Vegan Malai Kofta with Zucchini and Garbanzos: #184 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Malai kofta is a classic Indian comfort food – think of tender dumplings in a creamy sauce. This recipe is a plant-based delight that blends cashews, coconut milk, and spices to create a rich sauce without all that dairy in it. The dumplings have garbanzo beans, almonds, and zucchini in them, and we added some peas and rice noodles to round out a complete and satisfying meal. Thanks to Isa for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($15 total for 6 servings)

Kofta:
1 can chick peas – $0.99
1/2 cup ground almonds – $0.63
1 large zucchini, grated – $0.58
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
Pepper to taste
1 cup ground up Hawaiian sweet rolls or other breadcrumbs – free

Sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours – $2.00
2 cups vegetable broth – $1.00
1/2 large onion, chopped – $0.25
4 cloves garlic – $0.15
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 can coconut milk – $1.99
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes – $0.20
1 tsp salt – $0.05
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20

1 tbsp coconut oil to cook kofta – $0.55
1-2 cups frozen peas – $1.00
1 package fresh pad Thai noodles – $2.99

Directions

1. Make the kofta: mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, stir well to combine, and refrigerate the mixture for half an hour to firm it up. Shape them in your palm into about 18 oval shaped balls. Return to the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.

2. In a blender, add all the sauce ingredients and blend together until relatively smooth, then pour it into a large pan.

3. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Cook the kofta for several minutes, turning them around gently with a form to brown as many sides as possible.

Add the peas and fresh pad thai noodles to the sauce and warm to a boil. Follow package directions for how long the noodles need to cook.

Serve the kofta in bowls over top the noodles and curry sauce. Enjoy it hot from the stove. You’ll be left with a very warm and happy tummy.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Chana Curry Buns: #182 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Chana is the Hindi word for chickpea, a widely used legume in Indian cuisine. These yeasted buns have a curry-scented dough and a filling of spiced chickpeas, coconut milk, raisins, and onions. They were inspired by the Great British Bakeoff cookbook and proved to be a lovely accompaniment to our asparagus leek potato soup.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5.50 total for 4 large stuffed buns)

Dough:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/3 cup hottest tap water + 1 cup warm water – free
4 cups white whole wheat flour – $0.64
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
2 tsp salt – $0.10
1 tbsp sesame seeds – $0.08
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40

Filling:
1 tbsp canola oil – $0.05
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
3 celery stalks, chopped – $0.15
2 garlic cloves, minced – $0.08
1/2 tsp turmeric – $0.14
1/2 tsp cumin – $0.14
2 tsp curry powder – $0.56
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/4 cup raisins – $0.25
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained – $0.79
1/4 cup coconut milk – $0.49
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Prepare the dough: in a small plastic bowl, mix the yeast, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup hottest tap water together briefly. Let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom the yeast until a thick foam forms on top. In a large metal bowl, mix the flour, curry powder, salt, and sesame seeds.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add the yeast mixture and the olive oil to the flour mixture. Stir well with a wooden spoon to form it into a dough. Knead the dough with your hands for 10 minutes, then put it back in the metal bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled in size.

2. Prepare the filling: In a large pan, heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes to soften the onions. Add in the garlic, turmeric, cumin, and curry powder, and mix well. Next, add the raisins and chickpeas, and finally the coconut milk.

Stir to combine and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat, until the mixture is pretty dry. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove from heat and cool.

3. Assemble the chana buns: cut the risen dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out on a cutting board to a circle about 6 inches across. Divide the filling into 4 portions and put one portion into the center of each circle. Wrap the dough around the filling and pinch the ends together. Turn the bun over so the pinched ends are underneath, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the buns with a tea towel and let them rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled. Remove the cover and bake the buns at 425F for 20 minutes until they’re nice and golden brown. Cut into them and serve warm with your favorite soup or salad.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Cauliflower Tikka Masala: #176 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We love the creamy curry-ness of a good chicken tikka, but now we’re eating more of a plant-based diet. What to do? Fortunately Jamie Oliver came to the rescue with the inspiration for this cauliflower tikka masala recipe. Very comforting comfort food, and healthy to boot.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

Blend:
1 can coconut milk – $1.99
1 tomato – $0.99
2 heaping tbsp cashews – $0.24
1 tbsp apricot jam – $0.16
1 lemon, squeezed – $0.20
1/4 tsp paprika – $0.07
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped – $0.08
1 tsp ginger – $0.28

Sauté:
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces – $2.49
1 bunch collard greens, chopped – $1.99
1 bunch chard, chopped – $1.99
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Put all the “Blend” ingredients in a blender and process until it makes a smooth simmer sauce.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften, then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes to start to brown the garlic. Next add the cauliflower, the greens, and the simmer sauce.

3. Bring to a bubbly boil then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and the flavors have all melded together. Cook the rice during this time too, using one part rice and two parts water, with a bit of salt.

Serve the cauliflower tikka hot over rice, and enjoy the melting comforting sensation of filling your body with this healing treat of a meal.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Sensational Baked Samosas: #153 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Here we take the warm healing of a potato curry and add a crisp baked pastry instead of the traditional fried version. Your heart and your mouth will both be happy. The kiddos gobble these down too!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($6 total for 12 samosas)

Pastry (thanks to Alissa for the inspiration!):
2 cups flour – $0.32
2 tsp baking powder – $0.03
1 tsp salt – $0.05
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water – free
1/4 cup coconut oil – $2.20

Filling:
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1/2 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 garlic cloves, minced – $0.08
1/2 tsp each ginger, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper – $0.84
2 potatoes, baked in the microwave and chopped – $0.40
1/2 cup chopped asparagus or peas – $0.25

Dipping sauce (kid invention called MegaSauce!):
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.15
3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.30
2 tbsp maple syrup – $0.48

Non-stick cooking spray (canola or coconut oil) to lightly coat the pastries – $0.50

Directions

1. Prepare the dough, filling, and sauce. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the water and coconut oil and mix well until it forms a dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, then put in a lightly oiled bowl and cover to let the dough rest for about 30 minutes while you prepare the veggies.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until they get soft. Then add the garlic and spices, mix well, and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Microwave the potatoes for 5 minutes or until a fork can pass through them easily, then chop up the potato and add to the onion mix with the asparagus or peas. Stir to mix well then set aside.

In a small bowl, mix all the dipping sauce ingredients and mix well.

2. After the dough has rested, cut it into 6 pieces and gently roll them into balls. On a floured surface, roll out each ball to a fairly thin circle about 5 or 6 inches across. Slice the circle in half with a knife, and add about 1 tbsp filling to each half. Fold the two cut corners of the pastry down together over the filling to make a triangle shape, then pinch the ends of the triangle together and fold it over to seal in the filling with a nice scalloped edge. You can also pinch together the seam across the top.

3. Once the pastry is nicely shaped and sealed, spray the top and bottom of each one with cooking spray and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once you’ve filled all the pastries, bake them at 400F for 25 minutes, until they’re nice and golden on top. Serve with the dipping sauce and your favorite side dish (we had some extra jerk chicken lying around). These also make great leftovers the next day. Enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Restorative Coconut Ginger Dal: #104 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, or if you just want an extra healing, nourishing meal for your body and spirit, this is the soup for you. You can leave out the chard if you prefer, but we had some on hand from our farm volunteering, so I threw it in. This dal freezes very well too.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total for a large pot of soup)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 tbsp curry powder – $1.40
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
2 cups red lentils – $1.69
6 cups water – free
5 medium potatoes, diced – $0.90
2 carrots, sliced – $0.46
2 celery stalks, sliced – $0.20
1 cup raisins – $1.00
1/4 cup tomato paste (1 small can) – $0.89
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk – $1.99
20 leaves of rainbow chard, chopped up – free from the farm
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until it starts to get soft, stirring frequently. Then add the curry powder and ginger, and mix to thoroughly coat the onions.

Once that’s all nicely combined, add the lentils (dry) to the pot and stir briefly to cover the lentils with the onion and spices. 

2. Add the water, potatoes, carrots, and celery next. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 1/2 an hour until the lentils and veggies are soft. 

Then add the tomato paste, raisins, coconut milk, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix well.

3. With the cover removed, simmer for 10-20 more minutes over medium low heat. If you’re adding chopped greens, put them in here and let them wilt while the soup simmers.

You want the dal to be a nice thick soup, not watery at all. Taste for spices and serve hot. Store any leftovers in the fridge or freezer. We like to freeze lunch portions in individual containers so they’re easy to grab from the freezer for school or work.

