Black Lentil and Butternut Squash Curry

Finally, finally, finally– I made something new in the kitchen yesterday!  Inspired by Jenna’s delectable-looking Spicy Lentils with Sweet Potato and Kale recipe, I decided to put my own spin on a fiery Indian-inspired lentil stew chock full of veggies that is also vegan, gluten-free and absolutely delicious!

I started with my usual stew base of a chopped onion, six cloves of chopped garlic, and some finely chopped ginger (about an inch-long piece).
IMG_4284 Black lentil butternut curry onions
I also grabbed a red pepper and two of these long green hot peppers to dice.
IMG_4285 Black lentil butternut curry peppers whole
Butternut squash made an appearance as well (about half of a medium squash).
IMG_4286 Black lentil butternut curry butternut squash
The peppers and squash were all diced up!
IMG_4287 Black lentil butternut curry chopped peppers and butternut
Once the first round of veggies were prepped, I started to cook!  I melted a bit of coconut oil in a pan, and added in the onion, garlic and ginger.
IMG_4289 Black lentil butternut curry onions in pot
I let the mixture cook down a bit, until it browned up.
IMG_4292 Black lentil butternut curry onions browned
I next tossed in the squash and peppers, and gave it a good stir.  At this point, I also added a few cups of veggie stock so the veggies, particularly so the squash, could cook!
IMG_4293 Black lentil butternut curry onions peppers squash in pot
Meanwhile, while the veggies softened, I took out four lovely tomatoes.
IMG_4294 Black lentil butternut curry tomatoes whole
Of course, into the pot they also went!  You don’t need to add a ton of stock or water here since the tomatoes release a good amount of cooking liquid.
IMG_4295 Black lentil butternut curry with tomatoes in pot
Veggie count-down so far. . . 5!  We’ve got onion, 2 kinds of pepper, butternut squash and tomatoes, and at least one more is still to come!

I then scoured my pantry for the star ingredient– black lentils!  This is an ingredient I had purchased a while ago but had not yet experimented with.  According to the bag, you just have to treat them like regular lentils.
IMG_4291 Black lentil butternut curry black lentil bag
I added about 3/4 cup of the lentils into the pot, along with just a bit more water (enough so most of the veggies and lentils were submerged) so the lentils could cook.
IMG_4296 Black lentil butternut curry with lentils in pot
After I vigorous stir so the lentils were submerged, I then sprinkled in a parade of spices.

The main spice involved is this Balti curry powder.  Honestly, I didn’t detect anything special about it– any old curry powder will do.  I added in two tablespoons.
IMG_4288 Black lentil butternut curry Balti curry
Then, I included the following:  2 bay leaves, about one teaspoon each of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, turmeric, two teaspoons of cumin, and a few dashes of red pepper flakes.
IMG_4299 Black lentil butternut curry with spices in pot
I mixed it up again, and then made the last-minute (smart) decision to add in half of a bag of frozen chopped greens I had hiding in the freezer.  I splash of green is definitely what I needed to perfect this curry!  By the way, notice how the black lentils turn brown when cooked!  Too bad– I thought they looked cool as is!
IMG_4301 Black lentil butternut curry cooking 1
I let it simmer until the lentils absorbed much of the liquid and the squash was tender (about twenty minutes or so).  The end result was spot-on.
IMG_4304 Black lentil butternut curry cooked in pot
It is quite the curry-ation if I do say so myself!  This stew is spicy, savory, ridiculously healthy and unbelievable delicious!  If you like Indian food, you will love this– it reminds me of a chunky lentil soup my mom makes!

After it cooled, I packed it up in some Gladware.  Now, I happily have dinner for the week!  Bulk cooking at its finest indeed.
IMG_4307 Black lentil butternut curry side angle 2

I can’t wait for dinner tonight!

Are you a fan of beany stews like this one?  What’s your favorite legume?

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