Vegan Peanut Curry Stew

I love this recipe so much. This was one of my first successful cooking attempts, back when I was a poor student, and long before I met Beans. I was living in Kensington Market in Toronto at the time, and would buy all the veggies from the local fruit markets. When I priced it out, it cost about $2 per meal.

I first had a version of this dish at Hillside, a folk festival in Guelph, Ontario.

Folk festivals are LIFE

Now I make this dish year round to bring back memories of sunshine, music and eco-friendly living.  I’ve been making variations on this recipe for more than ten years now. It’s a dish that I just keep coming back to!

Why make this recipe?

  • Deliciousness: the most important reason
  • Cheap: especially if you buy your veggies from a local market.
  • Flexibility: you can change up a lot of the ingredients without any problems.
  • Vegan AND gluten free so great for people with dietary restrictions – but you can add meat if you want to add a protein punch.
  • Healthy: it’s packed with tons of veggies and mostly made from whole foods – I always feel great and refreshed after eating it.
  • Freezability: it freezes well, making it a great candidate for batch cooking.

Vegan Peanut Curry Stew

Vegan, gluten free and packed with veggies, this stew is a great addition to any cooking rotation
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 14 oz
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame or fresh snow peas
  • 1 can chickpeas drained
  • 1 qt broth vegetable or chicken
  • 1 large sweet potato diced
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter or use almond butter if peanut allergic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small bag of baby spinach 5 oz or equivalent amount of chopped kale
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Over medium high heat, saute onion, green pepper, carrot and celery for 5 minutes
  • Add garlic, ginger and curry powder. Do not brown. *If adding ground chicken, brown meat at this stage.
  • Add can of diced tomatoes, broth, edamame, chickpeas, sweet potato and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables nearly done.
  • Stir in peanut butter and cook until all vegetables tender.
  • Turn off heat, stir in cilantro and spinach.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with peanuts and fresh cilantro if desired.

Notes

Note: For the carnivores out there, I’ve successfully added a pound of ground chicken or turkey to this recipe. Shredded cooked chicken breast would also be delish.

If you like this recipe, let us know! Please share any variations you try in the comments below.

Attribution: The original version of this recipe came from GroupRecipes, but is no longer published on the internets.

The Secret to Great Food at Home

I have a confession: I wasn’t always a great home cook.

In fact, I was awful at it. While I was a baker from an early age, the skills didn’t seem to translate into making actual meals. When I first moved out on my own, I was eating to survive. I subsisted on meals like frozen chicken fingers with frozen vegetable medley, or pasta noodles served with a store-bought jar of sauce.

When I tried to cook, I looked up recipes for my favourite restaurant dishes, like chicken fried rice or rotini with cream sauce. However, all of these meals fell flat.

I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

All that changed when I met Beans and we started cooking together. We regularly made these mind-blowing meals with simple ingredients.

The secret to our success?  This book.

High Flavor, Low Labor by J. M. Hirsch

Yes, a cookbook can change your life. Or, at least, your eating habits.

Beans bought this cookbook on a whim one day while shopping at BMV on Bloor Street in Toronto.

The first thing he made me from this book was Spicy Ground Beef with Hummus (read about this revelatory experience here). This recipe was so amazing we began to pour through the book and pick all our favourites:

  • Ravioli with White Wine Sauce
  • North African Chicken with Roasted Veggies
  • Garlic Lime Steak with Avocado Salsa
  • Hummus Meatballs with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce.

Before I met Beans I would source recipes from places like Allrecipes.com (the rotini with cream sauce) or the backs of food packages (the fried rice).

If the recipe had an ingredient I wasn’t sure about or didn’t have, I would substitute it. If the instructions seemed too hard or finicky, I would try something simpler.

Why did I have the confidence to be so cavalier with new recipes?

I didn’t know the secret to success for new cooks:

Find great recipes.

Follow them closely.

Rule 1: Find Great Recipes

While the internet is great for food ideas, there’s something to be said for a physical book with a collection of well-designed and tested recipes.

Sites like Allrecipes.com are crowd sourced and so you get a real mixed bag in terms of quality.

High Flavor, Low Labor is written by J. M. Hirsch, the national food editor for the Associated Press. This guy knows food and he delivers quality recipes.

Hard to find great recipes in books that have totally blank covers but hey she’s persevering

Rule 2: Follow the Recipe Closely… at least at first

The first time you make something, trust the recipe author, and follow it closely. Especially if you’re a newb with a bad track record like I was – until you know what you’re doing, you don’t realize how much the changes can throw off the flavour balance of the recipe.

And here’s the thing, once you’ve tried a recipe, you can start to make modifications. Beans and I have created our own versions of almost everything we make from this book, and we will be sharing these modified recipes on this site.

Stock footage of Grains and Beans making dinner ha ha just kidding our kitchen is a mess

For me, High Flavor Low Labor was the key that unlocked home cooking. It really delivered on the promise: the recipes are easy but delicious and flavourful. It’s perfect for those of us cooking with time constraints. If you’re trying to get into cooking at home, do yourself a favour: pick up a copy of this book and start cracking.