Spicy peanut + coconut curry bowls

Spicy peanut + coconut curry bowls

This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.

I think I’ve told you guys precisely 1,319 times that I am not a good cook. I repeat: I AM NOT A GOOD COOK. I can bake a mean brownie and develop a cookie recipe that’s worth writing home about but when it comes to cooking there’s no denying one thing: I can be lazy AF. However – since we started meal planning earlier this year – I’ve been forced to not be lazy AF and make actual meals instead of throwing together some rice and bland vegetables and calling it dinner (I think we all can agree that the aforementioned “meal” is a pretty lousy thing to eat most nights of the week). Even worse? That approach to dinner almost always resulted in a lot of unnecessary snacking. And when I say a lot of unnecessary snacking I mean Thom would house three or four servings of peanut butter pretzels and I’d down more nut butter in one sitting than most people consume in a week.

(No, I am not exaggerating. I used to devour a revolting amount of nut butter.)

This new approach to our meals has been kinda/sorta life-changing. Meal planning has turned me into this monster who preps food at the end of each week (so that we’re good to go for the beginning of the next); one who can finally walk into a grocery store and only buy things that are on the list. But the best part? Meal planning cut our monthly grocery expenditure by a third. A THIRD! I’m not going to tell you how much we used to spend on groceries because it was a truly embarrassing number and I’m ashamed that my lack of willpower resulted in a cringeworthy amount overspending (not to mention a considerable amount of food waste). But the good news is that we’ve made it to the other side. And guess what, guys? The grass really is greener over here. The food is better, too.

Also, totally unrelated but worthy of being noted here: we’re a few hours away from handing over the keys to our condo. We had every intention of buying a house in the city but then one day I had the bright idea to downsize and use a chunk of the equity to pay off debt so that we can launch that new business venture of ours with a clean financial slate and have a nice little cushion in the event shit hits the fan. Thankfully, Thom – who has mastered the art of using excel spreadsheets to manage every aspect of our finances – was more than on board with the idea because he hates debt more than he hates coffee and gravy and ranch dressing, combined. Although I was really looking forward to a garden and a front porch, we’re on track to close on a loft in Denver’s River North neighborhood in the not too distant future. It has a balcony and gorgeous concrete flooring and a washer/dryer IN THE UNIT. And even though the place is considerably smaller (300 square feet, one bedroom, three closets, one storage unit, and one garage-smaller, to be exact), we both feel really good about the decision to sell our condo.

But damn if I’m not going to miss that new kitchen of ours.

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Notes: If you’ve ever eaten at Native Foods, this is a copycat version of their Bangkok curry bowl. I’ve made these bowls with both brown rice and brown rice noodles and prefer the former, almost always. I prefer to add 3 tablespoons of the fermented chile paste but go for 1 if you want something on the mild side. If you don’t want to make the homemade smooth + creamy peanut butter, make sure you go with a variety that is truly smooth otherwise the sauce will be gritty. I recently discovered that the 365 Everyday organic creamy peanut butter spread (unsweetened) is a great substitute. For steamed vegetables, I’m a big fan of broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms (even though I hate mushrooms), and kale – but use whatever you’ve got on hand.

More savory goodness: spicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeas, baked falafel bowlsbrown rice penne with creamy hemp seed-avocado sauce, and deconstructed spring roll bowls.

This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO + carrageenan-free almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own and I think Califia rules. 


