It’s summer and the Recipe Redux knows their dietitian food bloggers don’t want to turn on the oven. Even up here in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle summers are actually pretty warm and we’ve been in the 80’s for weeks now with no rain. But we’re also tired of eating salads by now and need some summer recipes that aren’t going to heat the kitchen further. This is where tools like the slow cooker and microwave come into play so I decided to make a light and healthy Slow Cooker Lentil and Cauliflower Curry.
I’m a bit of a slow cooker snob. I used to feel like it wasn’t an urban girl piece of equipment to use. Also, I’m gone from the house for 12+ hours per day so how am I going to run an 8-hour slow cooker? Recipe Redux is helping me change my ways. I had an epiphany with this recipe: I can make it overnight and have a lunch to pack in the morning plus dinner when I get home that evening. Genius.
If you haven’t used an instant pot before – they are super cool. You can saute ingredients like onions and garlic to soften them before adding them to soups and stews (not a necessary step but it can add a lot of flavor). They are great for cooking meals when you don’t want to have a slow cooker running all day. I’m away from the house a lot so I don’t always like using a slow cooker for food safety reasons. I am new to instant pot cuisine. I was really happy with the way this recipe turned out and could not believe it took only 15 minutes. A few things to know about instant pots (although I am still figuring out some of the tricks and features). Many recipes will list the cook time as just 5 minutes – yes it’s true, my recipe here technically cooked in five minutes but it does take a little time for the instant pot to seal. So I’d say this recipe took more like 15 minutes.
Another convenient use for a slow cooker is a work-from-home day. Assemble it in the morning and when you’re done working, dinner is ready without having to do a lot of meal prep. With our busy family, working smarter like to make Slow Cooker Lentil and Cauliflower Curry ahead of time is necessary if we’re ever going to eat in.
I actually associate slow cookers with fall and winter. I often serve hot cider in my slow cooker for my pumpkin carving party or use it as a holder for mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. In order to do a successful summer slow cooker dish, I knew I needed something light and healthy. Slow Cooker Lentil and Cauliflower Curry has savory flavors and tons of summer veggies for maximum fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Lentils themselves are pretty incredible. They contain nutrients like iron, zinc, and B-vitamins in addition to being packed with protein and SERIOUS fiber as well. To put fiber in perspective, recommendations are 30-38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women and a cup of lentils offers 16 grams. A dish like this is so perfect for long lasting energy through the typical afternoon slump. I really hope you enjoy this simple Slow Cooker Lentil and Cauliflower Curry recipe!
If you’re in search of other healthy summer recipes, check out my spicy vegan zucchini boats, salad skewers with peanut dressing, or spicy cauliflower stir fry with shrimp and peanuts!
What do you make in your instant pot or slow cooker?
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
- 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size florets
- 3 Tablespoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 30 ounces tomato sauce, canned
- 25 ounces water, (shake it up in the used tomato sauce jar!)
- 2 cups brown or white rice - try freezer variety
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped roughly
- Instant Pot
- Combine all ingredients except rice and cilantro into the base of the instant pot. Set to high pressure and cook for 5 minutes.
- Slow Cooker
- Place all ingredients except rice and cilantro into a 4-quart electric slow cooker; stir well and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until vegetables are tender.
- Serve over brown rice and top with cilantro.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
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