I am so excited for this vegetarian week! I’m from Texas, so I’m obviously a steak-grilling, brisket-pounding, burger-loving gal. BUT. I’m a changed woman. My husband and I lived in California for several years, so you know it was bound to happen. The hippies and the veggie-loving local-supporting crowd at the farmers’ markets and roadside fruit stands got to me. And I liked it.
Carly, one of the girls here at Oh So is a vegetarian, and I had several other friends that were vegetarian. Books were read, documentaries were watched, and I craved more Meatless Mondays and in essence, meat being served as a condiment instead of the star of the meal. There are so many more sources of protein besides meat. Grains such as quinoa and farro (pictured below), legumes like lentils (also pictured below), peanut butter, and beans, leafy greens (spinach and broccoli), and one of my favorites, eggs.
Red lentils come in this really pretty bright orange color, and cook down to an al-dente flavorful little addition to any salad, soup, or mixed bowl like in this dish. They take on whatever flavor you cook into it, just like farro. Farro is similar to rice, but a bit firmer and a tad chewier. They’re absolutely delightful! My kids love it. Very similar to quinoa in its fiber and protein content, but again, like quinoa, more nutrient-dense than rice (and pasta, obviously).
One issue with vegetarian cooking is texture. If you’re cooking all vegetables and grains, sometimes you end up with one pan-texture, and it can be pretty boring. I love adding nuts to dishes like these, and the best way to add texture in my opinion, frying. Fry everything, always and forever amen.
These fried little cauliflower pieces are soft inside with a crunchy, salty, flavorful little crust. Perfect for popping in your mouth all by themselves.
This is a simple coconut curry sauce, which in my opinion, also makes everything better.
Throw in plenty of sautéed garlic greens because this is vegetarian week, and again, the protein!
You’ll have yourself the most perfect little vegetarian dish and I promise, won’t miss the chicken.
Here’s to more Meatless Mondays and trying something new!
- 1 c farro medio, or emmer, or semi-pearled
- 3 c broth or stock
- 1/4 t salt depending on your stock
- 1 c dry red lentils
- 1 1/2 c broth or stock
- 1/4 t salt depending on your stock
- several large handful greens spinach, kale, collards, chard
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- handful toasted pinenuts
- 1 T butter
- 1/4 yellow onion minced
- 1 T red curry paste
- 1 t yellow curry powder
- 1/2 t garam masala
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 1 c tomato sauce
- 1 c coconut milk
- 1 c broth or stock
- 1/2 head cauliflower chopped into florets
- 1 c flour
- 1 t salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 T milk
- 1 t onion powder
- 1 t ground mustard
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t dried parsley
- 1 c panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 c flour
- frying oil peanut or canola
Cook farro by bringing 3 c broth and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add farro, reduce heat to low simmer and cover for 25-30 minutes, or until grain is al dente.
Prepare sauce by melting butter in frying pan. Sauté onion over medium heat until translucent and soft. Add curry paste, curry powder, garam masala, salt, and black pepper, cook 1-2 minutes, or until well-incorporated and fragrant. Add tomato sauce, coconut milk, and broth. Simmer over medium/low heat until ready to serve and sauce has slightly reduced, darkened and thickened.
Cook lentils by bringing 1 1/2 c broth and salt to boil, then adding red lentils. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 15 minutes, or until al dente.
Fry cauliflower by preparing three dredging bowls and heating oil. In large frying pan, pour oil 1" deep and begin heating over medium heat. In first bowl, place 1 c flour and 1 t salt. In second bowl, whisk 2 eggs and milk. In third bowl, mix onion powder, ground mustard, garlic powder, salt, parsley, panko, and flour. Oil is hot enough when water flicked in begins to slowly sizzle (about 5 minutes of heating). Take several cauliflower florets and first dredge in flour/salt, then egg mixture, then panko mixture. Carefully drop cauliflower pieces into hot oil, they should immediately begin to sizzle, but not too violently. Pieces should lightly brown after 1-2 minutes, then flip over with metal tongs to fry other side. Once pieces are lightly browned, remove and let rest on paper towel-lined plate. Continue with remaining cauliflower.
For sautéed greens, heat olive oil and minced garlic in frying pan over medium heat. Heat several minutes, or until garlic has softened and is fragrant. Add greens and cook until softened, another 3-4 minutes.
Plate bowls by layering cooked red lentils, sautéed greens, and fried cauliflower over cooked farro, then topping with red curry sauce and toasted pine nuts.