This red lentil dal is quick and simple to make at home. It’s a comforting, flavorful weeknight meal that can be altered to your preferences or what is on hand in your kitchen.
If you haven’t tried making dal, or if you have recently decided to include more plant-based meals in your diet, dal is going to be your friend for life. It is a high protein, high fiber meal and is very low in fat.
This recipe is super forgiving. If you are new to cooking or unfamiliar with Indian spices, this is a good recipe to test out simple techniques.
This literally takes less than an hour to make, and easily doubles or more to stash in the freezer for a busy night.
My family likes to eat it with their hands using EHSTO naan like a scoop ☺, but it’s equally good served over your favorite grain, steamed potatoes, or just slurped from a spoon.
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained (yellow split peas work too!)
- 1 tablespoon ghee/butter/oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup tomato, chopped (canned is fine or 2T tomato paste works)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or your favorite way to add heat (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (½ t ground)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (½ t ground)
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (½ t ground)
- 3 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 cups chopped greens (kale, chard, turnip, collards, radish or spinach all are good!!!)
- 1 teaspoon salt
Rinse and drain lentils.
Chop the onion and tomato. Finely chop ginger, garlic. Measure out the spices.
Heat the oil, ghee or butter in a pot over med-high heat. When the oil heats up, add the spices (but not the salt!). Saute for 30 seconds they should be quite fragrant at this point.
Add the chopped garlic and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds.
Add the chopped onions and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes or paste. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
Add the lentils and the stock or water.
Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to keep it simmering.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
Add the salt, give it a good stir and taste. Adjust seasoning and consistency. Want more flavor? Add more of the spices (or try garam masala if you have it, or a sprinkle of cardamom) and salt or pepper. Too spicy? Add a some more tomato/water or even a splash of maple syrup! Too thick? Add more stock or water. Too thin? Leave lid off and boil until it is the desired thickness.
Finally add the greens. Radish greens, and spinach will be done almost instantly. Turnip greens and chard take a few minutes to soften, kale and collards take a little longer. Cook them to the consistency you like!
This soup/stew is even better the next day, so make double and you can serve it again drizzled over a baked sweet potato or a bowl of steamed broccoli or use it as the sauce for an Indian twist on Pizza! Finally, it freezes beautifully too, so stash some for a rainy day!