Another twofer in the books. Cross-training is a big part of my routine these days so this morning my ever-so-early alarm sounded just after 5am. Sweat Therapy‘s Group Row started promptly at 6am so I had to get up early and get going. After work I hit the weight room for a strength session, so between that, an appointment and my usual daily work duties, my time for the day was spread a bit thin. I’m sure many of you have found yourself in such a time predicament as well. This could only mean one thing, if I was going to eat a decent dinner, I’d have to turn to my handy friend, the ever-faithful slow cooker.
After row, I had about an hour to shower, get ready for work and prepare my slow-cooker meal before my morning appointment; I quickly chopped up a few vegetables and tossed my to-be dinner into old faithful. Quick push of a button and call it a day. Here’s what the good ol’ crock-pot and I served up last night.
Slow Cooker Red Curry and Rice
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 cup peeled and diced carrots
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 2 Tbsp lemongrass, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 4 cups eggplant cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 Tbsp red curry paste, or to taste
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cup canned bamboo shoots, drained
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, torn
- 2 Tbsp cane sugar
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 2 cups fat-free plain greek yogurt
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 cup whole grain brown rice, cooked
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- Sesame seeds, pea shoots and Lime wedges for garnish
1. Grease slow cooker pot and place the onion, carrots, celery, lemongrass, red bell pepper, garlic, eggplant and bamboo shoots on the bottom. In a separate bowl, mix the vegetable broth, red curry paste, ginger, basil and coconut milk until blended. Pour mixture over vegetables. Should look something like this.
2. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. If cooking on high reduce slow cooker to low and stir in the cane sugar and greek yogurt until blended. Toss in chopped tofu and stir. Allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile mix together cooked brown rice and beans sprouts.
3. Serve vegetable curry mixture over brown rice. Top with a dash of sesame seeds, a squeeze of lime juice and a small handful of pea shoots if desired.
Recipe adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier.
There are so many vegetables in this recipe, I love it! The variety of colors presented in this recipe represents an array of different phytochemicals and antioxidants provided. This is great for promoting body recovery and repair after a hard day at work but especially a hard day at working out. Just a few vitamins well represented by the vegetables in this dish include, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate. While the vegetables provide all sorts of vitamins they also provide a dose of heart-healthy fiber. Brown rice offers a dash of protein, heart-healthy soluble fiber and provides a good portion of manganese, magnesium, selenium and several B vitamins.
One of the key ingredients to a good curry dish, as present in this recipe, is coconut milk. Although coconut milk is higher in saturated fat, over half of the fat in coconut is classified as medium-chain fatty acids. The body processes medium-chain fatty acids differently from other fatty acids by absorbing them directly into the bloodstream to be used for energy, therefore bypassing processing in the liver. This effect may help to aid weight loss, decrease inflammatory markers in the body, be helpful in certain heart and neurological conditions and be a healthful fat choice in certain digestive disorders. All this being said, coconut milk is still high calorie and should be used in moderation so for this reason I chose to include greek yogurt for half of the coconut milk in the recipe in order to maintain creaminess but keep the caloric content in check. The greek yogurt also provides a boost of protein and calcium. Overall, the combination creates a taste balance in this creamy dish.
I went with tofu in this recipe because not only does it go well with curry dishes, but it also soaks up anything it is marinaded in to give it a great blast of flavor. In this dish, allowing it to soak in the curry mixture for a while really helps it to absorb the rich, curry flavors present. Tofu is a great lean protein source, especially if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. All this being said, if you’re not a big tofu fan, you could easily substitute chopped chicken in this recipe, just cut up the chicken, add to slow cooker with the vegetables and allow to cook for the entire duration of the cooking time. Whether it’s tofu or chicken or something else, having that protein source in this dish really rounds this recipe out as a complete meal.