Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Lentil and Cauliflower Curry

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato, Lentil and Cauliflower Curry | A Sweet SpoonfulHello, January! I still hear people out on the street and in my exercise class wishing one another a happy New Year and it brings a smile to my face — there’s something about this time of year that feels truly hopeful. It’s not so much about goals or resolutions for me (although it used to be); it’s more about checking in with each other, wishing one another well and doing better by ourselves and for ourselves. I remember one of the things I loved about being pregnant was how often people asked me how I was feeling — from my caregivers to friends, family, acquaintances, the woman making my coffee on my way to work. And they waited for a genuine answer. They seemed to really care. What a revelation! To check in with people in a very real way about how they’re feeling! Let’s keep it up for at least a few more weeks, shall we?

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato, Lentil and Cauliflower Curry | A Sweet SpoonfulYesterday we went to the Seattle Art Museum to visit the Andrew Wyeth exhibit on its very last day — I’ve wanted to go for some time, and Sam and I even planned a Day Date last month when we had a sitter, but the museum happened to be closed that day. Soooo, we went yesterday with Oliver, Sam quite positive that we’d all have a nice experience looking at art and me a bit doubtful that I’d get a chance to truly ingest and absorb much of it at all. Can you guess who was right?

It turns out, if you have the inkling to go to a museum exhibit you’re really excited about with a two year old, you should expect to spend the brunt of the time riding the escalators up and down … and back up again. And making promises about snacks you’ll find together that don’t actually exist. But I did have one takeaway in the whirlwind half hour or so I spent chasing a crazed, small person around the viewing rooms — and that is that inspiration is so often right outside our window or front door.

This time of year so many of us are thinking about new ways to approach work, life, parenting, self care: what apps can you buy to make things easier and fresh? What ways can you mix up how you approach meal planning, what goals do you have for the house or the garden this spring? What new friendships do you want to foster? Something I found interesting about Andrew Wyeth was that his large body of work really focused on the view outside the window or door of his residence in Pennsylvania or his summer home in Maine. So many paintings and such rich stories and history spanning years … from largely the same vantage point.

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato, Lentil and Cauliflower Curry | A Sweet SpoonfulIn many ways I think this is an important little nudge for this time of year, a reminder that we can do better for others and ourselves and work towards many of our goals and resolutions without grand gestures, different apps on our phone, or the infinite search for newness. Oftentimes, the inspiration we’re looking for is right outside the window, and perhaps we can even reach it sometimes without moving a muscle.

*                                  *                                        *

This is a slow cooker curry, and I’m hoping some of you are luddites like me and are still using your slow cooker instead of the Instant Pot (I just can’t justify another appliance, you guys!). I think the slow cooker is still the best weeknight hack for busy families, and this is a great winter recipe as it’s filling; has a good hit of protein thanks to the lentils; and marries the flavors of curry, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric, making the house smell like a dream. We’ve been serving this with brown rice, although it’d be great on its own with a big slice of buttery naan. Good fuel for gazing out the window and trying to see things in a new light this week; I hope you get a chance to do just that.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Lentil and Cauliflower Curry

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Lentil and Cauliflower Curry

  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep time: 25 mins
  • Cook time: 7 hrs
  • Total time: 7 hrs 25 mins

The work here is really in chopping the veggies; beyond that, this curry makes itself. If you’d like to add some chopped greens (kale or spinach would be great), you could do so at the very end and let them wilt in the hot curry. I thought about adding frozen peas, too, which I may do next time around. You’ll have a little leftover coconut milk, which I save and use in smoothies so as not to waste any ingredients. Leftover curry is great for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or freeze for harried weeknights in the future.

Ingredients

Non-stick cooking spray
1 medium head cauliflower, florets only, about 3 cups
4 1/2 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato (from about 2 medium)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups (400g) dried red lentils, rinsed
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves, to top
4 green onions, thinly sliced, to top
toasted cashew halves, to top (optional)
Cooked brown rice or naan, to serve
Plain Greek yogurt, to serve (omit to keep recipe vegan)

Instructions

Coat a 5-6 quart electric slow cooker with cooking spray.

