Today’s recipe marks a milestone in my blogging career. Today I’ve published 200 blog posts. 200 blog posts?! It’s crazy to think I’ve been blogging for 1 year and 9 months (what?), but I guess that’s what 2 posts per week amounts to! It just so happens that my very first post was a recipe, as was my 100th blog post. So if you’re interested in taking a look through my archives, enjoy, but be warned — when I first started JustineCelina I took all my photos in square format on my iPhone!
Anyway, onto the real reason why you’re here today — the recipe! To be honest, I can’t believe this is the first curry recipe I’ve published. I make curries often, typically with whatever veggies and spices we have kicking around (you know how it goes around here!). In the winter especially, plant based curries are a staple in our kitchen — and my Curried Winter Vegetables with Roasted Acorn Squash is healthy comfort food at it’s finest! A medley of onions, garlic and ginger are caramelized, then accompanied by a flavourful trio of carrots, peppers and celery simmered in a decadent, tomato based curry sauce dancing with rich Indian spices and just the right amount of heat. Roasted Acorn Squash houses the Curried Winter Vegetables in a nourishing, edible bowl — a playful, hearty spin on typical bread-based options. This recipe yields a generous amount of curry that freezes well, so you can stock the freezer with healthy options to help fuel January’s resolutions when you’re running short on time!
CURRIED WINTER VEGETABLES WITH ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
Last year around this time when I posted my 100th blog post, I was deep into my beet phase. Fast forward to January 2017 and it’s safe to say my squash phase is coming to an end. I’ve mentioned this previously, but I tend to go through intense phases with food (anyone else?)! The last 2 entree recipes I’ve published (my Festive Vegan Salad with Cranberry Dijon Vinaigrette and Indian Summer Vegan Chili) also contain squash. What can I say? Squash is inexpensive, simple to prepare and in season — a few of my favourite things when it comes to good eats! It’s also nutrient, vitamin and mineral rich, containing massive amounts of vitamins A, C, E, B6, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and folate.
I’ve made this veggie curry for so many people and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. If you follow along with my Insta Stories you may remember this dish popping up back in the fall, when the recipe idea first came to me. I’ve made it about 5 times since then, but don’t usually write things down when I cook (unless I know I’ll be blogging it), so it’s taken me awhile to get the ratios right on paper and not by me just throwing things into a pot.
I tend to prefer my curries spicy and with a nice amount of heat — as long as the heat level compliments flavours without overpowering them, it’s a win in my book. This recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of crushed chillies and the general consensus is that the heat level is perfect, but if you’re extremely sensitive to heat, you can reduce it to 1/2 a teaspoon for a very mild curry. An additional medley of curry powder, paprika, turmeric, coriander and cumin bring rich Indian flair to this tomato based sauce, balanced by a healthy dose of coconut milk and a splash of fresh lemon juice. I tend to add a bright pop of citrus to any dish that’s been cooking for awhile to liven things up and unite the flavour profile. Lemon works beautifully here to make these decadent Indian flavours sing!
My boyfriend treats us to an incredible scratch made curry (not using any curry powder) about once a year — and it takes him 3 hours to make. He’s a far more patient person than I am — sorry, but ain’t nobody got time for that! This quicker option (or ‘quick and dirty veggie curry’ as I affectionately refer to it) doesn’t compromise on flavour and comes together in approximately 1 hour. Plus, your freezer will be stocked with curry goodness for the rest of the winter!
Chick peas are another staple in our kitchen — and surprisingly this is the first recipe I’ve published that features them. As a plant based eater, I’m always looking for new sources of meatless protein and chick peas are one of my favourites. My Curried Winter Vegetables with Roasted Acorn Squash contains a hearty combination of celery, carrots and peppers with lots of chick peas — these little curry bowls are brimming with clean, vegan protein. It’s reminiscent of Chana Masala (a traditional vegetarian, Indian dish containing chick peas), but I don’t do things very traditionally around here — so I’m not using all of the ingredients that traditional Chana Masala calls for.
And to finish things off, I garnished with edible celery tops (yes, that’s right, no need to toss them!) — I love the pop of fresh green they bring and I and think I’ve garnished enough things with cilantro around here! However, a cilantro garnish would work beautifully here!
