With the cooler months quickly approaching, having a few big-batch, back-to-reality recipes on hand that warm, nourish, and comfort is how I stay grounded when work picks up and schedules become hectic again. This vegan korma recipe really speaks to that, and it’s quickly becoming part of my Sunday meal-prep routine, giving me a few days of lunches or speedy suppers that I can just heat and eat when the time is right for me, with rice, with bread, with a salad, or just by itself. It’s also a budget-friendly recipe that feeds 6 to 8 people.
The current spoil of summer produce won’t last forever, so before the cooler months hit, it’s a good idea to begin restocking your pantry for when pasta, soups, curries, and stews dominate the menu. Late-September through March is when a well-stocked pantry really shines, and I have a little grocery list to get you started.
Here are the pantry staples I like to keep on hand for cold weather cooking, along with recipe ideas.
Top Fall and Winter Pantry Staples
- Baking essentials (baking powder, baking soda, fine-grain salt, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, flours, etc.). Recipe: Homemade Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cream Pies
- Bouillon powder or cubes. Recipe: Cold Ramen Salad (Soup) with Sweet Potato and Beef
- Canned beans (chickpeas, white beans, black beans, etc.). Recipe: Salted Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Brown Butter
- Canned coconut milk. Recipe: Saag Aloo Paneer (Curried Spinach, Potato, and Cottage Cheese)
- Canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling). Recipe: No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Almond Butter Cups
- Canned tomatoes. Recipe: Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, dates, etc.). Recipe: Roasted Broccoli Salad with Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Feta
- Dried herbs and spices. Recipe: Easy Vegan Chana Masala
- Dried lentils (brown, red, French, green, etc.). Recipe: Coconut Lentil and Sweet Potato Korma (below)
- Dried mushrooms. Recipe: Wild Mushroom, Turnip, and Saffron Pasta
- Jams and preserves. Recipe: Warm Olives with Orange Marmalade, Thyme, and Garlic
- Nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.). Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
- Nuts and seeds (chia, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.). Recipe: Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal
- Oils (coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, etc.). Recipe: Whole Wheat Banana Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
- Pasta and noodles (spaghetti, soba noodles, macaroni, penne, etc.). Recipe: Japanese Stir-Fry Soba Noodles with Miso Gravy
- Rice (brown rice, basmati, arborio, etc.). Recipe: Oven-Baked Squash Risotto
- Sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, etc.). Recipe: Mexican Chocolate Avocado Pudding
- Whole grains (quinoa, oats, wheat berries, etc.). Recipe: Honey, Almond, and Chia Cluster Granola
Bring your pantry back to life, and head into the fall and winter knowing you’ve got at least a couple of real meals, snacks, and desserts ready to make.
Coconut Lentil and Sweet Potato Korma Recipe
This delicious, easy vegan Indian vegetable korma recipe is loaded with lentils, coconut milk, spices, and sweet potatoes. Kale stirred in at the last minute boosts the colour and texture of this warming one-pot meal. Serve alongside rice and traditional curry condiments such as raita and fruit chutney to make it a feast. It’s a budget-friendly recipe that utilizes a handful of pantry staples, but tastes vibrant and fresh thanks to fragrant spices, herbs, and lime juice.
Serves 6 to 8
2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter or ghee
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Hot red chili such as bird’s eye or red Thai, minced, to taste
3 (650 g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or garam masala
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups dry brown lentils
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk, 3 Tbsp reserved for garnish if desired
1 (14 oz) can plum tomatoes
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp flaky salt or 1 1/2 tsp fine-grain salt
3 cups packed de-stemmed shredded kale or 4 cups packed baby spinach
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp), plus more for serving
Cooked basmati rice, hot, for serving (optional)
Fresh mint or cilantro, for serving
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and chili, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, curry powder, coriander, and cinnamon, and cook for 2 minutes, until spices are fragrant. Stir in water or stock, lentils, coconut milk (less 3 tablespoons for garnish if desired), tomatoes, tamari, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.
- Break up any large chunks of tomatoes with a spoon. Stir in kale and lime juice, and cook until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls or on top of a bed of rice, garnish with reserved coconut milk, mint or cilantro, and a squeeze of additional lime. Serve.