Butternut Squash & Lentil Cool Weather Curry
This may be THE ultimate cool weather slow cooker meal. THE, people. First of all, it is hearty, satisfying comfort food. Second, it is nutritiously delicious. Third, squash is of the season thanks to its exceptional storage life. And finally, the spices will make you come alive. At the very least, make you so very thankful that you are alive to be savoring these wonders.
All of that AND these here practical selling points.
Cost. The ingredient list for this recipe will run you about $12.
Bang for your buck. This ~$12 easily feeds our family TWICE. More if you eat with rice.
Ease. After you’ve battled the butternut into cubes, it is smooth sailing from there. Even dishes are minimal - the crock pot, a cutting board, a knife, a spoon, a measuring cup, a tablespoon, and teaspoon - that is it.
And freeze. Put the second half of the recipe into a freezer safe container and it keeps wonderfully. When you want to eat that second half, just dump the ice cube back into the slow cooker to thaw it out and cook it up.
Butternut squash (medium to large)
3 cups Red Lentils
1 large tomato (we use fresh or what we have chopped, drained and frozen from the past seasons garden)
4 cloves garlic
1 large sweet onion
1 TBSP Turmeric
4 TBSP Curry Powder (or more to your taste preference)
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 cups (24 ounces) of milk. I recommend thick coconut milk, but have also used whole milk from the farmers market.
Water as needed to keep things cooking. I only end add enough to just barely submerge everything once in the slow cooker.
Rinse the lentils, mince the garlic, dice the onion, dice or pulverize the tomato, and chop that squash into cubes about half the size of a die. (I know, this is a bit of a battle. But worth it! I assure you!)
Put ALL ingredients into your slow-cooker and stir it up
This is when I will add a bit of water, enough to just barely submerge everything
Cover and cook on high heat for 4 hours, possibly a bit more depending on your slow-cooker (ours is a 6 quart). Stir occasionally.
When I stir it occasionally as it cooks I do a little taste test each time and add more spices if they seem to be soaking up. I know we all prefer different intensities for our flavor so I listed amounts that will be on the milder side as a starting point. I also add a splash more of milk or water if it seems to be drying out at all, or if we just want it less thick.
That is it. Seriously. And it is glorious. We usually just eat a bowl of it garnished with chopped green onion and/or cilantro, but it is also great over some brown rice or barley. Another tip is to add a couple handfuls of fresh spinach into your bowl while it is still warm and mix it on in. It will wilt down and adds more nutrients, great color, and depth to taste.
Once you have let the slow cooker and contents cool completely then you can scoop what remains into a freezer safe container. Don’t forget to label with its name and the date. And don’t freeze any rice or barley with it.
When you want to eat your frozen meal just put it into your slow cooker to thaw it out and cook it back up.
I hope that you enjoy this meal as much as we do. Let me know how it goes or if you try any new variations of the recipe.