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!
Golden Red Lentil Dal with Cilantro-Speckled Basmati
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.
For the curry:
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) 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 mL) can light coconut milk
- 2 cups (500 mL) 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 (15 mL) virgin coconut oil or vegan butter
- 1 3/4 cups (430 mL) 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
- Green onions, thinly sliced
- Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Toasted pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- Squeeze of lime juice (optional)
- 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.
- Stir in the ginger and carrots, and continue sautéing for another few minutes over medium heat.
- Add the curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. Stir well. Cook for a minute, until fragrant.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- * 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!
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
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.
I got your blog post this morning, quickly realized I had all the ingredients and made it tonight for dinner. It was awesome. Thank you for such fabulous, healthy recipes!
So glad to hear you enjoyed it!
Mmmmm, I love daal so much, what a lovely fresh looking recipe thanks! So glad things are going so well with your book, it’s so beautiful :)
I made this last night with brown lentils and it was fantastic! It made our house smell so good. My husband added smoked pork and a sunny-side up egg to his and loved it. Great to see you back!
So glad you loved it! I’m happy brown lentils worked too. :)
Just thought I’d let you know how great it is you’re posting again!! I’ve been checking the blog regularly hoping for some new content and was elated to see this curry post!! Also would like to say that Ashley’s photos are stunning.. I’m such a fan of clean, crisp, bright, white photos and hers are stunning!!! I love how she capture the details of each post so well.
Fall 2016 can’t come soon enough! I may have to take a week off just to make all of your new cookbook recipes when it comes out :P
Hi Angela, I’ll definitely add these lentils to my weekly dinner planner, it looks easy to make :) Right now I’m loving all things curried. Thanks for sharing, you’re an amazing recipe developer!
Delicious! As a plant based eater and lover of Indian food this recipe was right up my alley. Although I’ve never put canned coconut milk in my lentils. It gave the lentils a very silky and creamy flavor. I’m not sure I’ll ever make lentils without coconut milk ever again!
Also, I’ve been trying to get my boyfriend to eat healthier as well as adopt a healthier lifestyle, and he also loved this dish! For lunch the next day we used out leftovers to make lavash wraps and added fresh spinach and siracha! Thanks for the great recipe!
I’m so happy it was so enjoyed :) Thanks for trying it! I agree about the coconut milk…it’s such a great addition and adds just that pop of sweetness that’s needed to balance the spices.
Wonderful! As always, you swooped in with a perfect Plan B to save dinner when we realized several ingredients for Plan A were missing. This was quick, used stuff we had, and delicious! Thumbs up from the whole family, including toddler and baby.
That’s great! :)
First of all, I would like to commend you on all of the wonderful recipes that you have created for both your blog and your first book. I truly enjoy trying them and it has opened up a world of wonderful vegan meals that my meat-loving hubby is more than happy to eat :)
I recently invested in a slow cooker and would love to be able to adapt some of your soup and stew recipes for the slow cooker. Is there any way that you can suggest adaptations to recipes like this one? Or even perhaps a blog post highlighting some of your past recipes that would be perfect for slow cooking?
Any advice you can offer would be fantastic!
Thanks so much. I cannot wait for your second book!
Thank you Aleisha! I don’t use my slow cooker very often but I will keep it in mind for future recipes as I know how convenient they are!
Made this last night and it’s amazing! Thank you so much for all of your delicious recipes!
I just made this for dinner….. Holy!!!! It is delicious, as someone who eats ALOT of lentils this is definitely going to the top of my list for go to recipes. Big big thanks for this one
Aw thanks so much, I’m thrilled you love it as much as I do.
I made this tonight. Simple, fast and great. Thank you! I love the blog recipes that are great weeknight staples, and then for the weekends I happily spend hours with the your recipes that require a bit more time. And like everyone else – can’t wait for book #2.
Happy Thanksgiving from McMaster University! Just made a huge batch of this for an easy lunch to help get me through midterms. So happy you’re back to regular blogging, keep up the good work and am already so excited for book 2 :)
Thank you Amanda! I appreciate the kind words :)
So glad to see you back! I will be trying this recipe this weekend-I can’t wait. Your recipes have changed my life. I stumbled upon your beautiful cookbook in a authentic little gem of a bookstore in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and I have been making ALL your recipes ever since. I am a 2 year breast cancer survivor and took the leap to veganism after I bought your cookbook. I feel like I am doing something every day to keep myself well. Thank you- you truly are inspiring!
Hi Allison, This warms my heart to hear. Thank you so much! And I wish you all the best with your lifestyle changes! Sounds like you’ve made some amazing additions to your diet. :) I wish you continued health and recovery. All my best,
Made this last night… so incredibly delicious and flavourful! I swapped the basmati for brown rice since it was all I had on hand.. it was so yummy! My husband adores curry and said it was one of the best curry dishes he’s ever had. Thanks for the recipe that will now be a weeknight staple
All I can say is WOW! Made this tonight and I had all I could do to not have a second bowl, and my first bowl was huge! The flavors are amazing and adding the pepitas, green onions, cilantro made a party in my mouth! Thank you so much for this delicious and healthy recipe. :)
This was delicious! Absolutely perfect for a blustery fall day. The lime really kicks the flavour up a notch.
