Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Potato Curry
Ham usually gets all the attention on Easter, which is something of a bummer for those who don't eat meat. This full-flavored curry side dish should please the vegetarians and vegans on your guest list. Quick and easy, it features roasted asparagus, one of the first sure signs of spring.
I served it over orzo because I was out of rice, but you don't really need any starch at all.
Coarse sea salt
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided (I used grapeseed oil)
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
2 bay leaves
14-ounce can diced tomatoes
14-ounce can coconut milk
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt, boil for 1 minute, add asparagus and immediately turn off heat. Let sit for 1 minute, then drain. Transfer to a large plate and toss with 2 teaspoons coconut oil to coat lightly. (My asparagus was extremely thin, so I skipped this step.)
Transfer asparagus to a large baking sheet and roast in oven until it starts to crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add mustard seeds and cook until they pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Then add garlic, ginger, Garam Masala, chili powder, turmeric, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place tomatoes and their juices in a large bowl. With clean hands, squeeze tomatoes through your fingers to break them into smaller pieces. (I skipped this step.) Transfer tomatoes to saute pan with onions and spices. Add coconut milk, then fill coconut milk can one-quarter full with water and stir it well to incorporate any coconut milk that may have been left behind. Add this to the saute pan and mix well.
Add sweet potato and simmer over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, until tender and sauce has thickened. Add asparagus pieces, cover and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.
-- Adapted from "The Inspired Vegan" by Bryant Terry (DaCapo, 2012, $19)
Gretchen McKay: email@example.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.