Three Vegan Recipes In One

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

Since Mat and I are giving veganism a try, we've had to get a little creative about what we cook at home.  To be honest, it hasn't been that tough, since we never cook meat (mostly because we're too lazy to go out and buy it), and we rarely buy dairy.  The two dairy products we use most often are butter and cheese, but even those don't get too much play at our house. 

Still, I want to make sure we're getting a nice variety of foods at home, so that we don't get bored with a vegan diet, and so that we get a good balance of nutrients.  

We had a bag of red kidney beans hanging out in our cupboard, as well as some leftover vegetable scraps, so I decided to make a vegetable stock and cook the kidney beans in it until they were nice and soft.  

Then I found an Indian-inspired kidney bean curry recipe, which I adapted a little bit based on the ingredients I had on hand.  The result was so delicious I had to share it with you.  I know kidney beans in and of themselves are not very sexy, but this was a hearty and comforting dish that I will definitely make again. 

INDIAN-INSPIRED KIDNEY BEAN & CAULIFLOWER CURRY

Kidney Bean Cauliflower Curry

I adapted this recipe from a similar one by Sunset.

Serves 6-8

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed 4- to 5-qt. pot or saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion and fry, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  • Stir in cinnamon, garlic, ginger, fennel, cumin, and cardamom and fry, stirring, 2 minutes.
  • Add chili powder, ground coriander, turmeric, and garam masala and fry, stirring, 1 minute.
  • Squeeze tomatoes into pot with your fingers.
  • Stir in dried red chili, salt, kidney beans, cauliflower, and 2 cups water.
  • Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and liquid has thickened into a velvety-looking sauce (add more water if necessary).  
  • Season beans with salt to taste.
  • Stir in lemon juice and cilantro.
  • Serve hot over basmati rice.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2-in.)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 plum tomatos, diced
  • 1 dried red chili 
  • About 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 6 cups kidney beans, cooked in vegetable stock (see recipe below) and drained
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2- to 1-in. florets
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 6 to 8 cups cooked basmati rice

VEGETABLE STOCK

This stock can be used for cooking beans, grains, rice, or risotto, or any other recipe for which you might need stock.  It gives an added flavor boost to any dish, and can be easily made from your kitchen scraps.  Make a habit of setting aside the by-products of your chopping board, save them in a bowl in your fridge, and you'll always have ingredients for vegetable stock on hand.

WHAT TO DO

  • Place your vegetable scraps in a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven
  • Fill with enough water to cover your vegetable scraps
  • Add garlic cloves and season with salt
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
  • Simmer, uncovered for 3-4 hours, skimming scum off the top as necessary
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool before transferring to containers
  • Will keep in the fridge for about a week, in the freezer for about 4 weeks

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Enough vegetable scraps to nearly fill a stock pot - this can include onion and garlic ends, cauliflower stalks, herb stems, ends of root vegetables like carrots and beetroot, broccoli stems, tomato cores, etc.
  • Salt
  • Handful of garlic cloves, smashed

KIDNEY BEANS COOKED IN VEGETABLE STOCK

The stock adds a level of complex flavor to the beans, which don't carry a lot of their own natural flavor.  I felt this extra step rounded out the flavor profile of the above recipe quite nicely.

WHAT TO DO

  • Place kidney beans in a bowl and cover with about 1 1/2 inches of water and allow to soak overnight 
  • Drain the kidney beans and place in a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven
  • Cover with vegetable stock and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered until the beans are soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding water as necessary to keep beans submerged
  • Drain and rinse

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • About 3 cups red kidney beans
  • Vegetable stock (recipe above)

Have you ever made your own stock?  What are some of your favorite vegan recipes?