Golden Red Lentil Dal with Cilantro-Speckled Basmati

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Asking for help isn’t something that comes to me naturally as I’ve always been a fiercely independent worker. My previous supervisors always commented on this trait almost immediately whether it was in an academic or business setting, and I often took a lot of pride in the fact that I could do things on my own. I never considered that this trait could potentially hold me back from growth. I guess I feared that asking for help would be a sign that I was incompetent, so I avoided it as much as possible. And I often thought that if I could just figure out how to manage my time better, I could do it all on my own. Case in point: In the 7 years that I’ve grown this blog, I’ve yet to hire a team member to help my husband and me.

However, this past year has helped me realize otherwise, at least in some areas of my life (I still have a long way to go). Working with Ashley on the photography for the next book has allowed me to focus more on my biggest passions – the writing and recipe creation – not to mention finish on time! Our working relationship has really opened my eyes to what I could achieve if I just asked for a bit more help. It has been a total light bulb moment. You know what else I realized? Collaboration is so darn fun. So much more fun than trying to do it on my own!

 

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Golden Red Lentil Dal with Cilantro-Speckled Basmati

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

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This easy, flavourful curry is a great one to whip up during the workweek, and leftovers only get better the next day. Light coconut milk makes this curry so luxuriously rich and decadent tasting, while still feeling quite light and energizing. It definitely won’t weigh you down, but I can promise it’ll warm and comfort you on a chilly day. While it’s lovely all on its own (enjoyed like a rich, thick stew), I love it even more spooned over top my cilantro-speckled basmati rice with toasted pepita seeds, sliced green onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. The amount of broth called for yields a very thick consistency; if you’d like it thinner and more “soup-like” feel free to thin it out with a bit more broth (if so, you might need to also increase the spices and seasonings as the extra broth will dilute the flavours). This comforting curry recipe is adapted from Super Fresh: Super Natural, Super Vibrant Vegan Recipes by Jennifer Houston and Ruth Tal which is a cookbook featuring the recipes from Fresh, one of my favourite vegan restaurants here in Toronto.

Yield
Serves 4 (makes 5 1/2 cups)
Prep Time
Cook time

Ingredients:

For the curry:
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 3 large or 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and finely diced carrots (about 2-3 large)*
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste**
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 (14-ounce/398-millilitre) can light coconut milk
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if desired to thin the broth
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar (optional)
  • 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
For the rice:
  • 1 cup dry basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or vegan butter
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, or as needed
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, large stems removed and finely chopped***
  • Fine sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice, to taste
Suggested toppings:
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Toasted pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • Squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. For the curry: Add the oil in a large pot and increase heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Sautée over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  2. Stir in the ginger and carrots, and continue sautéing for another few minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add the curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. Stir well. Cook for a minute, until fragrant.
  4. Pick over and rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, and salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered with the lid ajar, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. Stir in a touch more broth if you'd like a slightly thinner consistency. After cooking, stir in all of the spinach until wilted. Stir in the black pepper, cayenne (if using), and sugar (if using). Taste and adjust salt, if desired.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Add the rice into a medium pot along with the oil and broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid, and cook for 12 to 16 minutes, until the rice is soft and tender. Fluff with a fork and stir in the cilantro. Season to taste with salt and lime juice. Keep the lid on until ready to serve.
  6. Add a generous scoop of rice on a plate or bowl and top with a couple ladlefuls of curry. Add your desired toppings and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 6 days. The curry can also be frozen for up to 4 weeks, possibly longer. For easy freezer storage, add the cooled curry into a freezer-safe bag, press out the air, and freeze on a flat surface. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or simply leave on the counter until mostly thawed.

Tips:

  • * The smaller you dice the carrots, the faster they cook! I opt for thinly sliced carrots here to hasten cook time.
  • ** Be sure to use a good-quality curry powder (one you enjoy the taste of) as a poor-tasting one can throw the flavours off. I am quite fond of Simply Organic curry powder.
  • *** Not a cilantro fan? Simply leave it out and prepare the rice without it. No biggie!

redlentildal

Photography credit: Ashley McLaughlin Photography

Last but not least, I want to wish all my fellow Canadians a very Happy Thanksgiving! We’ve been blessed with gorgeous, warm weather this weekend, and I hope you are too. Thank YOU for coming back to this blog time and time again, and for making this career so personally rewarding.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

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Briana June 2, 2017
Recipe Rating:

Wow this was SO delicious! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the effort you put into this recipe. I have been following a pretty loose vegan diet for the past few years, but I’ve been getting a little bored and discouraged lately. But this recipe really inspired me to get back on track! I seem to have forgotten how delicious and healthy a good vegan recipe can be. Thank you!!!

Reply

Angela Liddon June 6, 2017

Oh, I’m so happy to hear this recipe helped remind you! I’m glad you enjoyed it <3

Reply

Mia @ HoopsReport April 8, 2017
Recipe Rating:

This was SO good! Love the flavor! Easy, quick and filling meal!

Reply

Holly April 7, 2017
Recipe Rating:

I made this, and loved it! It freezes well, too. I left out the sugar, substituted kale for spinach, and cut down to 1/4 tsp salt. Thanks for a simple and delicious recipe!

Reply

Maaz Iqbal January 23, 2017
Recipe Rating:

I love to make different dishes. I always tried your dishes and love to make them.

Reply

Princess Nutella January 17, 2017
Recipe Rating:

I made this last night and LOVED it. Just have two questions, you may or may not be able to help me with: (1) I bought Trader Joe’s “split” red lentils. The recipe turned out just fine, but am I looking (ideally) for WHOLE red lentils? (2) My apartment smelled of onions/curry for a few days after cooking this. What are the remedies for this?

Thank you for such an amazing website!!

Reply

Mia January 3, 2017
Recipe Rating:

Hi Angela!
I made this the other night with a few small substitutions because of what I had on hand — olive oil and full fat coconut milk with some of the fat lef off. It was fantastic! So creamy and delicious! Next time I may leave out a bit of the curry powder so my 9 month old can eat it too. Absolutely delicious! Thank you!

Reply

Ezybeinggreen@Gmail.com December 26, 2016
Recipe Rating:

Just made this recipe for the first time. Added sweet potato and one red small potato. So so yummy!

Reply

Angela Liddon December 28, 2016

Hi there, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it!

Reply

vanessa saunders November 15, 2016

Hello Angela,

I am so in love with this recipe! You are heaven sent for this. This recipe was everything that I wanted it to be and more, flavorful, delightful and so comforting. I paired this with Trader Joe’s, Naan. Amazing!

xoxo, Vanessa

Reply

Angela Liddon November 15, 2016

Hi Vanessa, I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for the lovely comment. :)

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