When I invite new, non-vegetarian faces over for dinner, I often feel compelled to find or craft the BEST meat-free recipe to date.  Okay, so maybe not the paramount recipe of the world, but one with hearty characteristics that, in a sense, could perhaps be called “meaty”.

I love the majority of the vegan and vegetarian dishes that come out of my kitchen. This goes for the once-a-weekers, the so-called ordinary recipes, the vegetable centered dishes, the 3-ingredient creations, etc. etc.  And it’s not that I don’t think my new meat-accustomed friends wouldn’t like these too. It’s just that I generally want to cook them something that may make them, at least for a moment, think twice about their dependence on meat. To let them know that vegetarian dishes can also be rich, filling and satisfying, even while staying healthy.  If nothing else, maybe they’ll think twice about their options when we’re dining out together at a restaurant – and we can share both entrees. (Hint, hint.)

I should, however, remark that I’ve been pretty lucky to be paired up with so many adventurous eaters in my life. When Nicole from Prevention RD said this was ”fan-flipping-tastic” and one of her ”favorite vegetarian meals in QUITE some time!”, I jumped on the opportunity to test it out on the new boy in my life.

Though, given the person coming over for dinner, I wouldn’t always say something like a red curry is the safest bet for introducing someone to veg. style of eating. Luckily, I knew my dining date would love it, and love it he did.

This is one of those hearty, full-flavored meals I was talking about that makes the perfect accompaniment to a healthy whole grain. I went with a combination of quinoa and rice, just to spice things up. If you’re looking to make the dish a little richer, add a dab of butter on top as you spoon the hot lentils into your bowl.

Giveaway:

Today I’m also hosting a giveaway of Cascal, a new natural soft drink that tastes great and has no sugars or artificial sweeteners! Plus, each can has just 60-80 calories. Not bad for a carbonated drink.

If you enter, you’ll get a sampler pack, meaning you get to try all 5 flavors like the Fresh Tropical (with mango, jasmine & kaffir lime), the Bright Citrus (with pineapple, lemongrass & tangerine), and the Ripe Rouge (with cherry, rose & chocolate – it’s strange, in a good way, how you can really pick up the cocoa notes in this!).

To enter:

(Leave a separate comment per entry. Each separate comment will give you one entry in the contest.)

This contest closes on **November 20, 2012 at 8:00pm EST**

1) Leave a comment on this post telling me which flavor you’re most curious to sample.
2) Leave a comment telling me what’s your favorite vegetarian meal to impress.
3) Become a fan of F-F-F on Facebook
4) Follow me on Twitter
5) Link this giveaway on one of your blog posts and let me know that you did.
6) Tweet a variation of this on Twitter: @GraceDickinson is hosting an all-natural, low-cal, tasty soda giveaway at FoodFitnessFreshAir.com.

One winner will be chosen at random by random.org.

Red Curry Lentils + GIVEAWAY

Yield: Serves 5-6

Slightly adapted from Prevention RD and Pinch of Yum

Ingredients

  • -1 cup rice + 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • -1 1/2 cups dry lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • -1 medium onion, diced
  • -2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • -3 Tbsp. red curry paste
  • -1/2 Tbsp. garam masala
  • -1 tsp. curry powder
  • -1/2 tsp turmeric
  • -1 tsp. sugar
  • -2 cloves garlic, minced
  • -1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • -pinch of cayenne pepper
  • -1 (14 oz) can tomato puree or sauce
  • -1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • -1/2 cup cilantro, chopped for garnishing
  • -Pinch of salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring 3 cups of water, rice and quinoa to a boil in a sauce pan. Once at a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 40 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat 6-8 cups water and the lentils over high heat. Boil for about 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in the same saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes until softened. Add all the spices (curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, sugar, garlic, ginger) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and simmer for a minute or two until smooth.
  4. Add the lentils and the coconut milk. Stir to combine and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in cilantro, saving a few sprigs to garnish. Serve over rice/quinoa and garnish with extra cilantro.
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24 Responses to Red Curry Lentils + GIVEAWAY

  1. Megan says:

    The bright citrus sounds really good , I love anything with pineapple!

  2. wowee – this exactly my sort of food, it looks so healthy, dense and full of flavour – very comforting I’d imagine.

  3. The Ripe Rouge sounds intriguing!! This recipe looks really GREAT, too!!

  4. justaudrey says:

    I would like to try the Ripe Rouge.

  5. justaudrey says:

    I haven’t made many meals to impress non-vegans, but this Thanksgiving I plan on bringing Dreena Burton’s Festive Chickpea Tart. I hope it goes over well!

  6. justaudrey says:

    I like you on FB

  7. justaudrey says:

    I follow you on Twitter

  8. Sarah O. says:

    The Ripe Rouge sounds awesome! I love rose-flavored things.

  9. Sarah O. says:

    And I don’t really ever have dinner guests who expect me to impress them, but quiche is always nice, and I have a recipe for General Tso’s tofu that is pretty awesome.

  10. Andrea says:

    I would try the Bright Citrus first!
    Loved lentils any way, great recipe.
    Thanks

    Andrea :)

  11. heather says:

    I do a mushroom biryani with yogurt sauce that is a sure-fire recipe.

  12. Andrea says:

    I do polenta with an eggplant -mushrooms-tomato sauce on top :)

  13. Ttrockwood says:

    Fresh tropical sounds great- they all do!

  14. Ttrockwood says:

    Liked you on fb

  15. Ttrockwood says:

    I have been veg for more than 20years now…! I make a coconut milk broth (legit full fat coconut milk) chickpea/spinach/tomato/onion/tempeh curry that i serve ontop of quinoa or thin into a soup and add noodles and cilantro- very popular with carnivores too!

  16. Im am curious to try to the Crisp White flavor, with notes of pear, apricot, and magnolia… only from Cascal! Drink in the complexity.

  17. Ann says:

    Crisp white definitely sounds good. I love pears!

  18. Julie says:

    Fresh Tropical is definitely very me!

  19. Shannon C says:

    I absolutely love kaffir lime, so I’d be most excited to try that flavor.

  20. keren griffith says:

    I follow you on twitter

  21. keren griffith says:

    I would like to try fresh tropical..but they all sound yummy : )

  22. This one is for the spice lovers! Too spicy for me but R liked it. Thanks for sharing.

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