Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry

Although I couldn’t have predicted it, coming home from our trip to Notre Dame to find leftovers of this Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry stowed safely in our freezer was a perfect ending to a weekend of dear friends, soulful cheering, cool brews, and tasty food—all comforts of the best kind.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry with red lentils. Healthy, comforting and so easy to make! #slowcooker #crockpot #vegan

Ben and I put 400 miles on our Honda and headed back to campus for the season’s opening football game. The wonderful and terrible thing about graduating from Notre Dame (aside from the fact that half of the country hates your football team at any given moment) is that my friends from college live all over the country. The positive is that whether I’m traveling Cape Cod, Hawaii, San Diego, Philadelphia, or New York City, I can almost always find a college pal to meet up with (or to stay with in exchange for a batch of healthy blueberry muffins). The downside is, I often see these friends less than once a year.

Home football games serve as mini-reunions, and I was incredibly blessed by the fact that so many of my friends returned to campus for last Saturday’s game. It was a night game, which gave us plenty of time to catch up during a full day of tailgating, though as we hugged goodbye to head to our separate seats, it didn’t feel like nearly long enough.

I’m slowly making new friends here in Milwaukee, but being able to spend a day with people I’ve known for more than 10 years, who love me despite being intimately acquainted with my weaknesses, who’ve seen me at my highest and lowest points, and who already know that I talk way too loudly in public and can be a little too enthusiastic (and huggy) after a brew or two, did my heart a world of good that I didn’t realize I’d been missing. Time with dear friends, it seems, is one of life’s greatest comforts of all.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry with Red Lentils. One of the easiest, best crock pot recipes! #vegan #glutenfree

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Cauliflower. An easy, healthy and vegan crock pot recipe!

Now that I’m back home in Milwaukee, it’s reassuring to know that our dinner table remains a place of regularity and comfort of its own. This Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry offers the richness and warmth that I crave in my comfort food. Unlike typical comfort-food recipes, however, it’s healthy, so instead of feeling weighed down after a big serving, I feel soothed and satisfied.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry with Red Lentils. An easy healthy crock pot recipe!

The same sensation is true of the leftovers I enjoyed reheating for lunch—they left me full and happy, versus ready to slip into a food coma at my desk, which is what I suspect would happen if I devoured leftover lasagna or mashed potatoes and gravy at noon.

Like 99% of my slow cooker recipes, this cauliflower curry requires almost zero prep beyond a little chopping: simply mix the ingredients together in you crock pot, set it, and go. The sauce is a mixture of tomato puree, coconut milk, red curry paste, and aromatic curry spices. I also added an entire head of cauliflower, a classic vegetable often used in curries, because its mild taste can fully absorb the flavors of the sauce.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry with Red Lentils

Though the red curry sauce and cauliflower are lovely, what makes this dish hearty and filling is Bob’s Red Mill red lentils. I am an enormous fan of Bob’s products because the company prioritizes their integrity, quality, and nutritional value, a focus I witnessed first hand when I visited Portland and met Bob himself.

If you are not familiar with red lentils, they are a mighty little legume that’s filled with fiber, and a single serving contains a whopping 13 grams of protein. Lentils also become incredibly creamy when cooked, making them an ideal ingredient for comforting dishes like this cauliflower curry.

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Cauliflower

This recipe for Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry makes a much larger portion than we needed for our household of two, but the leftovers save, freeze, and reheat magnificently, so I was more than happy to have extra.

Life update: Help me interview Bobby Flay! 

I’ll be interviewing celebrity chef Bobby Flay about his new cookbook Brunch at Bobby’s on Thursday morning (!). If you have any questions related to the book or his career you’d like me to ask, send them my way today or tomorrow (erin{at}wellplated{dot}com), and I’ll try to squeeze them into the interview.

I’ll be sharing about the interview on my Facebook page afterwards, so check there for the juicy details. If you’d like to make sure that you catch the post about the interview in your newsfeed (sometimes Facebook hides what I share), just “Like” Well Plated on Facebook, then on the Facebook page, click on the word “Following” and select “See First.” You can always change your page settings later, but this will ensure you see the Bobby post!

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Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry

An easy and healthy slow cooker recipe for cauliflower curry with red lentils.

Yield: Serves 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom*
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato puree (not tomato sauce)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (use full fat—it’s worth it)
  • Freshly chopped cilantro, for serving
  • Brown rice, cooked quinoa, farro, or similar for serving

Directions:

  1. Place the lentils in the bottom of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the onions, garlic, cauliflower, ginger, curry paste, salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom, then stir to combine.
  2. Pour the tomato puree over the top of the cauliflower and lentils. Refill the tomato puree can halfway with water, then pour it over the top of the slow cooker ingredients so that they are covered with liquid. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours, until the lentils are soft.
  3. Just before serving, stir in the coconut milk. Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or farro, topped with fresh cilantro.

*The spices with an asterisk can be replaced with 1 1/2 teaspoons of garam masala, a spice blend that can be found in some grocery stores and specialty food or spice shops. If you can’t find garam masala, the spices I suggested in the recipe (which are more easily available), taste wonderful.

All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry is my contribution to September’s Eat Seasonal recipe round up. Each month, a team of bloggers and myself share a seasonal produce guide and feature recipes that highlight the fruits and veggies that are in their prime for the month. Here’s what’s at the peak of its flavor (and joyfully its best price of the year) in Septemeber, along with a list of tasty recipes to inspire your seasonal cooking.

What's in Season in September