And, since the days are more frequently cool / cloudy / wet, I want to consume warm things -- stews, soups, bakes. teas & coffee, etc.
This is where a curried red lentil stew comes in. This particular stew has onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, lentils (hooray protein!!), dark green veggies*, and more immune-system boosting goodness. Regardless of whether any of these actually help me stay healthy during the winter months I like to imagine they do -- and it creating a large batch of this stew provides me with several days of quick, healthy meals.
I ate this alongside a gluten-free flat bread (that turned out crispier than I would have liked), but it would also go well with brown rice or a nice pliable flat bread, like pita. If you want to up the spice (again, this might depend on the curry powder you choose), add a pinch of red pepper flakes at the same time you add the lentils.
Curried Red Lentil Stew with Winter Veggies
2 teaspoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece ginger, minced
1 cup fresh cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons curry powder**
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional)
3 dried curry leaves (or 1 bay leaf)
1 cup red lentils
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup fresh kale, chopped
Warm the oil in a medium-sized soup pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sweet potato, and salt, and saute 4-5 minutes, until the onion and sweet potato begin to brown. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and ginger. Saute another 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the kale, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and allow to simmer 18-20 minutes, until the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and lentils are soft.
Stir in the chopped kale and remove from the heat. As soon as the kale has wilted (this took less than a minute for my curly kale), taste and add salt, if necessary. Serve hot.
*I also chopped some of the green parts of the cauliflower -- about 1/2 cup worth, and added those. Biting into them was a bit like biting into a piece of cabbage in the stew, and something I would do again, but this is definitely up to you. If you do add them, add them 2-3 minutes before you add the kale and before you take the stew off the heat.
**I use a medium-hot curry powder with a moderately high ratio of turmeric. If you use a sweet curry powder, start with 1 tablespoon and add more toward the end, if you desire. As always, it's easier to add than to take away!