Gluten free, Lunch, Main courses, Vegetables
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Thai Aubergine, Squash & Spinach Dal


Monday 15th June is World Meat Free Day, so I thought it would be great to post this recipe today! The idea is to encourage people to give up meat for just one day to raise awareness of the benefits of eating less meat for a healthier, balanced diet thats better for the planet and food systems.

Naming this dish was tricky! It’s kind of like a soup but more so! Its kind of like a Thai curry but not!! This is another of my go to quick suppers, a complete meal in a bowl! Everytime I make this dish, which I’ve been doing for quite a long time now, its different! I see what I have in the fridge and if I think it will work, in it goes. Finally I’ve got around to writing down the recipe of my favourite version.  That is not to say a few mushrooms or chunks of courgette may still creep in from time to time!

I absolutely love Thai food, the flavours are so exciting and the smell intoxicating. For me Thai food will always satisfy if I’m really feeling like I don’t know what to eat. I think it’s hard to beat a Thai Green Chicken Curry! (which reminds me I’ve got a very old recipe I’ve written somewhere that has become a family favourite. I’ll dig it out and post it on here one day!) This recipe plays on those flavours but doesn’t involve making a paste so is very quick. Try and find fresh lemongrass, it really adds a great flavour. If you can’t you could always use dried lemon grass and follow the package instructions. Failing that add a little lemon rind instead. If you can find fresh lime leaves, pop a couple in with the coconut milk and stock, they add a great flavour too.

Serves 4

2 garlic cloves

2 stalks fresh lemongrass

1 onion

1 red chilli

2tbsp coconut oil

125g red lentils

400ml can coconut milk

1tsp Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder (vegan)

salt and pepper

500g butternut squash

300g aubergine

100g young fresh spinach leaves

5tbsp chopped fresh coriander

juice of 1 lime

sliced red chilli and halved limes to serve

Crush the garlic, cut the stalks of lemon grass in half and bash with the back of a knife to help
release the juices. Peel and finely chop the onion. Deseed the chilli and finely chop.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic, lemongrass, onion and chilli for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Rinse the lentils and add to the pan and cook over a medium heat for a further 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, refill the empty can with water and add this to the saucepan with the bouillon powder and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, peel the butternut squash and cut into 2cm cubes. Add to the saucepan, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Wash and cut the aubergine into 2cm cubes, add to the pan, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the spinach with the fresh coriander and simmer gently for 2 minutes until the spinach begins to wilt.

Add the lime juice and gently stir. Serve in IMG_4885bowls with a few chopped chillies on top and halves of lime to squeeze over.

I love a bowl of this on its own, but to make a more substantial meal serve with some steamed brown rice. I tend to serve this with the lemongrass but you could always remove it before serving!

This dish really holds its heat but, like most Thai food, is just as delicious served lukewarm! It keeps really well, simply cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat over a very gentle heat, stirring occasionally until piping hot.  You may find the vegetables soften a little more but you’ve still got a bowl full of amazing flavours!

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