Thai Coconut Curry with Chickpeas + Cauliflower

I can't think of many meals more comforting than a creamy, dreamy coconut curry loaded with fresh veggies. After years of just winging it (I have an issue with following recipes, guys!), I've finally worked it out well enough to actually write down and share here. Miracle?!

One of the best things about this recipe is that you can swap out the veggies with whatever you've got on-hand or what's in season — for example, sometimes I use roasted sweet potatoes instead of chickpeas or switch out broccoli for cauliflower. The same goes for the toppings...if you don't have crushed peanuts, sprinkle some omega 3-packed hemp seeds, and if you don't have either one, try garnishing with some fresh chopped herbs. If you don't like tofu either simply leave it out or try another protein like sautéed tempeh or Quorn veg chicken chunks. Switching it up keeps it fresh and exciting for people like me that make it really often ;-)

Thai Coconut Curry with Chickpeas, Tofu + Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, for sautéing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed & quartered
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (or you can use 2 tsp. powdered ginger when in a pinch)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I recommend Spice Society)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • Splash of white wine, for deglazing
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 small fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (my all-time fav is this brand
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup baby kale or spinach, chopped (optional)
  • 1 8 oz. package (1 cup) extra firm tofu, drained and cut into small squares and sautéed in oil until crisp (I prefer Hodo braised tofu — no draining necessary!)
  • 1 lime, juiced (I use the Kaffir variety whenever possible as its scent and flavor are unmatched) 
  • Salt to taste (you'll likely need a lot more than you think...add little by little until you're happy with it!)
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked as bag instructs

Topping ideas:
Parsley or cilantro, chopped
Crushed peanuts
Hemp seeds
 

Directions

Prepare quinoa as the bag instructs and set aside. Warm coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Once melted, add chopped onion and carrot and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add in chopped garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and all spices and cook a few minutes more. Pour in a bit of white wine (no more than a few tablespoons) — just enough to deglaze the pan and scrape all the browned goodness off the bottom of the pan. Add in the veggie stock and tomatoes and let mixture simmer for 15-30 minutes (longer is better).

Carefully remove the lemongrass stalks and transfer mixture into a Vitamix or blender and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer back into pot. [Note: Technically, you can skip this step if you prefer a lot of texture in your curry — in fact, the photos featured in this recipe were taken before I altered my recipe to include this step. It's insanely delicious either way, I've just found that I quite enjoy the upped creamy factor by Vitamix-ing at this point].

Add coconut milk, chili sauce, chickpeas, kale/spinach (if using) and continue to simmer over low heat. In a wok or nonstick cast iron pan, sauté diced tofu in a few tablespoons of high-heat safe oil (such as safflower or canola) until brown and crispy. Place tofu on paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Bring a separate pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower until desired texture is achieved (this depends on floret size, but it usually takes me about 5 minutes). Add the cauliflower, tofu, lime juice, white miso, and salt to taste. If the mixture is too thick for your liking, just add a little more veggie stock or water and up the spices accordingly — if you want it spicier, add Sriracha, or additional chili paste. At this point, you can really mold this recipe and make it you own!

Place quinoa into a bowl, cover with curry, and sprinkle with desired toppings. Serve hot with a lime wedge on the side and enjoy!