This recipe is totally delicious! We made it last night, and it is very hearty and warming. One note is that the portions seem off: there was more than enough curry for about 5 people, but only enough rice for 2 (maybe stretched to 3). I’ll definitely make this again, but next time increase the rice portion :)
Wow! That Lentil Dal looks absolutely delicious :D thanks for the recipe, pinned!
I usually don’t add carrot or cilantro to dhal. Am used to curry leaves in dhal. But definitely gonna try with cilantro and carrot.
Made this for lunch today and my husband (meat lover) asked me to make this every week. Success!!! I always love your photography and thought you do a wonderful job. However, I can also appreciate making the most of your time and sharing the spotlight with other talented women. So good job listening to what works for you! Really looking forward to reading about your baby’s first birthday party :-) and can’t wait for oh she glows cookbook number two!
YUM!!! Just made this with butternut squash in place of the carrots and the flavors are just incredible! So hearty, warming and delicious…a perfect fall dish! Can’t wait for leftovers throughout the week! This will definitely be my go-to curry recipe! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! My boyfriend, a self-confessed carnivore, made it for me after a long day at school and it was the second time he’s ever cooked something vegan. Not only was it delicious but the instructions were so easy to follow for someone new to this way of cooking. A lovely, warming meal to come home to!
Made this tonight and it was a hit! So yummy! Even my grandma, hater of all exotic foods, enjoyed it! So excited that I have leftovers to look forward to to brighten up my Monday :)
Wow, I made this for my husband and I tonight and we absolutely loved it!! I used green lentils as I didn’t have any red lentils. Flavour powerhouse =) Will definitely be making this again.
YUM! I always love your recipes, and this one looks like another winner… Just wondering, as I have a son just a couple months younger than Adriana: every can of coconut milk I’ve found has guar gum in it… Even the organic ones from Whole Foods :( Is this true for the coconut milk in Canada, too? Did you use it for recipes for baby when she was less than a year? I’m sure it won’t actually hurt him… I’ve just been trying to avoid those types of stabilizers and additives but it seems impossible in this case (of course, except for making my own coconut milk…)
p.s. I have my fingers crossed you will be sharing her one-year birthday cake recipe, if you chose to celebrate that way…
I made this the other night and it’s the first curry I’ve made that has restaurant-quality consistency. Really good. I threw some peas in as well. I’ll definitely be making this again!
I made this on Saturday. It was perfect! I will definitely add this to my rotation. :)
I just made this for lunch: it was easy, hearty and comforting: just what I needed!
Hey, I tried this recipe last night. At first I was a bit disappointed– I found the flavour a bit flat and the light coconut milk too rich– so I added half a squeezed lemon and bang! It was a 5/5. I gave it 4 starts because the recipe just notes lime as an optional garnish but I found it critical to stir in the acid at the end to satisfy my tastes. Thanks for yet another delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan recipe :)
Thanks for the great recipe. I always enjoy a good curry and this one was so simple to make after work:)
You have outdone yourself with this recipe! Oh my goodness I have been on the road for a couple of weeks for work and haven’t been able to cook for myself. This was the first thing I made in my own kitchen after returning home and all I can say is WOW! It is so yummy and perfect for the fall. Your blog seriously makes my day and I am counting down until your 2nd cookbook comes out.
You are my idol!
What makes this recipe is the carrots and flavoured rice. I’ve made a similar recipe in the past and the carrot in there gives a pleasing sweetness. The rice I could just eat on its own; even my husband loved the rice and wanted to know what I put in there.
Wow this looks so good. I just moved into a new house with a great kitchen and I’m excited to get cooking! Having a space you like to cook in makes such a difference!
Asking for help is hard! I always feel like I don’t want to inconvenience anybody! I always try to remember that I LOVE LOVE LOVE to help people. It is one of my favorite things. I’m trying really hard to take people up on their offers to help. Most recently my friend offered to help clean our old apartment and I’m so incredibly grateful for the help!
I made this just this past weekend. It made enough for two large servings and I had enough leftover for my work lunches for three days this week. It was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe to the letter and it tasted more delicious the longer it stayed in the fridge. I will definitely be making this again :) Thanks Angela!
It looks awesome, I can not wait to do your recipe :) Thank you
I am so glad you are back!!! I tried this recipe tonight and it was incredible. I will definitely make this throughout the fall and winter because it was incredibly easy and also fantastic. I used a red onion and some kind of hot curry powder from the Indian grocery store. Thanks for sharing!!
We made this the other night and it was so, so good! And it made enough leftovers for a few extra meals! Thanks!
This looks delicious! I’m allergic to coconut – would you recommend that I substitute something else for the coconut milk, or just leave it out?
Should have added: I’m also allergic to tree nuts and peanuts, so those aren’t viable for me.
One can never have too many lentil curries.
