February has arrived! And surprisingly it has been warm. Compared to last February, which was unforgiving and cold, this February has started off to a mild start. We are now entering the depths of winter which, despite the mild weather, means a few things: 1) Spring is close by and I’m already getting spring fever 2) Groundhog Phil emerges from his hole and makes his spring predictions, which if this year is accurate (I’ve heard he is more wrong than right, but this year I hope he is right) means an early spring! and 3) Mid-winter season has me craving serious comfort food. Anything warm, hearty, and served in a bowl is favorable. That’s why, today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite comforting dishes: Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry.
Comfort food is all about warmth and home-cooking — rich and satisfying flavors. This recipe has all of that and the best part is that it takes no time to make. You can even make it the weekend before if you know you won’t have any time to cook that week, keep in the fridge or freezer, and warm it up right before serving (or eat cold, it’s just as good), and it’s good for you! This dish is perfect for busy weeks when you know most meals will be eaten either in front of the computer, on the run, or in plain distraction. It’s easy, healthy, hearty, and comforting. It’s the kind of food that fills up your belly with warmth and happiness but doesn’t leave you feeling tired, drained or guilty after. This is a vegan, gluten free, ans dairy free dish, so it’s great for serving at dinner parties or bringing to a potluck if you know people have food allergies.
This dish is a one-pot wonder. Little mess and little fuss for those busy week-day nights! It has butternut squash, chickpeas, garlic, onion, celery, tomato paste, coconut milk, vegetable stock, and wonderful spices. I used a combination of curry powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and ground cumin, but you could use whatever spices you like! I added a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, so it does have a bite, but if you don’t like spice then leave it out. To make the dish, all you need to do is saute the vegetables and spices in oil, then add the liquids. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes. That’s it! I like to use coconut oil or olive oil to saute the vegetables, but any oil is fine. The coconut oil really helps enhance the coconut flavors, especially in the first stages of cooking. The coconut milk adds a rich and smooth creaminess and it blends beautifully with curry. For the stock, I decided to use a combination of vegetable stock and water because the vegetable stock adds flavor but the water helps dilute it so it doesn’t overpower the broth. When you are using a store-bought vegetable stock be mindful of the salt. I usually get low sodium or sodium free, then when I’m cooking I’ll add salt at the end. Also, using spices helps create flavor that normally salt is used for, so I don’t really add much salt to this dish. I do however always add a little salt when sauteing onions. This helps the vegetables sweat and release their juices. It creates caramelization and deep, rich flavors. The result is a delightfully rich but light stew that yields brilliant flavors and harbors the warmth and comfort of a home-cooked meal.
This curry is perfect served over rice, noodles, or by itself in a bowl. You can serve is fresh out of the pot or store it in the fridge or freezer. It would be great served cold in a salad and makes wonderful leftovers. If you keep it in the fridge overnight, it thickens and allows the flavors to settle. I often make a big batch and store it in the freezer, so on nights when I’m craving a home-cooked meal but don’t have time to make something, I take a container out of the freezer and warm it up in the microwave or on the stove. This is one of my favorite dishes to make for a potluck or dinner, if you are having friends and family over. It’s simple, delicious, easy to make for a large crowd, and sure to impress all guests!
I want to hear from you — what’s your favorite winter comfort food? Let me know in the comments below or on social media using the hashtag #friedparsley. Happy eating!
In a large pot, add the oil and garlic and bring to medium heat until garlic is perfumed but not burnt. Add the onions, celery and salt and sauté until onions are translucent and starting to turn golden in color, stirring frequently, about 5-7 min. Add the butternut squash, chickpeas, tomato paste and all the spices (curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper) and sauté until the spices perfume and the vegetables start to caramelize, stirring frequently, about a few minutes (you can add a little water if the mixture dries up). Add the liquids — coconut milk, vegetable stock, and water. Bring to boil then cover (leave a little open to let some water evaporate) and let simmer until butternut squash is tender but still firm and retains its shape, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or store in fridge / freezer. It also taste good cold. Enjoy!
Makes: 4-6 servings
Total Time: 45 minutes
3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk
2 cups of vegetable stock (low sodium preferably)
2 cups water