Sorry for the hiatus, a lot of stuff has been going on, including moving and not having a proper set up to take my food photos at the moment. I also updated my Mac operating system and lost the ability to use Aperture which held all my previous photos and I’m working on learning new photo editing programs. Currently I suck at using them… so for the moment: basic iPhone photos! Yay. It’s not as pretty for sure, but it will do in a pinch and you get the idea. Besides the food is way more delicious anyway, just make it and see.
With fall well underway and my pantry kind of overflowing in dried beans and lentils that I have been hoarding for way too long, I decided I need to start making recipes using up as much of my dried ingredients as possible. You do not want to know how many bags and bags of dried stuff I have. It’s kind of ridiculous for just 1 person, but I used to like having any ingredient at my finger tips when I got a craving for a new recipe.
It’s also extremely affordable to make plant-based/vegan slow cooker recipes using dried, canned and frozen ingredients, especially when a small amount of work can yield such delicious food and have lots of leftovers. So even though it’s just me, i don’t mind having leftovers of super delicious curries because I can just give away a few portions to hungry friends, and freeze some for easy meals when I’m too tired to cook. Plus why spend $5-7 on a single frozen vegan meal, when you can make a big batch of something a few times a month and freeze it yourself, right? Right.
Although I don’t have a slow cooker recipe book yet, I know it’s something that a few of you have been asking for. It does take some time since I can’t make several recipes a day using this method and crank them out for recipe testing. It’s a slower process, but convenient for people who are busy and really hate “active cooking time” i.e. standing at the stove and/or making a big mess and fitfully sobbing when you didn’t stir it enough and it ends up burned… I mean that doesn’t happen to me that often, but I understand not everyone WANTS to live in the kitchen making food day in and day out.
So I’ll help you out, i’ll work on more slow cooker recipes this season and make it easy on both of us to make cheap, easy and filling meals for yourself and your friends/family who basically expect you to feed them and rely on you. Or is that just me? I have a lot of friends who are always looking for food hand outs lol.
Any slow cooker you have laying around that is a standard size (not individual sized) will do for this recipe, I used my Ninja Cooking System because I could sauté the onions, garlic and ginger right in the cooking insert over the medium heat setting. I don’t like having extra dishes to do when I make slow cooker recipes, so I find this convenient for me and the thing I hate most about cooking is dishes honestly. If you haven’t signed up to my newsletter yet to stay up to date on new (and favourite free) recipes you can sign up in the pink box on the upper right hand side of the screen there too.
Plant-Based Butternut Squash & Chickpea Coconut Curry (Slow Cooker Recipe)
1 medium butternut squash (about 5 cups) peeled, de-seeded and cubed
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked 8 hours or overnight
1 medium onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 inch chunk of ginger, minced
1 can 13.5 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can 13.5 ounce light coconut milk
3 cups/1 litre low sodium vegetable broth
2.5 tablespoons yellow curry powder
1 tsp sugar or honey
2 bay leaves
4 large handfuls of baby spinach or 1 bunch of fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 cups frozen sweet peas
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1. Carefully cut the skin off the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cut into 1 inch cubes. To make cutting easier you can slice is in half and microwave the squash for 3 minutes and let cool before cutting.
2. *Optional step: sauté the onions, garlic and ginger in a pan with a little water or in the insert of a Ninja Cooking System.* Assemble all of the ingredients in your slow cooker excluding the peas, spinach, salt and cilantro. Cook on low for 8 hours.
3. About 20 minutes before serving, add in the fresh peas and spinach and stir until spinach is wilted.
4. Taste test and add salt as desired. For a slightly thicker sauce you can use a potato masher and mash some of the squash and chickpeas.
5. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. (I prepared 3 rice cups of basmati rice in my Zojirushi rice cooker)
Dried chickpeas are best as they will absorb the flavor of the curry as they cook. Don’t use canned chickpeas and cook this for 8 hours as that’s completely unnecessary, 4-6 hours maximum as they’re already cooked.
The night before, sort and rinse the dried chickpeas in a strainer, place in a large bowl and cover with at least 6 cups of water. Alternatively you can do the Quick Soak Method: bring the rinsed chickpeas to a boil in a pot of water and cook for 1 minute and let soak for at least an hour. I find slow soaked chickpeas rather than quick soak chickpeas more tender when cooked, but it’s up to you.
For easy frozen meals later, freeze small portions of the curry and rice separately in tupperware containers.
Question: Have you started using your slow cooker yet this season? What’s your favorite recipe?