Is anyone else still in a food coma?
It’s officially the holiday season, and we kicked things off RIGHT on Thanksgiving. Lots of food, bloody Mary’s, champagne, wine, and family. We promptly followed that up with visiting a Christmas display on Friday, followed by a delicious lunch out. Then, on Saturday we started decorating our own house to the nines…followed by another delicious meal out on Saturday evening. The only thing we’re missing at this point is our actual tree. We get a real one, and last year, we bought it a touch too early and the darn thing was practically dead by Christmas Eve. So, we’re holding out until this weekend to get it up.
It’s been tough. All of the Thanksgiving leftovers (oh, and the chicken nachos I made yesterday for football Sunday) have been keeping us going.
But the weekend is over now. And even though my plan is to test out a few new holiday baking recipes this week, it’s time to get my regular scheduled eating back on track. No one can survive on wine and cheeseballs and apple pie bars alone. Well, I could…but shouldn’t.
This accidentally vegan and gluten-free meal should do the trick. When I say “accidentally” I really mean it! It’s no secret that we are big meat eater in my house, but I do cook A LOT of vegan/vegetarian meals without really meaning to. A lot of my recipes sort of just end up that way. And while there may be no dairy or meat in this dish, it certainly is not lacking on flavor. It’s comfort food! Yes, vegan comfort food! Take it from this carnivore.
I love Thai curries. I have been making them at home for years now and the flavors influence a lot of my other cooking. Spicy, warm, savory, cool, bright, light, sweet. Thai food makes me think of incredible flavors and textures. It’s a fun sensory experience to eat true Thai food. And ya know what? Once you establish the Asian ingredients in your pantry, you’re set to make hundreds of delicious things. Sure, it may be a little intimidating picking up that first bottle of curry paste or fish sauce, but once you have these in your arsenal, you’ll be thanking me. SO. MUCH. FLAVOR.
This curry starts out the way a lot do: veggies sautéed until tender-crisp in coconut oil followed by a combo of aromatics that will make the house smell like heaven. Ginger, garlic, curry paste, and chile paste. Then comes the delicious liquids that everything will swim in: coconut milk, veggie stock, and a touch of vinegar. Then for some heft (and to distract us from the fact that there is zero cheese or meat happening here), some cubed butternut squash and cauliflower florets. Everything gets simmered together in a big pot until the flavors have made magic and the veggies are tender. All that’s left to do is eat it.
You can eat this as is (just promise me you’ll do a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top first) or over rice noodles or cooked rice. It’s delicious no matter what you decide to do. I assure you, you’ll be warmed and comforted through and through.
Another great part? Because this is so darn good for you, you can eat bowls upon bowls of it and still feel like a million bucks.
It’s just what we need to survive the holidays, don’t you think? I’m off to the store to stock up on butter and sugar, after all!
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons gochujang chile paste
4 cups vegetable stock
1 (15-oz) can light coconut milk
1 (15-oz) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (omit if keeping this vegan - you can sub in miso paste or soy sauce instead)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3 cups cubed butternut squash (seeded and peeled)
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into florets
Cooked rice or rice noodles
Fresh lime wedges
Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the bell pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add in the curry paste and chile paste and stock and bring to a simmer.
Once the mixture is simmering, stir in the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, and vinegar. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Return the mixture to a simmer and add in the squash and cauliflower. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the veggies are tender.
Place some cooked rice or rice noodles in each serving bowl and ladle over the coconut curry broth and vegetables.
Garnish as desired with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and scallions. I like an extra drizzle of hot sauce in this. Serve warm!