Dal is one of my favorite one-pot meals.
It also happens to be a powerhouse of nutritional goodness, thanks to the wonderful little lentil that’s at the heart of every dal recipe.
With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Lentils also have tons of fiber, folate, and minerals. When mixed with grains (such as rice), lentils become a complete protein dish, which means that the dish has all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for your dietary needs.
And as an added benefit, all that protein and fiber has super satiating properties that help you stay fuller longer!
They also taste great and have a wonderful texture 🙂
This particular recipe is made with red lentils, which have a sweet and nutty flavor and cook pretty quickly: in about 30 minutes. I got the recipe from my friend who’s a chef at one of my favorite cafes, and I modified the spices and proportions to suit mine (and the husband’s) tastes.
It’s a warm and comforting dish full of those delicious aromas you’d find at your favorite Indian restaurant, minus all of the oil, fat and added unhealthiness that comes along with restaurant food.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup dry red lentils
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1.25 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup vegetable stock (or water)
- One 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Step 1: Mix the ginger garlic, curry powder, coriander, garam masala and crushed red pepper in small bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add your oil, onions and celery and cook on medium high heat for about 2 minutes until vegetables are fragrant and translucent. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Step 3: Turn down heat and add the ginger, garlic and spice mix and cook on low heat for about 1 minute, allowing the spices to “bloom” until they become fragrant. Add the lentils, vegetable stock, diced tomatoes and coconut milk.
Step 4: Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook with a lid on for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until lentils are soft. If your heat is up too high, the liquid will evaporate before the lentils are done cooking. If that happens, just add a little bit more stock (or water, if you are using that) and continue to cook. When lentil are soft, turn off your heat and add in your chopped cilantro. Adding cilantro at the end will keep the flavor lively and fresh.
Step 5: Serve as a soup, or over brown rice with some steamed veggies, or with naan or roti! I chose to have ours as a “stew” over brown rice.
It was so filling and tasty! I promise this dal is a crowd pleaser, and it also happens to be vegan and gluten free – so it really works for anyone.
This recipe makes about 8 HUGE servings, so if you end up with tons of leftovers, just know that the dal freezes really well – so you can always freeze it and save it for another night.
I highly recommend going back for seconds!