Last week on the HBC Magazine we interviewed Bettina Campolucci ahead of the release of her new book Happy Food: Fast, Fresh, Simple Vegan.

We’ve invited Bettina back to share some of her recipes from the book that are simple, nutritious and perfect for a weeknight dinner.  

Credits: Nassima Rothacker

Have you had a long day at work? Do you just want to chuck everything into a pot and let it cook itself? Then this is the dish for you. By the time you have put on your comfies and slippers this creamy, indulgent one-pot curry will be ready to be eaten.


Serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality yellow curry spice mix, plus more if required
  • 1 carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 aubergine (eggplant), chopped into small pieces
  • 1 potato, chopped into small pieces
  • 45 g (11/2 oz / 1/4 cup) dried red lentils
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz / 11/2 cups) coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • big handful of spinach
  • big bunch of basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To serve

  • pomegranate seeds
  • chopped peanuts
  • squeeze of lime
  • coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • edible flowers (optional)
  • Heat a frying pan (skillet) over medium heat. Add the oil and gently fry the shallot and garlic until transparent. Then add the curry spice mix, carrot, aubergine and potato and fry for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the lentils followed by the coconut milk and simmer over low heat, covered, for 25 minutes.

Remove the lid, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt or more spice mix, add a dollop of peanut butter and stir in a handful of spinach and basil. I also love to scatter over pomegranate seeds and peanuts for extra crunch and give it a final squeeze of lime to cut through the creaminess of the curry, then throw over a few coriander leaves and edible flowers, to add some colour.

Serve as it is or with some steamed rice, quinoa or buckwheat on the side.

Tip Curries are great when cooked in bigger batches – often they taste even better the next day because the flavours have had a chance to marry.

Credits: Nassima Rothacker

The sambal recipe in this dish was handed down to me when I was running a retreat in Bali. It is one of many Balinese versions but it is my favourite. It lasts forever and awakens any dull dish that needs some extra oomph!


Serves 2

  • 440 g (1 lb / 2 cups) brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, for frying
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced

For the sambal

  • (makes one 200 g / 7 oz jar)
  • 1 red Thai chilli
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 medjool date, stoned (pitted)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh root ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red (bell) pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz / 1/4 cup) olive oil

For the sides

  • handful of tenderstem broccoli (broccolini)
  • handful of kale
  • a couple of pak choi (bok choy)
  • 1 avocado, mashed until smooth

To serve

  • sesame seeds
  • peanuts
  • baby spinach
  • lime wedges

Cook the rice following the packet instructions. Drain.

Sambal Put all the sambal ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you get a sauce-like consistency. Pour into a jar or an airtight container that can easily be stored in the fridge. (This will keep for over a week in the fridge.)

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and blanch the broccoli stems, kale and pak choi for a few minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper (paper towel). Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil, garlic and shallots and fry until golden brown. Add the cooked rice and stir-fry until all the ingredients are well combined and rice is slightly golden.

Divide between 2 bowls and top with a handful of the broccoli and kale and a dollop of avocado. Serve with a good dollop of fresh and zingy sambal and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

I love my bowl with an extra helping of baby spinach for added greens and a lime wedge for zing.

Tip: Everything except for the mashed avocado can be frozen.

Extracted from Happy Food: Fast, Fresh, Simple Vegan by Bettina Campolucci Bordi (Hardie Grant, £20) photography © Nassima Rothacker