I tend to be obsessive about meal planning. Usually, Bren and I go to the store only once week with a list of the meals and the ingredients I planned for the upcoming week. Well, apparently, I was a day short last week and realized I had nothing planned to make and very little leftover produce. So, I stood there, looking over the "pantry" items trying to come up with something I could make for dinner. Rices, pastas, vegetable stock, beans.. but not enough produce options to liven it up. I opened the fridge, and there it was, a huge bag of carrots that Brennan decided we should get for snacking. My first thought was curried carrot soup, but it's so warm out and that's a heavy soup. Then, I saw basmati rice. Keeping the same general idea for the soup, I decided to lighten it up and make a gravy to go over rice.
Indian food has always been one of my favorite types of food. It smells fantastic and tastes even better. Some of the dishes tend to be a little too heavy to eat on a regular basis, so I don't cook Indian too often and especially not during the warmer months. For this dish, I did decide to give it a little more texture than traditional Indian gravy. I didn't use much coconut milk and I left the carrots a bit crunchy for a fresh taste.
Red lentils were the obvious choice for protein. The go well with the flavor profile of Indian food and they are also quick to cook, unlike most legumes. Another reason I plan our meals is to know when I need to soak my beans, seeds, or nuts. I've found that using a crock pot is the best method for me. I usually start the beans in the morning or early afternoon and they're ready to use by the time I start cooking. We tend to use beans as our main source of protein for dinner, but since no dinner was planned, I was very happy to see we still had some red lentils to quickly boil.
Brennan was very happy when he came home from work to a house smelling like curry. I heard the door open and an audible "mmmm.." followed. He's a fan of hearty dishes, so he really liked this one. He was a little surprised when I told him that it was a last minute idea, but that's the beauty of having ground spices on hand. They really are much more convenient when you're in a pinch.
Curried Carrots and Red Lentils over Basmati Rice
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.