Cosy up with this warming oven-baked butternut and lentil curry with a spiced tomato and red lentil sauce, butternut squash, and greens.
A one-pan wonder of a dish where the only “hard work” is chopping up the veg. If cutting butternut is daunting, you can always buy pre-chopped butternut frozen or fresh. This dish is oil-free; garnish with nuts, seeds, yoghurt, coconut, tahini or cream to add healthy whole-ingredient fats.
Lentils are affordable and sustainable to grow, they do not require chemicals to grow well and are a moderately drought tolerant crop. Legumes fix nitrogen into the soil and help feed a healthy soil microbiome ~ nutrition begins in the soil. Lentils are nutrient-dense with fibre and plant-based protein that is gentle on the digestive system.
Spices are warming, aromatic and earthy with many food as medicine benefits; they have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immune-supportive and grounding properties. You can use whatever curry mix you have and love.
Recipes have ingredients with anti-inflammatory nutrients and avoid common inflammatory foods like sugar, gluten, dairy and processed food. A whole food diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help relieve symptoms of inflammation within the body. Inflammation is at the root of most disease = dis-ease.
Recipes have foods, herbs & spices with antibacterial properties. These plants have compounds that fight infections are healing, preventative & antibiotic.
Recipes with plant protein-rich ingredients. Examples of plant-based high protein foods include; quinoa, teff, millet, wild rice, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, sorghum, wheat, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds, peas, beans, lentils, legumes, soy, tofu & tempeh, broccoli, brussels, spinach, kale, mushrooms, nutritional yeast.
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Baked Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Curry
PREHEAT your oven to 400 F | 200 C
WASH all the vegetables. Peel + deseed + small dice butternut squash. Finely dice onion + celery. Finely chop or grate garlic + ginger.
ADD all base ingredients to a baking dish, mix well and spread evenly.
ADD water | broth + crushed tomatoes over base ingredients. Stir with a fork to combine and spread evenly.
TOP with diced butternut squash. Cover with a sheet pan or lid and bake for 30 mins. You can use tin foil to cover your dish, but it is not a sustainable choice.
REMOVE from oven. Mix with a fork and bake another 15 – 20 mins uncovered so the butternut browns a little. When the lentils are soft and have created a thick sauce, and the butternut is fork-tender, remove the curry from the oven.
TASTE and adjust seasoning – add more chilli or curry if you want extra spice.
SCATTER over kale | spinach, lightly fork, stir them in. Cover the dish to rest for 5 – 10mins; the residual heat will gently steam the greens.
SERVE in bowls garnished with fresh herbs, cashews, coconut chips, a dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of coconut cream or tahini.
MAKING in advance – omit the greens. Reheat in the oven covered when ready to eat, adding the greens as above just before serving.
garnished with fresh herbs, cashews, coconut chips, nuts or seeds.
a dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of coconut cream, cashew cream or tahini.
with Cashew Sour Cream
CURRY SPICES – use what you have – a curry powder blend, Berbere Spice, or any other curry type blend you have – adjust the heat to your taste. If, like me, you love spices & heat, add the maximum quantity. If you prefer mild, start with less & add to your taste.
SWAP BUTTERNUT use fresh or frozen pumpkin, kabocha, buttercup, acorn, yams, sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower – cooking times may vary.
ADD CREAMY COCONUT – for a creamier coconut curry, add 1 can of coconut milk + 2 cups water – rinse the can.
SWAP KALE use fresh or frozen spinach, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, cabbage, collards – cooking times will vary.
ADD CASHEWS for healthy fats and a great texture. Stir in with the greens or use as a garnish.
*HERBS – use freshly chopped parsley, cilantro, chives, + a little rosemary or thyme.