Archives for posts with tag: michael pollan

let’s be honest, i am a card carrying omnivore, and with the exception of maybe eggplant and okra, i love most food and will eat just about anything. that being said, i am also health and environmentally conscious, so i am always looking to find different ways to limit my meat intake, but also not lose the all important protein factor.

eat food. not too much. mostly plants. -michael pollan, in defense of food

i have always loved curries, whether it is indian or southeast asian, and often think of them as being, at the very least, a vegetarian option, so it was easily enough to make one vegan, plus i am always looking to incorporate more turmeric into my diet. also, i think because of the spices and coconut milk this recipe has a lot of flavor, and with the lentils and peas you get the protein. i don’t miss the meat.



  • olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small cauliflower (with leaves, if possible), chopped in the small florets and pieces
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized disks
  • 2 cups baby potatoes, cut in half or bite-sized
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp madras curry
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste, i like it spicy)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, more if needed
  • 1/2 cup mixed lentils (any kind will work just adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped


heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium high heat. it should be enough to cover the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven. i use my 7.25 qt le crueset. add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. stir in the cauliflower, carrots, and potatoes with a few generous sprinkles of salt, and several grinds of fresh ground pepper.


let cook about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies start to brown a bit, and a fond starts to form on the bottom of the pan. add the ginger, turmeric, and tomato paste. mix to combine.


add the dried spices and mix in well until all of the veggies are covered.


add the vegetable stock, and use a wooden spoon to scrap the fond off the bottom of the pan. add the lentils, bring to a boil, and then add the coconut milk. bring to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are done, about 20-40 minutes depending. it should be the consistency of a thick stew, but you can add a little more vegetable stock if it thickens too much, or would prefer it a little more soup like. add salt to taste.


add the lemon zest, juice and peas at the end, allowing enough time for them to warm, about 5 minutes. stir in the cilantro off heat.


serve with basmati rice.

makes about 8 cups.


perhaps you have been hearing about meatless mondays lately? well for those who haven’t, it is a movement to try to reduce the amount of meat we are eating by at least 15% in order to improve our health and ultimately the health of this planet. i am by no means becoming a vegetarian, and will remain an ominvore, mostly because i love all kinds of meat, but here are a few things to think about:

“going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. it can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.” – from the meatless monday website

also, as mark bittman states in a recent article meat: why bother? for his blog in the nytimes:

“in limited quantities, meat is just fine, especially sustainably raised meat (and wild game), locally and ethically produced dairy and eggs, the remaining wild or decently cultivated fish.”

lastly, michael pollan states in his book in defense of food: an eater’s manifesto even more simply,

“eat food. not too much. mostly plants.”

now being that all of those diseases mentioned above run in my family, and the fact that i love vegetables, taking meat out of my diet once a week seems completely doable. this will be the first of many (hopefully weekly) meatless monday recipes.

mattar paneer (serves 2)

  • 3 tbsp oil (i’ve been on a coconut oil kick, but you can sub canola or olive)
  • 1 cup paneer, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tsp water, set aside
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp cream

heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over medium heat. fry paneer cubes for a few minutes until light golden brown. remove from the pan and place on some paper towels to remove any excess oil. set aside.

blend the tomatoes and ginger together. heat remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. add in the cumin, cinnamon and bay leaf for a few seconds. then add the tomato ginger purée and remaining spices and stir for a few minutes allowing it to reduce a bit.

add the peas and 1/4 cup of water and let cook covered over medium heat for a few minutes letting the peas soften a bit.

add the cornstarch water mixture and let it thicken up. gently stir in the fried paneer.

turn the heat off. discard the bay leaf, and mix in the cream.

i suggest serving over jasmine rice, or as i did today, quinoa. sopping it up with warm naan would be delicious too.

happy mondays!

%d bloggers like this: