This Vegan spinach curry recipe has been one of my favorite curries of all time. Combine the powerful antioxidants, vitamins from spinach with minerals, fiber, and protein from lentils, I reap the benefits of one of the most beneficial curries in the world. This vegan spinach curry recipe is nutrient dense, delicious, full of antioxidants, carotenoids and other compounds that aid in anticancer, anti-inflammation, and longevity. I am sure you constantly add spinach to your smoothies and soups regularly. But making a delicious curry out of them is one of my favorite ways of eating spinach.
The not too bitter flavor of spinach makes it a good addition to any other dish or meal you might be preparing. I love a good simple salad of baby spinach and arugula with sliced Campari tomatoes pinch of salt, pinch of freshly crushed black pepper and dash of good olive oil. That is my go-to salad snack. My kids love spinach rice with sliced hot dogs on top and creamed spinach with fried chicken. Chopping up a few leaves from the box of spinach to make a lot of spinach and red lentil curry is another curry in a hurry regular of mine.
Let’s get to know Spinach.
Spinach is a wider term umbrella for several types of plants. Here in USA the two most common varieties we find in grocery stores are savoy spinach (crinkled dark green leaves) and smooth leaf spinach. This plant originated from ancient Persia; ancient Persian people gave this annual its name.
Smooth leaf spinach is great for salads freezing and canning while savoy spinach is great for cooking. Other varieties of spinach are New Zealand spinach and Malabar spinach. New Zealand variety is native New Zealand, Australia, and central Asia. Unlike common USA Varieties this is a different plant and not a true spinach. It belongs to the fig- marigold family and is grown for vegetable and ornamental purposes.
Malabar spinach is what I grew up seeing near the water drains of my mom’s vegetable patch. Unlike other varieties this is a semi-tender, perennial vine. It will surprise you with its sheer ability to reach up to 33 ft with large succulent leaves as big as a salad plate, when the conditions are right. Malabar spinach belongs to the Madeira-vine family of flowering plants ( Basellaceae.) It is native to tropics, southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent. Basella alba replaces true spinach in tropical climate.
More in to benefits of eating Spinach.
All the spinach varieties are equally nutritious and satiating, with slight differences among them. If I must pick one among them to make my vegan spinach curry. However, I do love how true baby spinach is better overall, nutritionally speaking. All of them have impressive amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and combined with green lentils they can be even better for your health and wellness.
Spinach is especially high in iron, vitamin A, and several essential vitamins from vitamin B family like Folate, niacin, and riboflavin. It has a good amount of vitamin C and K. Vitamin A in is in the form of beta carotene form in this green. Beta carotene is an important precursor or a provitamin A that converts into Retinol in our bodies. In addition to many health benefits Beta carotenes, it curbs the danger of accidentally consuming too much retinol.
Vitamin K in Spinach is in the form of K1. Vitamin K1 is an important fat-soluble vitamin, and an important cofactor that helps in blood coagulation. There is evidence that it helps increase insulin sensitivity as well.
Another important antioxidant that is extremely high in Spinach is Lutein + zeaxanthin. Like many leafy greens, Spinach has up to 15000 µg of these vital carotenoids per 100gram of raw spinach. (2) L/Z is an important part of macular pigmentation in our retina. Getting a good amount of L/Z is important for good eyesight development and to combat age related macular degeneration. (16). Along with nuts like pistachios, leafy green vegetables are going to be a major source of L/Z when you are trying to follow a plant-based diet.
Some of my spinach recipes
Many of us already consume spinach mostly in salads and smoothies. Making a version of vegan spinach curry is a minority choice. Salads or smoothies are extremely easy to make and are the best way to add raw greens to your diet. Raw spinach is the way to go when we are looking to fill up on our intake of micronutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. The process of cooking destroys some nutrients and antioxidants. Vitamin C and some of the vitamins from Vitamin B family are susceptible to cooking time, atmospheric oxygen, and cooking temperature.
When it comes to minerals and provitamin A on the other hand, cooking really helps to absorb them better. Quick blanching/ boiling or sautéing lightly will help to get benefits of increased nutrient availability, while keeping in lot of the vitamins intact. In this vegan spinach curry, we are harnessing vitamins better absorbed after cooking, satiety and making a curry is quite simple, easy to make and store curry.
How to make my rich vegan spinach curry recipe with lentils
Let’s cook a luxurious green vegan spinach curry sauce, which can be used with green lentils or any other vegetable or legume to make a delicious side or a soup. My healthy vegan spinach curry uses a smooth sauce made from tomatoes and blanched spinach, to coat green lentils. Instead of using just coconut milk, or cream this curry is going to have pure green punch of flavor and earthiness of green sauce, which will go perfectly with whole green lentils.
Any of Savoy, Malabar, or New Zealand verities or blend of them will be excellent choice for making this type of green vegan spinach curry sauce to for a complete nutritional vegan curry or vegan spinach curry rice. I am using two bunches of curly leaf savoy spinach to make my vegan spinach curry sauce. Two bunches may seem like a lot, but leafy greens will cook down and will reduce their volume, so it isn’t going to be a lot when you make the curry.
Vegan spinach curry with lentils
- 1 cup of boiled green lentils salt added
- 2 bunches of Savoy spinach
- 1 medium red onion sliced
- 1 Teaspoon of diced ginger
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 5 curry leaves sliced
- 1 Teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of cumin seeds
- 1/2 a cup of water
- 2 tbsp of thick coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of neutral tasting oil canola or any other vegetable oil
- 1 green chili optional
- Heat oil in a medium heat. Add cumin seeds let them fry for few seconds and then add onion, ginger, and garlic. Let them fry until fragrant and onions are translucent.
- Add curry leaves and green chili and fry for few seconds.
- Add tomato and cook until juices are released.
- Add cumin powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well.
- Add spinach and add a half a cup of water, cover and let the spinach steam on medium for minute or two. Gently turn repeatedly and steam until leaves turn bright green and just start to wilt.
- Transfer everything into a blender along with cup of coconut milk. Puree until smooth.
- Transfer the pureed green sauce back to the pot and add boiled lentils. Gently heat until sauce starts simmering, and flavors are combined.
- Serve warm with rice.