Kabocha Squash, Lentil and Coconut Stew
On a whim, I bought a pretty green and silver striped Kabocha Squash the other day. I had no idea what it would look like inside or taste like, but those that know me know I am just that quirky and adventurous about foods. I just figure it out as a go along. How about you?
What I discovered is that this lovely orange fleshed squash is sweeter than butternut and easily substituted for that often used ingredient. So I roasted it (at about 350º for 30-45 minutes until soft) used about 2 1/2 cups for the recipe below and froze the remainder so it would be quick and at the ready next time inspiration hits.
This recipe is quick meal to brighten up a cold and dreary night and can be a complete vegetarian meal for your Meatless Monday or any other day. Would be great for a potluck too, the Indian inspired spices are fragrant, the heat of the red pepper gentle enough for those with low tolerances, and the coconut, cilantro with a bit of lime bring a surprising pop of flavors. I took preparation notes from a dish created by Aarti Sequiera called Indian Summer Stew: Butternut Squash, Coconut, Lentil Stew (though she uses yellow split peas not lentils in the recipe.)
Don’t miss out on trying new and different flavors, that’s part of the fun and adventure of cooking! I encourage you to let new ingredients inspire and trigger your senses.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 ½ cups roasted kabocha squash, cubed
- 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
- ½ cup dried shredded coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Unsweetened Coconut)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground roasted cumin
- 4 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
- I pre-roasted my squash and saved it in the freezer in about 2 cup batches.
- Peel and dice carrot, apple and onion.
- Cut and seed tomato, dice
- Heat olive oil in a large 4-6 qt pot over medium high, add onion, carrot and apple. Cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add lentils, squash to pot, sprinkle in turmeric and roasted cumin, stir to combine.
- Add carrot, onion, apple and coconut and cook with lentil mixture for about a minute, stirring occasionally.
- Cover with liquid and bring to a low boil. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stir periodically to avoid sticking on the bottom of your pot.
- Remove cover and cook another 10 minutes.
- Temper spices in a small skillet by heating 1 tablespoon canola oil until shimmering. Add in mustard and coriander seeds to hot pan, heat until they pop. Quickly add in red pepper flakes, garlic and salt and cook briefly 10-15 seconds.
- Add hot spices and oil to stew pot and take one ladle of stew mixture back into skillet to gather all the remaining spice flavors (this will sizzle and spit, but that’s ok) Re-incorporate back into the stew mixture, stir to blend. Remove from heat.
- Stir in cilantro, reserve extra for sprinkling on top.
- Serve in bowls with a squirt of lime juice and a tiny drizzle of honey