Peanut + coconut curry sauce
1 (14 oz) can full fat coconut milk
2 cups (410g) Califia Farms toasted coconut almondmilk
1/4 cup (60g) tamari (or soy sauce)
1-3 (18-54g) tablespoons fermented chile paste (see notes above)
1/4 cup (65g) homemade smooth + creamy peanut butter (see notes above)
Juice and zest of one lime, optional
1 teaspoon dried turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

To make the curry bowls
Cooked brown rice (or brown rice noodles)
Assortment of steamed vegetables (see notes above)
Peanut + coconut curry sauce, from above
Pan-fried tofu (sprinkled with nanami togarashi after frying)
Dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Fresh cilantro
Chile flakes

Sea salt flakes
Lime wedges

Add the coconut milk, almondmilk, tamari, chile paste, peanut butter, lime juice/zest (if using), turmeric, and garlic powder (ahem, ALL the sauce ingredients) to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 20-30 minutes (depending on how thick you’d like your sauce). Once the sauce has thickened, let it cool then transfer it to an airtight container for keeps. It’ll last for up to five days in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen then thawed 24 hours before you plan on using it.

To assemble the bowls, top a few scoops of rice with steamed vegetables then cover in curry sauce (enough so that there’s a shallow puddle at the bottom of the bowl). Add the tofu and any additional toppings. I prefer to finish mine with dry roasted peanuts, fresh cilantro, chile flakes, sea salt flakes, and a wedge of lime. If you’ve got a sriracha fanatic in the house, you should probably have a bottle of the stuff nearby.

Yield: Enough sauce for 4-6 bowls


Spicy peanut + coconut curry bowls


  • Reply Tori//Gringalicious.com 30 March 2017 at 8:51 AM

    Okay, wow these bowls have seriously got me hungry and everything you said about meal prepping has me considering it more than ever.

  • Reply Rachel 30 March 2017 at 9:38 AM

    Yum! My partner and I are big fans of the rice bowl dinner, and I love finding ways to make them new and exciting. As much as I love peanut sauce, it almost never appears on rice bowl nights. Thanks for the nudge!

    Yay for taking care of your financial self! It’s so important to our overall well being. I hope you love the new place!

  • Reply Aimee 30 March 2017 at 9:40 AM

    Congrats on the new home sweet home – RiNo is definitely up and coming. Downsizing can be great, it gives you an excuse to axe that lamp your great aunt gave you that, well, you’ve just never acquired a taste for.

  • Reply Sarah | Well and Full 30 March 2017 at 10:05 AM

    Ughh I need to be better about meal prep… I never have a specific grocery list and end up impulse buying a ton of snacks. I’m a snack monster, if you haven’t heard. But I’d love to hear the type of foods you meal prep… like greens, roasted veggies? It would be awesome to see an OLC guide to meal prep!! ;)

    • Reply Abby 30 March 2017 at 1:48 PM

      I second that! OLC meal prep post, please! :) great idea!

    • Reply Carrie 30 March 2017 at 2:42 PM

      Third it! I’d love to see a sample of meal plans, too. :) Wishing you both the best of luck with your move. I can’t wait to see your new place!

    • Reply Ashlae 2 April 2017 at 1:43 PM

      OK FINE. ;)

  • Reply Valentina | The Blue Bride 30 March 2017 at 12:10 PM

    I started meal planning too when we moved in together – after I finished my book honestly, those first months were rough – but I gave up when I realized that he eats NOTHING I like. But I think this bowl could be a great dinner for both of us! And when I saw the coconut califia milk in your shot I was like “F*****************K” – loud, really loud – becuase I totally forgot about it and I’ve been buying only the unsweetened vanilla for months now. What a shame – and what an idiot.

  • Reply Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen 30 March 2017 at 1:11 PM

    What an exciting change happening for your family! Excited to follow along (with a bowl of this in hand)!

  • Reply Connie 30 March 2017 at 1:59 PM

    I completely identify with the meal planning; I’ve been on top of it the last month or so, and am amazed at how much less I’m spending AND how much less frenetic my late afternoons/evenings are – oh, and how much better I’m eating (-: Best of luck with the move!

  • Reply Holly 30 March 2017 at 3:12 PM

    You described me to a T! I’ve been in such a lazy mood and spending a dumb amount on food and like you said, wasting it as well. Like the others said above, love to see your meal planning and what keeps you continuing your prep!

