Who says you can’t have milk as a vegan? Sure, it can’t come from a cow, but it can come from a coconut! When I was reorganizing my cabinets, I found a can of coconut milk to put to use. Coconut milk, while it does have some saturated fat, is a good way to add creaminess and natural sweetness to vegan dishes. (You can always use skimmed coconut milk if you are concerned about the fat, but this takes away some of its great flavor!) The only problem I have with opening a can of coconut milk is what to do with the rest of the can after I have used what I need for my meal. Well, this dinner trio solved all of my problems, since I put the whole can to good use! Eggplant tikka masala with coconut brown rice and coconut lime Brussels sprouts – makes being a vegan
look taste easy!
The eggplant tikka masala was a solution my mom and I came up with at home. The original recipe is from her Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and calls for shrimp. She wanted to make it for the family with chicken before Christmas, and I requested that a small amount of sauce be left separate for me to cook with some eggplant. The eggplant was soft and soaked up the flavors of the sauce so nicely, so I knew I had to make it again! The original recipe also called for yogurt, so to “veganize” it, I just added some coconut milk instead! I used some coconut milk to cook the rice as well, substituting about 1/3 of the cooking liquid with coconut milk.
The part of the meal that really stole the show were the Brussels sprouts – a real surprise! I am not going to lie, I literally was craving Brussels sprouts. So much so that I texted my roommate and asked her to grab me some on her grocery run, despite my full veggie drawer. I was going to roast them as usual, but I remembered a recipe for Coconut Lime Brussels Sprouts that I got in a flyer at the Boston Vegetarian Festival in October. What better way to stretch the last of my can of coconut milk than to try a new recipe? Ah. Maze. Ing. I literally had to put the leftovers in a Tupperware and hide them in the back of my fridge as soon as I finished my dinner so that I wouldn’t stand there and finish off the rest of the pan like candy. A whole pound of Brussels sprouts would lead to momentary happiness, but later intestinal discomfort, if ya catch my drift. The coconut milk adds sweetness, and the lime juice and soy sauce add a hint of saltiness, leading to so much great flavor in every bite.
Vegan or not, this meal is crave-worthy. Try the Brussels sprouts – if you aren’t a fan yet, these might make you a convert. As for the tikka masala, you could go for the standard and sub back in the chicken, but why not go veggie crazy! Try the eggplant – it really is a nice surprise. You could even add some chickpeas to the mix for some wild living. Get coco-nutty ;)
Question: Have you ever had a weird food craving?
Eggplant Tikka Masala
adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6-inch piece ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 cup water
1 large eggplant, cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
Cook onion slices in the oil until golden brown – about 20 minutes. Add all spices and tomato paste; stir and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Add water and eggplant and cook until the eggplant is tender. Stir in coconut milk at the end. Serve over brown rice.
Pan-Roasted Coconut Lime Brussels Sprouts
recipe from a Whole Foods flyer, serves 4
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 scallion, chopped
juice of half lime
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
Toast coconut in a large skillet until golden, 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add Brussels sprouts and 1/2 cup coconut milk to the pan. Shake to coat, then turn all sprouts cut side down. Cook 5-6 minutes, until they begin to brown. (Add a bit of water if the pan gets dry). Add garlic, scallion, and lime juice. Toss to coat, then turn all the sprouts cut side down again. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Stir in remaining coconut milk and soy sauce. Toss with toasted coconut and serve.