No matter how much you try to focus on having a positive attitude, there will be some days when everything will seem to irritate you and you'll feel like pulling your hair out. For me most recently it was when my neighbor across the courtyard decided to practice his guitar solo with the amp cranked up at 1 am in the morning (yet again!). I got no sleep as it resonated throughout my cottage, all the way back to my bedroom. Not only was the guitar playing loud but it sounded awful- like feral cats having a Battle Royale outside.
So the next day, I was exhausted and cranky but I had promised to make Mr.S and Kidlet #1 dinner. I mulled over what to make and settled on lentils. (Kidlet #1 is in training for mountain biking and Mr.S is focused on eating more protein lately, so I thought it'd be a good choice.) One of my favorite slow cooker recipes to make during the winter is my Crockpot Chorizo and Lentil dish but sometimes I just don't have the time to wait 5-6 hours for dinner to cook. A great fall back is this rich and hearty (but low in fat), vegetarian Red Curry Lentils recipe. No pre-soaking of lentils required and it utilizes coconut milk and Soyrizo, perfect if you have vegetarian friends coming over for dinner or are just looking to cut back on your meat consumption. Now before you go, "Ugh! Soyrizo ?!" Give it a chance. My friend Christina recommended it to me a few years ago and I was suspicious, but Soyrizo actually turned out to be pretty good tasting. (Tip: You can buy it for cheap at Trader Joe's.)
Spicy Red Curry Lentils
12 oz. Soyrizo
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 1/2 cups lentils (green or brown)
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
couple of shakes of your favorite hot sauce (I used Cholula)
a few dashes of paprika
1/4 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
1 (14 oz.) can of diced tomatoes or unsweetened tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1. In a large pan, heat up your butter over med-high heat. Sauté your Soyrizo, diced onion and garlic. Set aside.
2. Rinse and pick over your lentils. In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook your lentils per package instructions. When done, add back in your Soyrizo, garlic and onions.
3. Add in red curry paste, garam masala, coriander, curry powder, brown sugar, turmeric, minced ginger, hot sauce, paprika and cayenne pepper.
4. Cook for 2-4 minutes.
5. Add in diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, mixing so that the ingredients blend well. Add in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper. Mix. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook thoroughly for 20-25 minutes, stirring periodically.
6. Garnish with green onions, Thai basil or a dollop of Greek yogurt. Serve over jasmine or basmati rice. The dish goes equally well with garlic naan.
7. Leftovers can be frozen.
☺ TIP: If the end product turns out to be a bit too spicy for you, you can adjust the heat by adding extra coconut milk.