Make this vegetarian red curry with freezer tomato coconut sauce to save time! It's vegan, gluten free and vegetable packed.
A few posts back, I shared my slightly embarrassing story of exclaiming my love for my freezer on the local news. Although my enthusiasm made me the butt of a few jokes, I still stand by my words, and by my hard working freezer.
The styled photographs on this blog and instagram probably make it look like I spend half the day in the kitchen, but that's not the case. I love to cook and truly believe it's the key to achieving health. I probably spend more time cooking than the average person, but just like every other person I've ever met, I simply don't have enough time to cook dinner from scratch every night.
Despite that, other than the couple of meals we eat out with friends each week, almost everything else is home cooked. It's not because I am a superhero. It's because I know how to make my freezer work for me.
Given my enthusiasm for my hard working little GE, I'm sure you can imagine, I was pretty excited when I saw this month's Recipe Redux theme - 'Fantastic Freezer Meals.' I think I've got a couple of those up my sleeve ;)
My favorite way to use my freezer is for storing leftovers. When I put time into making a soup, stew, casserole or some other easily freezable meal, it only makes sense to buy double the ingredients, spend a few extra minutes prepping and make extra to freeze for later. You might be surprised all the things you can freeze. Here's some of my favorite freezable meals from the blog:
- Multigrain Pancake Muffins // Pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
- Pear and Dark Chocolate Baked Oatmeal // Freeze in individual serving squares and defrost before reheating.
- Lentil Meatballs // Freeze uncooked meatballs on a cookie sheet for one hour then transfer to a zip top bag. Bake frozen balls at 400 degrees about 35-40 minutes.
- Kabocha and Kale Soup with Roasted Garlic // Freeze in individual or family portion sizes and defrost before heating.
- Gluten Free Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies // Freeze individual balls of dough and bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 20ish minutes.
The other thing I like to do is get a start on cooking by freezing sauces that I can add to simple stir fries for flavor, like this creamy Indian tomato sauce. I usually freeze it in sandwich or quart sized zip top bags then defrost before cooking. To make this meal, all you have to do is saute vegetables, add a can of chickpeas and Indian simmer sauce then cook to warm through. It's a fairly complete meal on it's own, but you could also serve it over brown rice. Use frozen or precooked brown rice if you want to stick with the time saving theme.
To make this, I always include chickpeas, lentils or tofu for protein and potatoes or peas as an unprocessed carb. For nonstarchy vegetables, I used zucchini, mushrooms and peppers in this dish, but you could also use spinach, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, greens, green beans, eggplant...basically anything!
Vegan Red Curry with Freezer Tomato Coconut Sauce
Feel free to use any vegetables you like - peas, eggplant, onion, spinach, green beans and greens all work beautifully. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly. Freeze sauce in 2 cup servings in zip top bags. Curry sauce adapted from Jamie Oliver.
Tomato Coconut Freezer Sauce:
- 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic
- Thumb sized amount peeled, fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 4 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled in 1/2 in dice
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
- 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
- Cilantro, for garnish
- First, make the sauce. Place onions, carrots, bell pepper, garlic and ginger in a food processor and pulse until pureed.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add spices and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in pureed vegetables and stir to combine. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and it starts to look like a moist paste, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and cilantro. Bring to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes until thickened. Stir in coconut milk and turn off heat. If cooking the rest of the dish, start preparing the curry. Otherwise, let cool to room temperature and freeze in 2 cup servings.
- Before making the curry, defrost about 4 cups of curry sauce. To make the curry, heat coconut oil in a large skillet. Add potatoes, a pinch of salt and saute 5 minutes until starting to brown, stirring every so often,. Add peppers, stir and saute 3 minutes. Add zucchini, stir and saute 3 minutes. Finally, add the mushrooms, a pinch more salt and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the curry sauce and garbanzo beans, stir, and simmer 5 minutes until warmed through. Serve over brown rice.