Place the cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, water, lentils, broth, curry paste, garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon stick, salt, and tomato paste in the slow cooker. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Turn off the heat, stir in coconut milk and remove cinnamon stick. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve with rice, chopped cilantro, green onions, toasted cashews and a spoonful of plain yogurt.

Comments

  1. Cara

    This looks absolutely delicious! Just what our family needs. Planning on making it this Thursday. I hope you and your sweet family are well. We miss you guys!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Cara! We miss you guys, too. I hope you like the recipe, and hope you're doing well! xox

  2. sam-c

    Thank you so much for this recipe. It sounds so tasty and hope to make it this week. I am trying to make more vegetarian recipes that aren't so cheesy, or full of pasta. This sounds like perfect January comfort food !!!
    Cheers to you a brave trip to a museum!! It does get better, (glacially slowly though). We went Saturday, with a 4 year old and a 9 year old. It started out to seem to be a disaster to bring the 4 year old (general whining and uncooperativeness), then I remembered I needed to engage him very directly and specifically. Like, one particular Wyeth painting, I asked him what feelings he thought the boy in the painting had. I was surprised when he said, "it looks like he got kicked out of his house", and then he continued to make the same pouty lips as the boy in the painting. But continue to bring your son, it's fun to see it all through their eyes. (our son was blown away by the Kusama exhibit too) We ended up leaving because our 9 year old (initially very excited to see the Wyeth paintings) was uncomfortable (headache) and hot due to the crowds. :) You can never predict how it will go, but try anyway!

    1. sam-c

      We did make this last week, and our family really enjoyed it. Thank you!

  3. Abby

    I own neither an Instant Pot nor a slow cooker and I'd really like to try making this curry - can you give me some advice on cooking it on a regular gas stove?

  4. Glory

    Thank you for the inspirational post! And another way to use Thai red curry- since I accidentally bought 2 :0 Can’t wait to try this!

    1. megang

      I hope you enjoy it, Glory!

  5. Casey

    OOPS! I just made this for tonight but I put the coconut milk in with everything! Will this still be edible, do you think? (new mom brain over here...)

    1. megang

      Hi, Casey! Oh it'll totally be edible. It'll be just fine - the coconut milk really doesn't need to cook for that many hours (or much at all), which is why it's added at the end. But it won't hurt it. Let me know how you liked it.

  6. Jeni

    I just made this for dinner and dang, it was tasty. I got the slow cooker out and then just put it away and made it on the stovetop since red lentils cook so quickly....I'd say if you've got the time for all that chopping, you may as well just cook it the old fashioned way since it really comes together quickly--cook time was prob less than 30 min. Thanks for the recipe--so fab! I also used the whole can of coconut milk so I didn't have to stress about using up the rest and it worked great!

    1. megang

      Awesome; thank you so much for the feedback, Jeni! I'll try it on the stovetop next time (and I know a few readers asked, so really great to have your timing cues /tips). So glad you all enjoyed it!

  7. Bree

    This is a great forgiving recipe. I made several errors and the meal was still good. I used two sweet potatoes that probably produced more than 4.5 cups. I was rushing through the recipe before church and accidentally put the coconut milk in at the start, but there didn't seem to be any adverse effects. Per the header notes, I finished off a bag of frozen peas (maybe 3/4 to 1 cup) by adding them at the end. We topped it with scallions and toasted peanuts because I accidentally bought peanuts instead of cashews. I did buy cilantro but totally forgot about it so we'll try that on the leftovers. I froze half the recipe since I was only cooking for two.

    1. megang

      Yes, Bree! So glad to hear you loved it. I really, really love this recipe too and am all about forgiving recipes these days. It's getting to be the perfect time of year to pull this one out again. Thanks for the nudge :)

      1. Bree

        It was especially tasty served over coconut rice!

