weeknight spinach tikka masala (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free)
My love for Indian food – especially south Indian – has grown over the years and my favorite go-to curry sauce is this one. It’s one of the often-requested dishes from my boys (although they like chicken to go along with it…sigh). But, my girl…she’s a tough one! So far I haven’t won her over to that recipe, so you could have knocked me over with a feather when she actually liked this one. Praise the Lord.
If you’re looking for a quick-ish fresh meal to make and one that rocks leftovers – this one is it!
The sauce is the epitome of comfort food, Indian-style, with its warming spices and rich creaminess of the coconut milk. It gets an added nutrition boost from quick-cooking red lentils, which makes them ideally suited for weeknights, and freshly chopped spinach. It can be spooned over chickpeas or quinoa for added plant-protein or served traditionally with rice (brown is best). For our meal, I served it with oven roasted broccoli and green beans since those are two family favorites, but you can easily adapt your veggie add-ons to suit your tastes. Weeknight tip: use frozen veggies to save on chopping time!!
For a quick weeknight meal, I recommend following the preparation steps outlined in the recipe. Alternatively, you could prep the sauce ahead of time and simply re-heat when ready to serve.
Warm comfort food designed for weeknights and made for leftovers.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1 T tomato paste
- 1 tsp freshly minced ginger or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup red lentils
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- chickpeas, quinoa or rice
- veggies of choice
If you are serving with brown rice and don't have a rice- or pressure cooker, put a pot of water on to boil (like you would for pasta) and turn on the oven to 350 degrees F. If you are serving with quinoa, rinse thoroughly and add to pot with water. For less mushy quinoa use a scant 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. For example, if you're cooking one cup of dried quinoa, add only 1 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Cooks in about 10 minutes.
Spread your veggies on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven. Rinse lentils thoroughly and set aside.
Begin to chop the veggies for the tikka masala sauce. If cooking rice, at whatever point in this process your water starts to boil, add in the rice and cook uncovered as you would pasta. Set the time for 23 minutes.
Finish preparing the tikka masala sauce and add in the lentils. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot, then reduce to a simmer.
Chop spinach and take a peek at your veggies in the oven. When they start to brown slightly, turn the oven off. Keep them in the oven until ready to serve so they stay warm.
When the timer beeps, test your rice for doneness, then either allow to cook for another minute or two or drain immediately and return to the pot.
When the lentils are fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes), add in the spinach and cilantro and stir to combine.
To serve, add quinoa/chickpeas/rice to a bowl along with the veggies and spoon the sauce over top.
- 9) Store leftovers in the fridge for up to several days or freeze for later.
- I prefer buying my broccoli and green beans frozen to save me a step.
- If you want leftovers, I recommend doubling the sauce recipe.
(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you ? )
- I’m able to buy my broccoli organically and in bulk from BJ’s (a wholesale club). If you don’t have a wholesale club membership and want to check BJ’s out, click here to get details on a membership (if you sign up we both get $25!!). Or, if you’re not sure if a wholesale club membership is worth it, you can download an article here where I share my experience and steps in evaluating whether a membership made sense for us.
- You should be able to find canned full-fat coconut milk in most grocery stores. I buy either the Thai Kitchen brand or Whole Foods 365 coconut milk (which is better since their cans are BPA free!). However, if you can’t find it, try here.
- I get my red lentils in bulk from Whole Foods, but you also can find them here.
- I love Trader Joe’s frozen french-style green beans which is what I used here.