As a one-time vegetarian, I love vegetable or pulse-based curries. I’d choose them over meat-based ones any day. I’m also a fan of tamarind paste—it adds amazing tangy flavour to any curry.
Last week, I made a veggie curry using the left-overs in the fridge and combining them in a rich sauce. Had I been the only one eating it, I would have added cauliflower but my husband hates the stuff and veggie dishes are a hard sell to him so I left it out.
Recipes often specify coconut milk, which is fine if you need a whole tin of it. I keep packets of creamed coconut in my store cupboards (fridge in the summer) as it’s much more versatile. You can use however much you need without waste, and it can be a thickener or made into a cream.
- 300g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 large carrot, cut into batons
- Half a red pepper, sliced
- 1 large courgette cut into chunks
- 400g tinned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1tbsp tamarind paste
- 50g creamed coconut, finely chopped
- 1tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 chillies, chopped
- Salt to taste.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Strictly speaking, you should put the onions in first, fry till translucent, then add the peppers, courgette and carrot, cook for five minutes and add the mushrooms last. I’m too lazy to add the veggies one by one so I threw them all in at once and cooked for about six minutes.
- Add the curry powder, tamarind paste and chillies and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Mix in the creamed coconut and turn down to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes. The creamed coconut will thicken the sauce. Add seasoning to taste.
- To make it more of a main meal, You could add some fresh chicken stock to this and turn it into a sauce for chicken thighs or throw in a good handful of cooked prawns and cook for a minute to warm through. Another worthy addition is two or three balls of frozen spinach. Defrost and warm through beforehand, obvs.
Allow about 15-18g of carbs per portion. Serve with naan breads (low-carb version here) or rice for the carb-lovers in your life.
Purple foods are good for us. According to the US Department of Agriculture, purple foods have nutrients called anthocyanins. These are antioxidants that protect against cell damage from free radicals.
I’m a big fan of the mighty aubergine. Curry it, roast it, grill it or turn it into ratatouille, this is a vegetable with a lot of uses.
I make my own version of Aubergine Parmigiana, that famous Italian dish. Buy the best quality mozzarella you can find, and top the dish lavishly with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve this as a side dish with roasted chicken. Or just cut yourself a ginormous portion and eat with salad.
- 1 large aubergine, sliced
- 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
- 2tbsp oil
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 50g grated Parmesan*
- Salt and pepper
Turn your oven to 175 degrees C. Slice the aubergine into half-centimetre thick slices. Drizzle with one tablespoon of the oil and cook in the oven for about twenty minutes. You want the slices softened and lightly browned. Leave the oven on once the slices have cooked as you will be using it again.
While the aubergine is cooking, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and cook the sliced onion for five minutes until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes, garlic and dried oregano. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for fifteen minutes. You want a thick, concentrated sauce.
When the sauce and the aubergine are cooked, rip the mozzarella ball into pieces. Layer up slices of aubergine, tomato sauce and mozzarella in a casserole dish. Grind on some salt and top with the grated Parmesan and a generous helping of pepper. Cook in the oven to heat through and brown the top – about ten to fifteen minutes.
Top with the chopped basil.
6g net carbs per serving.
*The cheese so good, Pepys buried a round of it in his garden during the Great Fire of London.