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Coconut Vegetable Curry

This richly flavored Coconut Vegetable Curry uses curry powder amped up with a few extra spices to get loads of flavor without loads of measuring. It's my favorite way to use the coconut milk left after scooping out the coconut cream for other recipes. This brightly colored curry comes together in just 20 minutes of active time with an extra 10 minutes of simmering. Great for comfort food during the week or dinner with friends.

coconut vegetable curry on quinoa in a white bowl

Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes. Serves 4. Vegan and gluten free.

Cost: $2.76 a serving including quinoa, with organic ingredients

2 teaspoons peanut oil or other neutral oil such as sunflower seed oil
2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped (one red and one green if available)
2 carrots, cut into quarter moons
1 1/4 cups full-fat coconut milk without most of the coconut cream or light coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup roasted and salted cashews
fresh chives, cilantro, or basil for garnish, optional

2 cups hot cooked quinoa, rice, barley, or noodles

  1. Measure spices and chop vegetables, because this recipe goes quickly once you turn on the heat. In a medium pot, heat peanut oil over medium low heat. Add minced garlic and ginger, stirring once. Stir in curry powder, turmeric, and chipotle powder. Add chopped onions, carrots, and bell pepper, stirring to coat with spices. Cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring to avoid burning.

    coconut vegetable curry cooking in a pot with bell peppers, carrots, onion, and sauce

  2. Add coconut milk, salt, and frozen peas. (You can see a little coconut cream floating like an iceberg in the picture below.) Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

    1 cup coconut milk with coconut cream floating in it like an iceberg next to a can of full-fat organic coconut milk

  3. Serve over hot cooked quinoa, rice, barley, or noodles, topped with cashews and fresh herbs. Keeps refrigerated for 5 days or frozen for a year.

    coconut vegetable curry topped with salted cashews and chives

Recipe notes

  • Coconut milk. Many dessert recipes call for coconut cream, the fat that rises to the top of a chilled can of whole-fat coconut milk. This curry uses the clear liquid left over plus a tablespoon or so of coconut cream. 
  • Other vegetables. Mix and match vegetables based on what you have on hand, aiming for a total of about 5 cups of chopped or cubed onions, carrots, bell peppers, green beans, summer squash, sweet potato, winter squash, or tomatoes.
  • Make it even easier. Skip the turmeric and chipotle. Use 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of curry powder instead.

Nutritional information (1 serving or 1/4 recipe with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa)

[Note: the nutritional information shows using half full-fat coconut milk and half light coconut milk to adjust for removing most of the coconut cream.]

Calories: 429. Percent of calories from fat: 42%, carbohydrates: 47%, protein: 11%.

Protein 13 grams (25% daily value), total fat: 21 grams (32%), cholesterol 0 grams, total carbohydrates 53 grams (18%), dietary fiber 8 grams (33%)

Calcium 80 mg (8%), iron 7 mg (39%), potassium 1080 mg (31%), zinc 4 mg (24%), Vitamin C 66 mg (110%), Vitamin A 10873 IU (217%), Vitamin B6 0.5 mg (24%), Thiamin B1 0.3 mg (22%), Riboflavin B2 0.3 mg (17%), Folacin 88 mcg (22%)

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