What’s in our glasses? It’s a beautiful Récolte Blanche from Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery in Creston, British Columbia. If you’ve been with me for awhile, you may remember me mentioning that some of my favourite wines are from a small (but incredible) wine region in the Kootenays. My girlfriends and I visit every summer (check out this iPhone snap from summer 2014 that was just featured on Hello BC) when we head out to Kelsey’s cabin for our annual lake trip and we haul back cases of wine with us! There are 2 vineyards in Creston that are worth stopping into if you have the chance — the first being Skimmerhorn Vineyard (their Ortega is my favourite white wine in the entire world, but sadly not available for purchase in Alberta!) and Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery, where this Récolte Blanche hails from. Originally I was searching for a Pinot Gris to pair with this recipe (I love Pinot Gris with curry!), but this zesty, fruit based Récolte Blanche is even more delicious. In Calgary, it’s available at CO-OP Liquor Stores (this isn’t sponsored, I just really love these wines!). Sometimes you just need a crisp, fruity white in middle of January, am I right?!
Yield: 8 – 10 servings
• 1/3 cup curry powder
• 1 tbsp cumin
• 1 tsp crushed chilies (reduce to 1/2 tsp for the heat sensitive)
• 1/4 tsp paprika
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 1/4 tsp coriander
• 3/4 tbsp Himalayan pink sea salt (adjust to your your preference)
ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
Note: The amount of Curried Winter Vegetables this recipe yields will serve 8 – 10 people (assuming each person eats half a stuffed squash). Prepare each squash as instructed below.
• Acorn squash
• 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
• Pinch of Spice Blend
CURRIED WINTER VEGETABLES
• 1 yellow onion
• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp grated ginger
• 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
• 5 – 20 turns each of Himalayan pink sea salt and black peppercorns (adjust to your preference)
• 2 peppers (I used yellow and red)
• 4 carrots
• 2 celery sticks
• 4 cups canned tomatoes
• 1 5.5 oz can tomato paste
• 1 14 oz can coconut milk
• 2 18 oz cans chick peas
• Juice from 1 lemon
• Celery leaves
• Fresh lemon
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400°C. In the meantime, grease a baking sheet with coconut oil and prepare the Spice Blend by combining each ingredient in a small bowl.
2. Prepare the Roasted Acorn Squash. Cut each squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (you can always roast them later!). To level each squash halve, slice a thin piece off of the bottom. Rub coconut oil onto the flesh of the acorn squash and season with a pinch of the Spice Blend. Once each squash halve is prepared, place it cut side down on your baking sheet.
3. Once oven is preheated, roast the squash for 30 minutes (or until golden brown).
4. In the meantime, heat a large pan or skillet over low / medium heat.
5. Prepare the Curried Winter Vegetables for sautéing. Mince garlic, grate ginger and chop onion, celery, carrots and peppers.
6. Add 1 tbsp of virgin coconut oil to coat the bottom of the hot pan. Then add garlic, ginger and onions. Season liberally with Himalayan pink sea salt and black peppercorns using the guidelines indicated above, adjusting to your preference. Sauté for 15 minutes, or until caramelized.
7. Add celery, carrots and peppers to the pan, along with 1 more tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and additional salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly to distribute. Sauté vegetables for 15 minutes, or until tender, to create a well seasoned base for the curry. Note: during this time, the Roasted Acorn Squash will finish cooking — remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
8. Puree 4 cups of canned tomatoes in a Vitamix (or similar) and add to the pan, along with tomato paste, coconut milk and Spice Blend. Stir to combine.
9. Drain (but don’t rinse!) chick peas and add them to the pot — the liquid thickens the sauce! Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring often.
10. After the Curried Winter Vegetables have cooked for 20 minutes, remove from heat and stir in fresh lemon juice.
11. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with Pepper Creek Farms Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Black Peppercorns.
12. Plate the Curried Winter Vegetables with Roasted Acorn Squash by adding 1 Roasted Acorn Squash halve to each plate, stuffing with Curried Winter Vegetables until heaping. Garnish with celery leaves and a slice of fresh lemon.
13. Serve immediately and enjoy!
STILL HUNGRY? MORE PLANT BASED ENTRÉES
What are some of your favourite winter recipes? I used to be really into soups, but this winter is all about the curries! As always, I love to hear from you — if you try my Curried Winter Vegetables with Roasted Acorn Squash, please let me know how you liked it by leaving me a comment below, or tagging me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. You can use the hashtag #justinecelinarecipes in your recreations so I can find them — it’s so much fun seeing what you guys make! I also have a Pinterest board for my recipes if you care to follow along.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, and contains my genuine thoughts, ideas and recommendations. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for supporting the brands and businesses that support JustineCelina!