  • Reply Edie 30 March 2017 at 8:28 PM

    SO exciting. Welcome to the neighborhood! :)

  • Reply Meg 31 March 2017 at 6:28 AM

    Ugh, same — on the whole ridiculous amount spent on random food that spoils and the nut butter thing. Lol. Almond butter has been my crutch. I need to get my shit together!! Thx for the inspo!! I love a rice bowl for dinner — so healthy and filling.

  • Reply Dana Z 31 March 2017 at 7:46 AM

    YES. I’m definitely adding this to my meal planning for the week and I totally feel ya on the meal planning thing. I feel so much better when we eat a real meal but sometimes the thought of dishes makes me wanna vom. The ease of this recipe reminds me of the red curry bowls from OPP that are also super good if you haven’t had them yet!

    Can’t wait to see how the new place turns out once you guys get all settled in. I have serious envy over your bar cart and that west elm chair but I just can’t pull the trigger on it. GAH.

    • Reply Ashlae 2 April 2017 at 1:45 PM

      Hi Dana –

      I haven’t made Jess’ red curry yet but I just put it on my list! That bar cart already has a spot at our new place. :) Sadly, the West Elm chair had to go. But only because it was between that or the mid century teak lounge.. and the mid century teak lounge will always win.

      • Reply Dana Z 2 April 2017 at 3:12 PM

        Um, YES I would say the mid century teak lounge wins.

  • Reply lynn 31 March 2017 at 9:12 AM

    We had a Native Foods near us but it went away; I miss it! I think imma have to start meal planning…

  • Reply Sam 1 April 2017 at 11:15 AM

    For someone who’s ‘not a good cook’ you somehow manage to come up with some of the most delicious savory recipes I’ve ever eaten (your spicy peanut stew omg). My boyfriend and I made this for dinner last night and he made a comment about wanting to chug the sauce. 😄 I would love to see more savory recipes on OLC!

  • Reply Leo Sigh 5 April 2017 at 2:01 AM

    This looks amazing.

    And I’m a big fan of anything that tastes even remotely Thai, as I lived in Bangkok for 14 years and miss Thai food so much. Will definitely be giving this a go :) Lovely photos too.

    Now off to check out your spicy peanut stew as mentioned in the comment above this :)

  • Reply Heather@WillSingForDessert 5 April 2017 at 2:46 PM

    This looks absolutely incredible. I would have to say you are indeed a good cook.

  • Reply tanveer 6 April 2017 at 11:09 PM

    The minute I saw the bowl, I just couldnt wait to cook this thing. And it turns out that I have cooked one of the best meals of my life. It is so healthy and scrumptious. Much thanks for sharing this recipe

  • Reply Sara Forte 11 April 2017 at 8:47 PM

    yum! this looks amazing. I love the idea of thinning the broth with almond milk. I always keep pouring in more coconut milk to thin it or tone down the spice and then it’s so rich it’s like a currybuttermilkshake. Looks like easy weeknight perfectness.

  • Reply Audrey 15 April 2017 at 10:04 AM

    Totally gonna cook this next week!
    And i have to make my own PB. Everytime I look to this blog, i remember “BUY THESE FUCK¨¨¨PEANUTS!” (How can i forget that?!)

  • Reply Vanessa Davis 18 April 2017 at 4:37 PM

    OMG. I’ve got make this recipe, but will have to raise the servings to six for left overs. :-)

  • Reply Rachel 31 May 2017 at 6:00 PM

    I love peanut sauces and I’ve never made a cooked version. I made this tonight with two tiny modifications – yellow curry paste instead of turmeric because I need to use it up and I skipped the Califia because I needed it to cook down faster for the sake of my hungry belly. I also used tempeh instead of tofu because that’s what i had! Anyway, I ate my spicy peanut curry bowl on the balcony with a glass of rose and it was delicious. I’m a cooked sauce convert!! Thanks for the recipe =)

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