Hi Angela, Iooking forward to more of your posts! I completely relate with the enormous effort food photography requires. I too have a backlog of recipes to share that are languishing in my files because I haven’t photographed them yet. In fact, I recently recruited my husband to help. He’s learning the food photography ropes quickly; I think his skills will surpass mine soon! Anyhow, I look forward to your future posts, along with Ashley’s photos. :-)
I say BRAVO! for realizing the need and bringing a competent photographer (aka. Ashley!) on board! I bet you feel the flood of creative juices flowing already!
I LOVE curry and I’m always looking for a new way to use lentils thank you once again. My husband will be thrilled because he loves basmati rice (especially the white version – I mostly use brown) and I can almost see the smile on his face when I serve it!
I’m going to leave you with a quote from an incredible woman: Debra J. Crumpton. She is a magnificent speaker, teacher, lecturer and, and, and. She spoke at a meeting I attended many years ago and when I heard it (the quote), it almost knocked me out of my chair! Here goes:
“Are you willing to give up who you are
to become who you can be?”
Anyone can apply that to just about any problem they are having. What is often the biggest obstacle when things aren’t going as we like? Ourselves! Changing can be scary, the old way is comfortable, new can be harder, but if you make an effort to give up whatever is holding you back, you will find that you will soar!
I applaud you for taking that first step!
PS. My favorite curry powder is Muchi Curry seasoning by Whole Foods Market. Thank you again, for another yummy recipe!
I just have to say Thank you! I have recently changed my diet to eating whole, clean foods related to digestive issues. Your recipes have been a God-send. It isn’t always easy to find great recipes with this diet/lifestyle and you make food fun! I feel so much better when I eat this way. I just made this recipe and it is SO good! I couldn’t stop saying, “mmm” the whole time I was eating it! I followed the recipe to a “T”, minus substituting green lentils for red as those were I all I had on hand. Excellent! And the toppings made this dish!
Thank you again and thank you Jesus for your inspiring recipes! Blessings!
Hi Alicia, Thank you so much for the kind words! I truly appreciate it. So happy you enjoyed this Dal.
Am Indian and have grown up eating dahl. Made this today and I have to say, it was pretty good! Doubled up each spice and added a generous pinch of garam masala and Chilli flakes, as well as Thai birds eye chilli. I was slightly sceptical of this recipe but I’m defo going to be making this again!
I’m so glad it passed your test! Thanks for weighing in. :)
Oh man, I have been repeating recipes from your cookbook and was aching for more recipes from you as no other recipes compare! This blog discovery was the best thing next to sliced bread and is still oh so flavourful! Can’t wait for your second cookbook to come out. This Dal? oh m goodness thank you to the looord you exist! You make veganism a heck of a lot easier.
Thanks so much Amanda!
I’m currently trying to become vegetarian and made this recipe for my first vegetarian meal. I was not disappointed at all! This recipe is full of flavor and easy to make. I will definitely be making this dish again soon! :)
I made this today subbing finely chopped sweet potatoes for carrots because it was all I had. It was fantastic and came together very quickly. Way better than the dal you would get at a restaurant!
Count our family amongst your fans :) Been working with your recipes for a couple of years and I have yet to try one that wasn’t awesome!
Question about this one… we prefer to use the flat green lentils instead of red… I know they take longer to cook so how would you suggest I word with them? Should I partially cook the green lentils for 15 minutes or so and then add it in with the rest? Any other suggestions?
BTW, one tip I would share with people planning on having leftovers is to add spinach into individual bowls and stir it in while hot to help wilt it… much better than reheating spinach and have it lose its vibrancy…
Thanks for your kind words! I haven’t tried this with green lentils yet so I’m not sure about the cooking time. I think your idea about pre-cooking them a bit sounds like a great plan. Hope it works out for you! I know other readers have mentioned they used green lentils with success in this recipe.
Great to hear back from you. I did indeed make it with the green lentils and I precooked 1.5 cups of them with 2 cups of water for about 15 minutes. It was perfect in that the water absorbed in that time so I didn’t have to drain it…
I then continued with the rest of the recipe, cooking it for another 15-20 minutes with stock and man o man it is delicious… My 3 year old loves it too! We’ve enjoyed it two night in a row…
Other adaptations I made is I used quinoa instead of rice (2-1 with the stock) and it cooked in 20 minutes. And as I mentioned previous I put it all on a bed of spinach so that it would wilt but then we’d be able to add fresh spinach when eating leftovers (it gave a lot of leftovers for our family of 3)..
I skipped on the cilantro because I didn’t think my daughter would like that, but I would do the same thing and add it fresh to individual portions rather than add it to everything…
This is a PERFECT recipe!!!!!!! Easy and quick to make, all of my family LOVE this delicious and wonderful curry! :)
Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe! :)
I love this recipe. I have made it twice (in less than two weeks). Second time, I added some diced red potatoes (and skipped the rice). DELICIOUS!!! Thank you so much.
Oh… I meant to comment, I used a mixture of lentils (red, black, and green) because it’s what I had in the pantry. I also soaked them overnight before cooking so it cuts down on cooking time.
Delicious! For the carnivorous members of my family, I used some chicken. The curry is quite tasty, perfect for a fall day. The fresh ginger, cilantro, garlic and green onion make it special