If I had to choose a favorite vegetable, it’d be winter squash. This time a year ago I was working at a little pumpkin market in my hometown – the farmer grew over 40 varieties of pumpkin & squash(!) – and right about now I’m missing my daily cucurbita intake and stocking up on my favorite varieties for the year to come.
It didn’t quite feel like squash season here in Austin until the past few nights when it got down to a chilly 55 degrees. Yes, time to leave the windows open and feel the cool breeze through the house at last.
These chilly evenings have also put warm, comforting curry on the mind, and soon after onto the kitchen table. Tofu is my favorite in curry because it soaks up the sauce like a sponge. Paired with a butternut – which creamily melts into the stew – they make the ultimate combo in my opinion. And, I can’t seem to make anything without throwing in something green, ergo the peas and baby spinach. Chickpeas are optional but add more protein and texture, and if you serve over quinoa you’ve got one protein and fiber powerhouse of nourishing YUM.
Go make this. That’s all.
Autumn Squash + Tofu Curry, adapted from Vikalinka
- 1 T coconut oil
- ¼ t mustard seeds
- I medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped (stalks and leaves separated, stalks reserved)
- 4-5 T yellow curry powder – I used Amok curry I brought back from Cambodia
- 1 medium butternut squash, cubed (1 ½ in cubes)
- 1 can chickpeas
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- salt to taste
- quinoa or brown rice for serving
Heat oil in a large saucepan and add mustard seeds. When they start to pop, stir until fragrant and then add onions, garlic and cilantro stems. Cook over low-medium heat until they are soft and light brown.
Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of curry powder, stir, then add the cubed squash, chickpeas and salt. Pour in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the squash cook till it is fork tender, about 20 minutes. If the water is drying up before the squash is done, add more water, a half cup at a time.
When the squash is tender, add the green peas, coconut milk and remaining tablespoon of curry powder. Stir and bring back to a boil. When the curry boils, stir in spinach and cilantro leaves, season with salt to taste, take off heat and cover with a lid. Serve hot over quinoa or brown rice, and top with something cool and creamy like yogurt or goat cheese.
Happy autumn :)