Chilled Coconut Curry with Black Bean Noodles and Air-Fried Cauliflower (healthy, vegan + gluten free)

Despite the fact that it’s scorching hot outside, we’re making curry. Not just any curry. This one includes noodles, air-fried cauliflower, and is not served hot! Plus, we’re not wasting any food because the entire cauliflower is used in this recipe!

What genuinely bothers me about the food industry is how much that is inputted for production ends up going to waste, completely unused and neglected. While there may be some times where it is necessary for safety risks, many cases can be solved or at least controlled for. Take cauliflower, for instance. We end up discarding the stalk and the leaves because they simply don’t taste good. Even though that’s subjective, I beg to differ. By chopping the stem and the leaves very finely and integrating them into this recipe, more volume (and nutrients!) was achieved and the trash cans in our apartment room thanked me. How you like that?

Normally, I would consider myself more of a rice person than a noodle person. Don’t get me wrong–I adore both, but I find that there are no rice varieties that I do not like, whereas with noodles, there are a few that I despise (eyeing you, vermicelli). Curry may traditionally be served with a side of rice, but soups and more expansive meals complement noodles even more! Since I always consume curry with rice, I figured, why not experiment with something new?

Additionally, I also started switching up not just what I eat, but how I eat. I’ve been obsessed with my small reusable wooden spoon and pry bar instead of my conventional metal spoons and chopsticks! Consuming your food with pry bars are incredibly interesting. At least they are WAY better than those dreaded sporks. Who on Earth uses sporks nowadays? But anyways, I recall being so rushed to a club meeting that I ate my first serving of this noodle soup with zero recollection of heating it up, most certainly because I never actually warmed it in the microwave. To my surprising, I loved how it tasted and continued to consume it chilled. Thus, chilled coconut soup!

I have to thank my friend Markus for initiating me to step out of my habitual routines. Last month, we both attended the Vegan Street Fair and traveled around Los Angeles for a few days. All while the spring break vacation, he kept encouraging me to try new restaurants and foods that I have never eaten before instead of sticking to old favorites. Ever since, I’ve been integrating this mantra into the rest of my life and have been benefitting so much from this!

On that last note, step out of your comfort zone when you can! For instance, eat the stem and leaves of a cauliflower, consume noodles that have a base that’s unique to your palette, add a bit more spice, and don’t bother heating up your leftovers!

RECIPE (serves 4)

  • 8 ounces of dry noodles of choice; I used black bean spaghetti, but feel free to use chickpea noodles, rice noodles, kelp noodles, shirataki noodles, or anything on hand!
  • Vegetables of choice: I used one cauliflower head and one pound of spinach
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 large onion, diced; you can also substitute for 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced; you can also substitute for 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP tamari
  • 2 TBSP vegan fish sauce
  • 2 cans of canned coconut milk; use full fat coconut milk for a creamier base
  • Juice of 1-2 limes or lemons
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE

  1. Cut the cauliflower in florets. DO NOT WASTE THE LEAVES AND THE STEM. Carefully dice the leaves and stalk in small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside for later.
  3. Heat a large pot on medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray or grease with a little bit of oil if necessary.
  4. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Skip this step if using onion and garlic powder.
  5. Lower the heat to medium or medium-low and stir in the pasta.
  6. Cook the spinach and cauliflower leftovers (chopped stem, leaves, etc.) until wilted.
  7. Evenly incorporate the spices, tamari, and vegan fish sauce.
  8. Pour the coconut milk. Stir the curry until the milk adopts the colors from the spices.
  9. Cover and bring the soup to a low simmer.
  10. Turn on and set the air-fryer to 360F.
  11. Fill the air-fryer tray with nine to twelve cauliflower florets. Close the tray and air-fry the cauliflower for at least fifteen minutes, or until the cauliflower is crispy to your preference. Repeat until all the cauliflower florets are all cooked.
  12. Remove the curry from heat. Season and mix in salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Let the cauliflower and curry chill in the fridge for at least six hours, ideally overnight.
  14. When ready, serve the curry with air-fried cauliflower on the side.

Do you try to step out of your comfort zone? Would you ever consume cold leftovers?


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