; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 1 cup chicken broth and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes. Serve the vegetable curry with scoops of rice on top. Top with the scallions, cilantro, and almonds.

Curry, Maa Chole Ki Dal or Yellow Gram

Source: iStock

6. Coconut Red-Lentil Curry

Last but not least: Coconut Red Lentil Curry from Gourmet, via Epicurious. Protein-packed legumes pair perfectly with creamy coconut milk, spices, and veggies with this dinner. The meal will fill you up without filling you out, and will prove the South Indian-inspired dish can not only be mastered by restaurant staffs, but home chefs, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ cups dried red lentils
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs

Directions: Cook onion in oil in a 3½- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, and chile and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in water, lentils, and coconut milk, then simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and simmer, covered, until lentils and zucchini are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and serve with cilantro sprigs scattered on top.

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