I don’t know what it is about dhal, but to me, it’s always been like a great big healthy hug in a bowl that brings warmth to the colder nights. That’s not to say that this dhal recipe is limited to colder climes, I did, after all, become addicted to this nourishing Indian dish on my first exploration of Mother India some 20 odd years ago! Loved by the locals all over India due to it being both super cheap and nourishing, this humble vegan dish has since become a staple in my cooking repertoire.
My much-loved dhal recipe packs out this one-pot meal with extra nutrients with the inclusion of spinach, kale and sweet potato. And has coconut oil over ghee to up both the good-fat content and flavour. This dhal recipe serves four, but it freezes up great as a midweek dinner go-to, so you might want to double up the quantities for some easy batch cooking.
Dhal recipe nutritional benefits
Lentils are great for those on a plant-based diet as they contain around 25% protein. They are also high in iron, which is another nutrient that can sometimes be lacking in a plant-based diet. Lentils belong to the legume family, which are one of the best sources of gut-healthy fermentable fibre there is.
The iron content of this dhal recipe is also upped by adding spinach. Spinach is also a great provider of insoluble fibre and vitamins A, C and K1. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and sky-rockets the nutritional value of this meal through the roof with its antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins and minerals, including the antioxidant beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once consumed. And unlike less fibre-rich white potatoes, sweet potatoes count towards one of your five a day.
Check out: Chinese style crispy vegan wraps
- 250 gr dried red lentils
- 1 x sweet potato
- 8 x cubes frozen spinach
- 80 gr kale
- 1 x red onion
- 1 x red chilli
- 2 x garlic gloves
- A thumb of ginger peeled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 800 ml Vegetable stock
- Coconut oil
- Fresh coriander
- Fresh lemon or lime
- Salt and pepper
Finely dice the onion and gently cook for 10 minutes in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Meanwhile finely chop the chilli, garlic and ginger. Chop the sweet potato and rinse the lentils under running water until the water runs clear.
Once you’ve sweated the onions off, add the garlic mixture for a minute. Then add the dried spices for a further minute to release their flavours. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and coat in the spices for a minute or two, seasoning with salt and pepper. Then add the lentils, stock and spinach cubes.
Cover the mixture and gently simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes. Stir through the kale for the last couple of minutes of cooking. For extra richness, add an extra teaspoon of coconut oil to the dhal recipe at the end and season to taste.
Serve the dhal mixture in a bowl and garnish with freshly chopped coriander and a slice of fresh lime. Mop it up with your favourite Indian bread of choice.
For another delicious supper see: Cheesy Smoked Haddock & Garlicky Greens Recipe