Allow me to dig myself out from my winter hermitage (snow! holidays! birthday!) with my contribution to Kim and Ricki’s latest SOS Kitchen Challenge featuring coconut oil. I love me some coconut oil, though admittedly I use it mainly for sweet purposes – Coconut Lime Cupcakes or a Green Cocolada Smoothie, for example.
Since starting at my new job, and the inevitable honeymoon addiction to premade hot and cold food made by my fellow coworkers, I’ve been intrigued and delighted by the variety of roasted vegetables offered by our deli. Aside from the usual cajun and generic-European thyme and savory herb varieties, I’ve also been introduced to berbere- and curry-roasted vegetables. This is my homemade exploration of the latter dish, only using the venerable coconut oil for a nice, rich roasting instead of the usual olive or vegetable oil. The result is flavorful, rich, and mildly spiced (at least to my tastes…I grew up in Southern California where the average palette is decidedly more adventurous than my new home in Minnesota); but it’s also easily adaptable to different veggies, extra curry paste, maybe some fresh ginger… (I think some cauliflower would really be delicious here as well, though I was saving mine for another batch of mashed cauliflower featuring the lovely star ingredient. Coincidence? Perhaps!) The veggies I used reflect a somewhat Midwestern and/or wintery assortment, but any favorite combination for roasting will do.
I served mine with some brown rice and peanut-satay-braised tofu (leftover sauce from my birthday celebration), and my partner and I agreed it was a most delightful meal.
Coconut-Red Curry Roasted Vegetables
serves 4 heartily
1 large leek, sliced up to the dark green part
1/2 lb. celeriac, peeled and diced
1/2 lb. red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large zucchini (about 1/2 lb.), quarted and diced
1/2 lb. sweet potato, peeled and diced
3-4 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
2 teaspoons agave nectar or other sweetener (optional)
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1-2 tablespoons vegan red curry paste
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1/2 kaffir lime (or a regular lime)
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Combine the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the coconut oil, optional sweetener, garlic, curry paste and salt, and pour over the vegetables, stirring to coat evenly (the coconut oil will melt and spread significantly once in the oven, so don’t be worried if the mixture seems a little dry at first). Place in a large baking pan or sheet pan and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula to brown the vegetables evenly. Remove from oven and toss with cilantro and lime juice before serving.