thai lentil & sweet potato curry
This week, to add something creamy, a bit sweet and packed full of protein to the lineup of meals that I prepped for carryout, as it were, I went with a recipe that I haven't made in some time. When I was vegan for awhile, one of the staples in my diet were lentils...all sorts of lentils. One of my all time favorites was always red lentils as it tends to melt when cooked so creates this wonderful creamy curry texture that I really enjoy. The creaminess comes from that and coconut milk which makes it a great meal for vegans and vegetarians alike.
I also use a cheat to pack in the flavor - in the form of Thai yellow curry paste. It's got a wonderful mix of Thai and Indian flavors in it like turmeric and it's sugar free, gluten free, oil and nut free. You can get these wonderful Thai pastes in a variety to flavors...you will see from my past recipes that I have used both the green curry paste (Thai Green Chicken Curry) and the red curry paste already (Red Curry Noodle Soup). I have actually made this recipe using the red curry paste as well and it was delicious. So use what you have on hand and you should always have these in your pantry arsenal!
Bonus, this was made in my beloved Instapot! So really, it was super simple to make and so warming on a cool day. If you don't have an Instapot (you really should though!), then you can certainly make this on the stove. You would just need to double the cooking time and use a dutch pot or a deep pan with a lid to aid in the cooking process! Here is the line up:
It already looks so yummy and the one of the weird ingredients that I use with this dish is peanut butter! It adds so much to the dish! You will want to use it a lot more than just PB&J sandwiches after this - even though PB&J sandwiches are delicious... Ugh off topic. Moving on to Instapot magic!
While most of the ingredients will be dump and go, there are a few things that you do want to take the time to do to develop the flavors. For one, you want to really take the time to cook the onions in sauté mode. Then you want to add in the ginger and sweet potato and cook a bit more. Lastly, you want to add in the Thai yellow curry paste and really toast up the flavors before adding everything else in. Then you just let the Instapot take care of the rest. Once the initial cooking is done, you can add the coconut milk, spinach and cilantro. Those things will just cook down in the hot curry perfectly. That's it! What you are left with is this beauty...
Of course, me being me, I had to add some heat to this dish in the end. I drizzled some sriracha and topped mine with some red chilies and red onions but you can certainly keep this milder and even add in some sliced up avocado if you wanted. If you really wanted to spice things up, feel free to add some green chilies with the onions in the beginning of the dish. The rest of the meal that I was composing for my takeaways were high on the spice so I wanted this dish to be a nice change to that balance. As always with my dishes, take it a base and transform them to what works for you and your family!
Thai Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry
2 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp Thai yellow curry paste
3 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium) or water
3/4 cup dry red lentils
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tbsp (generous Tbsp) creamy peanut butter
1 can coconut milk, 14 oz
1 lime, juiced
1 1/2 cup baby spinach
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
salt, to taste
Set the Instapot to sauté mode on medium setting. Add oil, onion and salt. Cook until soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger and sweet potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the yellow curry paste and cook for another minute until everything is fragrant.
Add the broth, lentils, fish sauce, soy sauce and peanut butter. Give everything a good mix and cover, making sure the valve is on "Seal". Cook on high pressure on manual for 10 minutes. (If cooking on the stovetop, at this point, you would bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover your pot, and let cook for about 20 minutes.)
Quick release once done and set back to sauté mode. Stir in the coconut milk, spinach, lime juice and cook another 5 minutes. Right before serving, stir in the cilantro so that it keeps it's vibrant coloring.
Garnish how you would like (some options are cilantro, finely sliced onions, red chili oil, sriracha, chopped chilies, pomegranate seeds, etc...). Serve over rice with some fresh roti's or warm naan!