I know we’ve hit the peak of summer produce season when my CSA box shifts from lots of greens & root veggies to eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, & summer squash. It’s here! Even though I love eating with the seasons, I tend to tire quickly of the eggplant & peppers, finding that I have to extend a bit more creativity when preparing the dishes they star in. But at least it keeps me on my toes & I often find with a bit of patient brainstorming, a delicious new recipe comes to life – like these killer roasted veggie tacos that I made last summer. Holy yes! I considered making those again, then I contemplated creating eggplant & squash enchiladas (Mexican food is always a win!), which had been the plan before the week escaped me. Before I knew it, my CSA pick up day was upon me & what was promised? Of course, more eggplant & peppers. I had to make room, & fast. What better way than with a “clean out the fridge” curry?
I love curry. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s versatile. No matter what time of year, a satisfying curry dish can be adapted per what is in season. I enjoy a sweet green curry with delicate spring veggies, or a spicy red curry with winter squash & beans, but I couldn’t quite recall a summer variation, so why not add one to the repertoire? Up until recently, I was, admittedly, a “cheater curry” kinda gal, relying on the store bought jars from Trader Joe’s, but last spring my friend P & I made the “Easy Weeknight Curry” from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday & I quickly realized how easy it was (& much more flavorful) to make a simple curry with veggies, coconut milk & curry paste. No more jarred crap for me.
For this summer inspired version, I used Heidi’s sauce recipe as my baseline, & basically cleaned out the fridge – eggplant, summer squash, red pepper, antohi romanian pepper, yellow tomato, & bunching onions – were all begging to be put into this make-shift dish. And I knew it would work since a.) seasonal veggies have a way of working beautifully together, & b.) this simple simmer sauce is super delicious on just about anything. I was confident & it fulfilled my expectations.
As I mentioned, this simple sauce is delish – to the point of almost being drinkable. What’s not to crave when you marry a rich & creamy coconut milk with a vibrant curry paste comprised of red curry pepper ginger, lemon grass & kaffir lime? The sauce, in & of itself could drown even the most dreaded of veggies (& I know for some of you it’s eggplant!) in a pool of joyful curried decadence. Trust me on this.
While this “recipe” was a bit of an “intuitive” venture, here is a rough recap of what was used.
- 1 1/2 Tbsp, coconut oil
- 1 bunch bunching onions, or 1 onion, diced
- 2 Japanese eggplants, about 2 cups, quartered & sliced into ¾ inch pieces
- mixed summer squash, about 1 1/2 cups, diced
- mixed peppers, about 1 cup, diced
- 1 yellow tomato, diced
- 3 tsp. Thai red curry paste
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- sea salt to taste
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion & a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onion starts to become translucent
- In the meantime, in a small bowl, mash the curry paste with a few tablespoons of the coconut milk. Add this to the pot and stir until the onions are well coated. Stir in the remaining coconut milk.
- Bring to a simmer, then add eggplant, squash & peppers. Cover reduce to low & simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies are tender.
- Uncover & add the broth, stir & taste. Add salt a little at a time until the flavors in the curry really pop. As Heidi says, this is a crucial step!
This is not a thick sauce, so I like to serve it over a bit of brown basmati or jasmine rice to sop up all the liquid goodness. As time was of the essence, in this instance, I made a quick batch of whole wheat couscous. Or you may desire to serve it solo, with a side of vegan naan for the sopping! What ever floats your curry boat.
Delicious, quick, colorful, vegan curry, satisfied belly & for now, an eggplant free fridge. Enjoy!