Creamy coconut curry lentils with potato-y kohlrabi is dreamy and hearty. Served with kale and garlic scape infused rice, it is the kind of healthy comfort food that will make you say, “Oh Ma Gawd!”
It’s week ONE of my “What to Do with Your CSA Farm Share” series. I am really excited to get started on this with you. This coconut curry lentil dish is the perfect place to start because 1. it’s all the comfort food and 2. it uses up some flavorful, yet unusual ingredients.
I want to help you feel comfortable taking some of the produce you pick up from a farm or farm market and turning it into something super upbeat and delicious. Because I totally get that feeling of getting handed over a bag full of produce and freaking out a little on the inside.
Some Thoughts you have the first time you get a farm share:
- This is completely out of sync with what I normally use.
- Why is this bag just full of leaves?
- Umm…what is that?
Something that makes me excited about cooking with food from the farm is that they usually offer things not offered at the grocery store. That being said, when you’re not used to using certain produce it can feel a whole lot of a bit overwhelming at first.
That’s why I’m here. Cuz coconut curry lentils doesn’t sound quite as scary mizuna or kohlrabi, amiright?
What’s in Season this Week | June 21-28
I’ll be straight with y’all. I am still trying to work out how this series is going to go down. The partnership I am doing with Plainsong Farm is new for both of us, so I really appreciate in advance your willingness to roll with any changes in the structure of this beast. For now, my plan is to talk about what foods are in season each week and then break down some of the specific veggies I choose. Of course, the seasonality of food will be different for every locale.
Foods you’ll likely find at farmer’s markets or in your farm share this week:
- garlic scapes
- Mustard Greens
- Snap Peas
- Salad Turnips
The bold veggies are what’s going in today’s recipe.
At the beginning of the summer farm shares usually produce lots of greens. Get used to eating a lot of salad. But the green rice to go with this curry, inspired by Cookie and Kate, is a creative way to use up some of your greens and those garlic scapes, that maybe even your kids will eat.
I am also excited about this dish because there’s kohlrabi in it. And let’s be honest, nobody knows what to do with kohlrabi.
Coconut Curry Lentils with Kohlrabi?
It may seem like I just randomly threw some kohlrabi into a curry recipe and called it good. But actually, kohlrabi is a common ingredient in southern Indian cuisine. When cooked it is tender and buttery and has the texture somewhere between a potato and cauliflower. Coconut curry lentils and kohlrabi is the perfect way to introduce you to the strange looking vegetable.
If you’ve never worked with kohlrabi before, there’s some things you should know. First, it can be eaten raw. It is crispy and fresh like turnips or jicama and are great thrown into a salad or slaw. Second, you have to peel it. Peeling with a vegetable peeler, in my opinion, is the best way to do it if you are not very experienced with peeling with a knife. If you are comfortable, you can also peel it with a sharp pairing knife like you would a rutabaga. Lastly, low carb people, this should be your thang! This recipe is so far from being low carb but if you are wanting that healthier, starchier feeling food, this is it.
As mentioned above, I learned about green rice from one of my fave vegetarian bloggers, Cookie and Kate. I borrowed her basic idea of pureeing green things and putting them in with your rice while you cook it. This rice is plumped up with kale, cilantro and garlic scapes.
Kale is everywhere these days. But it doesn’t seem fair to assume that you have cooked with it before. Kale is a dark, chewy green that people get pretty excited about because of it’s nutrition, although many other dark leafy greens have much higher nutritional density. I like kale cuz I think it tastes good. My favorite way to eat it is finely chopped and then massaged with lemon juice and olive oil and tossed with a tahini dressing.
Yes, I did just say I give my kale a massage. What?
To use kale, you need to strip each leaf of it’s stalk. To do this, hold the bottom of the stem with your dominant hand. With your other hand, firmly slide your thumb and pointer finger along the edges of the stem starting from the bottom and moving upwards. As you move up, the leafy part should rip and easily fall away from the stalk.
A garlic scape is basically the top of a garlic plant. Garlic plants are not harvested until the fall and will grow a great big flower on the top. Farmers cut this flower part off before it blooms to put all the energy of the plant into producing a beautiful bulb. But also because this part, called the scape, is pretty damn delicious. With the crunch of asparagus and the flavor of a chive you can make all sorts of lovely things with them, like pesto or garlicky soups. Or, of course, green rice.
Y’all! Don’t be afraid of the kohlrabi. Embrace it. Embrace it with creamy lentils in a gingery coconut sauce. And if your child eats all their green rice, please let me know. Cuz maybe there’s a business opportunity looming in the future.
Feedback is King!
If you are embarking on a journey of eating as local and seasonal as possible, joining the conversation is going to help us all! The more I hear from you the more I can help you with your struggles, ideas, and theories. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in one of my posts about what you find you are needing during this process. Sign up for email notifications so that you are up to date each week about what’s in season and what new recipes to try. I’m excited to be on this journey with you and discover new ways to cook fresh food along the way.
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- 1½ cups water
- ¼ cup garlic scapes roughly chopped
- 1 cup of kale, packed
- ½ cup cilantro, packed
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 red onion, diced small
- 1 Tbsp vegetable or refined olive oil
- 1 Tbsp ginger, grated
- 2 cloves or 1 Tbsp garlic
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ cups kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, and diced
- 1 cup red lentils, thoroughly rinsed with cold water in a fine mesh strainer
- 2 cups water
- 1 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
- 2 tsp maple syrup or honey
- Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the kale, garlic scapes, cilantro and salt with 1½ cups water. Combine the puree with the rice in a medium size sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes or as long as your package of rice instructs. If you decide to use white rice, you will need to decrease the cooking time and potentially the water accordingly.
- While the rice is cooking, start the curry. Heat a medium size pot or dutch oven along with 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and swirly. Add the onion and stir frequently. You want the onion to get soft and brown (something I would usually never say to do but is important for flavor in Indian cooking). Once nice and brown, like almost burnt but not, add the garlic and ginger. Give it a good stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices and tomato paste, give it a good stir, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the kohlrabi, water, rinsed red lentils, maple syrup and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce it down to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the kohlrabi is tender like a potato. Adjust the salt. I added a decent amount of extra salt. About ½-3/4 a tsp. But it's up to you how much salt you want to use.
- Serve the green rice along with the curry. Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or yogurt.