Enjoy, and feel better soon! 🙂

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Curried Chicken Salad: #81 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

What to do with all that leftover chicken or turkey from a whole roast? Curried chicken salad is super easy and one of my favorite ways to stretch out leftovers. It’s just chicken, mayo, cranberries, nuts, and curry powder. And everyone gobbles it up!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($4 total)

Leftover roast chicken – free
1 cup mayonnaise – $1.00
3 tbsp curry powder – $2.10
1/2 cup cranberries – $0.50
1/2 cup roasted cashews or almonds – $1.00
Any other garnishes you like (green onions, celery, chutney)

Directions

1. Put your leftover chicken pieces into a large bowl, and add all the other ingredients.

2. Mix well until thoroughly combined, and taste for salt/pepper/curry powder. Adjust as needed.

3. Serve in a sandwich, as a snack, or with leftover vegetables from the roast dinner.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Savory Fish Curry: #67 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

What happens when you have a bunch of ingredients in the fridge and you don’t know what to cook? Search for a recipe that can accommodate all of the pieces you have! That’s how this yummy fish curry came to be. Feel free to experiment in your own kitchen too. 🙂

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7.50 total)

Leftover sole fillet – free
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
4 cloves garlic, chopped – $0.15
1 tsp each cumin, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, chili powder – $1.40
1/2 cup dried coconut – $0.33
1 15 oz can tomato sauce – $0.67
1 large zucchini, sliced – $0.78
3 medium potatoes, chopped – $0.54
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the chopped onion, garlic, spices, and coconut. Cook for 5-10 minutes until onion is soft and spices smell fragrant.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce, potatoes, zucchini, salt and pepper. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom.

3. When the zucchini are soft, stir in the cooked fish, and the curry is ready to go! Taste it one more time for salt/sugar/acid, adjust if needed, and then serve in comforting bowls of yumminess.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (fish flown in from overseas)
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Red Lentil Dal: #40 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

The first spoonful goes into our mouths and immediately all the muscles in our face and shoulders relax. There’s a dreamy “wow that’s good” look spreading around the table and we settle into our bowls as though they hold delicious, precious treasure. Yes, it’s dal night! 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($8 total)

1 lb red lentils – $1.69
6 cups water – free
½ 28 oz can crushed tomatoes – $0.80
1 tbsp canola or light olive oil – $0.10
1 chopped onion – $0.50
4 cloves chopped garlic – $0.15
1 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt – $1.96
1 tbsp sugar – $0.06
1 bay leaf – $0.14
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1 bunch collard/kale leaves, chopped – $1.99
2 cups cooked basmati rice – $0.47

Directions

1. Rinse red lentils several times with cold water until water runs clear, then drain. In a medium pot, mix rinsed lentils with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until lentils are soft. Occasionally scoop any foam off the top of the water as it cooks. Turn off heat once lentils are cooked and set aside. 

2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn. Next, add all the spices. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add the cooked lentils and lentil cooking water to the onions and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and tomatoes and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt or spices  if necessary.

3. Stir in chopped collards and rice, then remove from heat, or simmer until you’re ready to eat. Also ok to serve rice or naan on the side. Excellent as leftovers!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum possible score!)

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Homemade Naan: #23 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Surprisingly easy to make, naan is a flatbread made in a pan to accompany any Indian dish or other dipping-friendly dinner. We had it with Healing Lentil Soup, then drizzled honey over the leftover naan as a snack.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2.50 total)

1 tbsp dry active yeast  – $0.50
1 tsp sugar – $0.06
1/2 cup water (hot from the tap) – free
2 ½ cups flour – $0.40
1/2 tsp salt  – $0.03
1/4 cup olive oil  – $0.80
1/3 cup plain Greek or soy yogurt – $0.42
1 egg – $0.29

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and hot water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy on top.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Pour the oil, yogurt, egg, and yeast mixture into the flour, and stir until well combined. Add 3 more 1/2 cups of flour, one at a time. 

When it gets too hard to mix with a spoon, knead with your hands for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft and all the flour is mixed in. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

2. Cut the risen dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out with a little bit of flour into a circle about 6 inches across, allowing for variation in shapes.

3. Place the dough circle onto a skillet heated to medium heat and cook until the bottom is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on top. Flip it and cook the other side until golden brown as well. Store the cooked naans on a plate covered with a towel to keep them warm as you cook the remaining ones. Serve with dal or other yummy dips.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!