When it’s 5 p.m. on a weeknight and I’m only just then starting to think about what I’ll be eating for dinner in a mere hour or so, this is a typical meatless meal that I make. I love quick curries and stir-fries, which are often just a mishmash of whatever vegetables I happen to have in the fridge.
This Green Tomato Lentil Curry comes together quickly for lunch or dinner, but always tastes multi-layered, like one might have spent hours stirring this deliciousness together. And except for the green tomatoes, I almost always have these ingredients in my pantry.
Unlike other legumes or beans, red lentils cook so quickly (just 15-20 minutes usually) that it’s a wonder I don’t cook with them every day. I do love them though, in this easy curry as well as in my Super Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup.
Red lentils also shine with their high fibre and protein amounts, which will both satiate your appetite, keep you feeling full for longer and help balance your blood sugar. In fact, red lentils have about 22-26 grams of protein and 29 grams of fibre per 1/2 cup (dry weight). The daily recommended amount of fibre for women is (a minimum of) 25 g and 38 g for men so lentils are VERY high in fibre.
Red lentils are also an excellent source of iron and magnesium. Iron is key to healthy energy levels–especially when we’re too busy working or running around to even think about dinner before 5 p.m.–while magnesium acts as a calming mineral to help our muscles relax (this is equally key after a hard, long day of work!).
I use green tomatoes in this recipe because I always have lots from the garden at the end of the season (and I freeze all my extras before the first frost). I appreciate the tang of green tomatoes in this, but since these are essentially just unripe tomatoes, I realize that most people won’t find these in their regular grocery store. Feel free to substitute red ones. It’ll be just as good I’m sure! You can swap out the broccoli for another favourite veggie if you like.
Here’s the recipe:
Green Tomato Lentil Curry (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)
- 1 Tb coconut oil
- 2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
- ½ tsp whole fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes optional for spice; increase or decrease depending on whether you like things spicy!
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 1 ½ cups chopped green tomatoes
- 1 medium sweet potato about 1 generous cup, chopped into small cubes
- ½ cup dry uncooked red lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup of chopped broccoli small florets
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Generous amount of ground pepper
- 1 cup coconut milk I like a canned, organic, BPA-free variety because the curry benefits for maximum creaminess
Over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds, cooking for about 30 seconds or until they begin to pop. Keep a pot lid handy in case the seeds start to pop out of the pan. Shake often.
Add the fenugreek and red pepper flakes (if using) for 30 seconds or until they just begin to release their aromas. Watch these carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Add garlic and red onion and cook for 1 minute until the onion begins to soften.
Add 1 cup of water. Add the green tomatoes, sweet potato and red lentils. Stir well.
Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until sweet potatoes are just barely tender.
Sprinkle broccoli florets over the top, replace the cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli is bright green and tender. Remove from heat.
Add spices, salt, pepper and coconut milk and mix well. If the curry is too thick, add ¼ cup (or more) of water to thin to your liking.
Serve on its own, or with brown rice or quinoa.
Life is a plate… Eat up!