This easy red vegetable curry recipe is a go-to in our house for Meatless Mondays and for using up sad, neglected veggies.
Before I dive into this fantastic red vegetable curry recipe, let me give you just a little background about our journey toward healthier eating. The Frank family are devout meat-o-vores, so it really took some persuasion for me to convince the hubster last year that we should make Meatless Monday a thing.
Why Meatless Monday? Although the idea of a meat-free day each week is thought to have originated during World War I to aid the war effort, the modern Meatless Monday movement originated circa 2003. The idea is to promote heart health and reduce the risk of chronic disease by “cutting the meat” once per week. Also, because meat has a ginormous carbon footprint, leaving out the meat is more environmentally friendly.
Although I’ve managed to gain acceptance for a once-a-week vegetarian meal, the idea of outright vegetarianism goes over like a lead balloon in this household. But—baby steps!
Part of my New Year’s Resolution last year was to get more veggies into our diet (more on that here), and red vegetable curry seemed like a perfect veggie-delivery meal to have in my playbook.
But the first time I put this red vegetable curry together for dinner, Phil was not excited.
“Where’s the protein?” he asked. “It’s in there,” I said. For protein delivery, I use chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans): they’re economical, high in protein, and low in fat. Perfect.
Besides protein, my hubster also fretted that he wouldn’t fill up on just veggies. Wrong! To amp up the heartiness of the meal, I often add cubed potatoes or even butternut squash. Cauliflower is another favorite. Then, I just use up whatever veggies I have around: carrots, onions, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, scallions—just about anything is fair game. By the time everything gets added to the pan, red vegetable curry is quite the filling meal.
Time-saving hacks for making Red Vegetable Curry
The biggest time-saver for making red vegetable curry is to follow the meal prep strategy, in which you ready all of the ingredients in advance. For this recipe, meal prep involves chopping and mincing the vegetables. It’s great if you have some rice already made, too—but making jasmine rice in a rice cooker is still pretty fast.
I also use a pre-made curry paste in red vegetable curry: yes, you can make your own (and I often do)—but when you’re in a time crunch, curry paste can be a lifesaver. I especially like Thai red curry paste (make sure it’s vegetarian and doesn’t contain any shrimp or fish paste). I go with full-figured coconut milk for red vegetable curry: this is important, because I mix the cream at the top (don’t shake the can!) with the curry paste in the heated pan to “bloom” the flavors in the curry paste before mixing in the remaining coconut milk.
Making the Red Vegetable Curry
When you’ve meal prepped in advance, this recipe comes together in under 30 minutes (if you don’t have any pre-made rice handy, you’ll want to get it going in your rice cooker before starting the curry: it takes slightly more than 30 minutes, depending on your cooker). Cooking the red vegetable curry is a simple matter of (1) giving the carrots, onions, and potatoes a brief sauté, (2) scooting the veggies to the edge of the pan so you can sauté the curry paste in the cream from the coconut milk, (3) stirring in the remaining coconut milk and garbanzo beans, and (4) simmering until the potatoes are soft, usually an additional 10 minutes. I like to add sliced scallions to the simmering pan during the final 3 minutes of cooking so that they soften slightly but still retain some texture.
Once he resigned himself to the idea of Meatless Monday, Phil swore that he doesn’t miss the meat—MMs are staying! Red Vegetable Curry is now a regular feature, by request! I hope it will be a hit with your family as well.
Easy Red Vegetable Curry
- 1 cup potato, - peeled, washed, and cut into small (~1/2") cubes
- 1 cup yellow or white onions, - diced
- 1/2 cup baby carrots, - thinly sliced on the bias
- 1/2 cup scallions, - thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. peanut oil
- 1 16- oz. can garbanzo beans, - drained
- 2 garlic cloves, - finely minced
- 1 inch cube of ginger, - peeled and finely minced
- 2 tbsp. Thai red curry paste
- 1 can of coconut milk, - unshaken
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar or fresh lime juice
- Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the potato, onion, and carrot to the pan. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and potatoes are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, garlic, and ginger; sauté for an additional minute.
- Scoot the vegetables to the sides of the pan. Scoop the coconut cream off the top of the can and add to the middle of the pan. Add the curry paste to the cream and stir well to combine. Stir continuously for 1 minute, or until the paste is fragrant.
- Add the remainder of the coconut milk and salt to the pan and stir together with the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes (add in the scallions during the final three minutes of cooking).
- Sprinkle vinegar or lime juice over the curry. Serve with jasmine rice and/or naan bread.