And now, I will present to you THIS.
THIS being one of my most obnoxiously crazy, out of control, too many things all in one bowl but SO GOOD food creations of 2014. It should probably be called, in it’s truest deepest most honest self –> Rice and Lentil Curry Bowls with Spicy Roasted Carrots, Avocado, and Cashew Cilantro Sauce. But your mouth has better things to be doing than saying that long jumble of a food name, such as a) eating said food, b) talking about it with me, and b) smiling about the avocado slices, so we’ll just say Lentil Curry Bowl and know that all those other yums come included.
This is less of a recipe and more of a food combination that has got it going on. It has spicy, coolness, comfort food, and nutritional powerhouse written all over it. And bonus! It has the potential to be uniquely flavored and textured every time you make it based on what’s striking your food fancy and/or how much time you have before you have to drive over Target to buy those discounted Christmas decorations.
You could make one part (curry), two parts (curry and roasted carrots), or all parts (curry and roasted carrots and sauce) – mmkay I have to get going though, because those discounted ornaments? Suhhh glittery.
In real life talk, I have been totally out of commission for the last week or so, as I might have casually mentioned a few times like I do when I’m sick.
Last weekend (or a year ago? geez, it feels like forever since that happened) Bjork and I went on mini-vacation up north, then I took a four-day-no-work sick vacation on the couch, and somewhere in there four family Christmas celebrations happened along with the weekend and cold temperatures requiring full-time house hibernation with blankets and pajamas and slippers and hot tea. And there went a week! I’m feeling better, but whoa. Work is like a whole untouched universe that my eyes haven’t even looked at for what feels like for-ev-er. And by work I mean food and cooking, because my life is so weird and wonderful in that way.
So these healthy Lentil Curry Bowls are like food giving me a hug again. They’re my warm up back into the game of healthy person life. They’re my MUST EAT VEGETABLES BUT CAN’T DO GREENS life-saving winter meal. They’re pre-gaming me for all the goat-cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates I will eat on New Year’s Eve.
They’re mostly completely random and really, really good.
For the base of the bowl, we’re loading up on an adapted version of my favorite recipe of almost all time, Red Curry Lentils, but with rice added in to sort of hearty-it-up a little bit.
Over the rice and lentil curry goes the warm, spicy roasted carrots + a few slices of avocado because obvi, and drizzled over everything is the barely sweet and creamy cashew cilantro sauce.
A few extra sprigs of cilantro for color and fresh zingy and now we’re in business with this Lentil Curry Bowl thing.
This recipe was inspired by a great blog called In Pursuit of More – I love love love her recipes and she makes me want to eat healthy food like it’s my life. Fist bump! Thanks, Shira.
These Lentil Curry Bowls have roasted carrots, sliced avocado, and a creamy cilantro cashew sauce. Powerhouse comfort food!
For the Cilantro Cashew Sauce:
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup cashews (mine were salted)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
For the Roasted Carrots:
- 8-10 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt to taste
For the Rice and Lentil Curry:
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (or ground cumin)
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
- 14 ounces tomato puree
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- pinch of salt
- avocado and cilantro for topping
- For the sauce, puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust.
- For the carrots, toss all ingredients together. Roast at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and roasty. <– favorite word.
- Cook the rice according to package directions. I used a rice cooker.
- For the curry, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the curry paste and spices; saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the lentils, tomato sauce, and broth. Simmer until lots of the liquid has evaporated – continue adding 1/2 cup of liquid as needed (the lentils will just keep soaking it up). Repeat this process for about 30-45 minutes until the lentils are soft.
- Add the rice to the lentil mixture; stir to combine, adding extra broth or water as necessary. Season with salt.
- Serve in bowls topped with the roasted carrots, avocado slices, cilantro, and cilantro cashew dressing.
Nutrition information includes all measurable elements of the recipe (sauce, carrots, rice + lentil curry). Does not include avocado.