Friday, January 28, 2011

Vegan recipe of the week: Red Lentil Curry

Recently I decided to give up most meat foods (other than the occasional local salmon), and I am exploring the benefits of a vegan diet. I know several other athletes and runners that have seen improvements in their health and running after switching to a vegan diet. I will not fully give up dairy and eggs, but I want to rely on them less as the protein source of my meals. Hence, I am making a move toward a mostly vegan diet.

As I try more vegan recipes and learn more about vegan eating, I will share my recipes and insights here.

This Indian recipe adapted from the new "Vij's at Home" cookbook.

My version is actually a lot simpler and quicker. I would like to make the full version at some point, but my whole family actually like this one.

Red Lentil Curry (serve over rice)

2 cups finely chopped onion (one large or two small)
vegetable oil
5 cups water
1 3/4 cup dried red (orange) lentils
1 28-ounce can Roma tomatoes with water
1 Tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar (optional, depends on how sour your tamarind paste is)
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp masala spice mix or to taste

Saute onion in a medium-to-large pot in hot oil for about 5 minutes. Add water and lentils and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and cook partially covered for about 20 minutes or until soft, adding a bit more water if needed. Add can of tomatoes with water, mashing into smaller pieces in the pot, and stir completely. Add tamarind paste, cumin, tumeric, and sugar (if desired). Add peas. Allow to simmer for another 10 minutes or so. At this point or earlier you can add the masala spice, although I leave it out add on the table because my daughter doesn't like things too spicy. It will have a very mild flavour without it, but maybe a bit too mild for most. You shouldn't need extra salt because the tomatoes are salted.
Serve over rice and enjoy!


  1. Printed and going to make this weekend, thanks! Oh and I have not been able to give up salmon yet, I dont know if I am happy sad or indifferent about it but it has proven to be the hardest to give up.

  2. Hope you like it Jason.
    As I said I'm not trying to go completely vegan, and I hope using the term doesn't offend anyone in that way. The wild salmon we have out here is sustainable and abundant and I don't feel like I'm harming the environment by eating it. Other things I am trying to make better choices about.
    I still haven't given up dairy and eggs completely either, and I'm not sure I will but I have cut way back (and make good choices about those). I don't think that any diet should be about complete restriction (unless there is an allergy or intolerance, of course) but about making overall healthy choices.

  3. Look delish Jennifer - I'm going to try this one!