  8. Syd

    Is there any nutritional information on this? It was delicious!

    1. megang

      So sorry, Syd. There's not at this time. Thanks so much,

Join the Discussion

The Thanksgiving Table

A Top Contender

A Top Contender

Today is a different kind of day. Usually posts on this blog come about with the narrative and I manage to squeeze in a recipe. But sometimes when you really stumble upon a winning recipe, it speaks for itself. We'll likely make these beans for Thanksgiving this year. They're one of those simple stunners that you initially think couldn't be much of a thing. And then they come out of the oven all sweet and withered and flecked with herbs. You try one and you realize they are, in fact, a pretty big thing. 

Read More
Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie with Kamut Crust

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie with Kamut Crust

I always force myself to wait until after Halloween to start thinking much about holiday pies or, really, future holidays in general. But this year I cheated a bit, tempted heavily by the lure of a warmly-spiced sweet potato pie that I used to make back when I baked pies for a living in the Bay Area (way back when). We seem to always have sweet potatoes around as they're one of Oliver's favorite foods, and when I roast them for his lunch I've been wishing I could turn them into a silky pie instead. So the other day I reserved part of the sweet potatoes for me. For a pie that I've made hundreds of times in the past, this time reimagined with fragrant brown butter, sweetened solely with maple syrup, and baked into a flaky kamut crust. We haven't started talking about the Thanksgiving menu yet this year, but I know one thing for sure: this sweet potato pie will make an appearance.

Read More
Bring the Happy

Bring the Happy

It has begun. Talk of who is bringing what, where we'll buy the turkey, what kind of pies I'll make, early morning texts concerning brussels sprouts.  There's no getting around it: Thanksgiving is on its way. And with it comes the inevitable reflecting back and thinking about what we're thankful for. And about traditions. The funny thing about traditions is that they exist because they've been around for a long time. Year after year after year. But then, one Thanksgiving maybe there's something new at the table.

Read More
For You, With Thanks

For You, With Thanks

I didn't expect green beans to bring up such a great discussion on traditions, sharing of poems and how a piece of writing can linger with you. So thank you for that. Your comments pointed out how important people and place are and how food takes the back seat when it  comes right down to it. Even if you feel quite warm towards Thanksgiving and are looking forward to next week, reading about recipe suggestions and meal planning online and in magazines can start to feel tiresome right about now. Why? Because I suppose when it all comes down to it, in the big picture it doesn't matter what we all serve anyway. Next year, you likely won't remember one year's vegetable side dish from another. What you'll remember are the markers that dotted the year for you: whom you sat next to at the table, a toast or grace, and the sense of gratitude you felt for something -- large or small.

Read More
How to Break a Thanksgiving Tradition

How to Break a Thanksgiving Tradition

I got a text from my mom the other day that read: demerara sugar? I responded back with a question mark, not sure what she was referencing. It turns out she was experimenting with a new pie recipe that called for the natural sugar and wasn't sure why she couldn't just use white sugar as that's what she's always done in the past. A few days later we talked on the phone and she mentioned she'd let me take charge of the salad for Thanksgiving this year as long as there was no kale. No kale! And I wanted to do the mashed potatoes? Would they still be made with butter and milk? In short, we're always willing to mix things up in the Gordon household. Whether it's inspiration from a food magazine, friend or coworker, either my mom or one of my sisters will often have an idea for something new to try at the holiday table. But what I've slowly learned is that it can't really be that different: there must be pumpkin pie, the can of cranberry sauce is necessary even though not many people actually eat it, the onion casserole is non-negotiable, the salad can't be too out there, and the potatoes must be made with ample butter and milk. And while I was really scheming up an epic kale salad to make this year, there's a big part of me that gets it, too: if we change things too much we won't recognize the part of the day that comes to mean so much: the pure recognition. We take comfort in traditions because we recognize them -- because they're always there, year after year. And so today I present to you (mom, are you reading?): this year's Gordon family Thanksgiving salad.

Read More