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.
All my family loved this meal. Such a great combination of flavor. And OMG never thought of making cilantro rice, it became MY FAV OF ALL!!!!
This recipe is a total winner, Angela. My husband made it for dinner last night, and it was perfect, as written (as usual!). The rice is particularly good–my 4 yo son gobbled it up. We’ll be making this one again for sure. Thank you for all your careful work and testing. It sure comes through in the recipes. We’ve never had a fail. This one is no exception. Delicious! I’m savoring the lunch leftovers as we speak. :)
I’ve made this twice now and it’s super delicious! I’ve recently had to go dairy free and it’s been hard figuring out what to eat.
I made this recipe last night for the first time. It was amazing! Very simple ingredients and very wholesome and nourishing meal. When I was at the market, they had two types of curry powder: one was regular curry powder and the other was the extra spicy powder. I played it safe and went with the regular curry powder, but I think next time I’ll try the extra spicy curry powder for a little added kick. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Wow! I am not a big fan of lentils. I now realize that I just wasn’t a fan of how they are prepared.
This recipe was quick and totally delicious! I can’t say enough great things about it. Thank you for all of your hard work, it is really delicious!
Wow, this was SO DELICIOUS!! And really, pretty quick to put together! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!
I made this a few weeks back and it was a huge success at home! I made it again for a pot luck at work (As it’s basically allergy free hehe) with some naan bread to “spoon” it. It was again a massive success all around and everyone loved it. Thanks for the great recipe!!
Just wanted to check with you. My daughter is allergic to peanuts and I have heard cumin can cause a problem for those with peanut allergies. I know I would just leave that out but wondered if others had the same information.
This was WAY out of my wheelhouse but, I did it! I made it. And we liked it. I have made a second time. I loved the smells while it is all cooking. I absolutely lose my mind when the “healthy” recipes taste like you are eating cardboard or camel dung (never really tasted camel dung, but you get the idea) but, your recipes are actually easy to make and taste really, really good. I am not vegan, or vegetarian, I just would like to eat healthier. And try some new things. Thank you for a marvelous website to explore! I just discovered the Almond Milk recipe – I have been buying it for years at the store but, will now make my own. take good care
This straightforward recipe produces a large quantity of balanced flavorful dal. The light coconut milk was a great addition. This recipe is better than many vegetarian dals that are either bland or overly spiced. I imagine it will be even better with a fresher curry powder. I will make this again!
I reduced the ginger to 1 tablespoon, used black beluga lentils and added sliced red bell pepper at the end. The black beluga lentils took longer to cook than red lentils.
I made this dish last night instead of a traditional New Year’s meal of black eyed peas and collard greens. I am so glad I did. It turned out wonderful! I froze the leftovers for a weekday lunch. Next time, I will double the recipe for an easy weeknight meal
So yummy and healthy! I added cauliflower and it made so much tasty curry! Thanks for the simple and scrumptious recipe :)
oh wow, this was AMAZING! even better the next day for lunch! and the day after that for dinner!!!
I’m strongly considering going vegan after years of being vegetarian. I’ve been trying a lot of vegan recipes out on my omnivorous family, and this is by far everyone’s favorite recipe that I have made thus far. It is really flavorful and fragrant. I used a good amount more of both cumin and curry powder, just to add a bit more flavor. It was delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe!
The recipes you put here sound delicious.. Thank you so much for sharing them. Just printed 2 recipes and can’t wait to try them. If you’ve published a book, I would be so interested in purchasing it.
Thank you again,
I made this last night and it was AMAZING! I love dal and get it every time we eat at Indian restaurants, but always thought it would be difficult/time-consuming to make. This was quick, easy, and so good! Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks, Angela- this is a favorite around here!
Has anyone tried this in the slow cooker? I think it would work but wonder if I’d need to adjust the amount of liquid.
Any suggestions welcome!
Thank you for putting together such an amazing collection of recipes. My husband and I have been vegan for just over a year, and we haven’t looked back – in a large part due to our discovery of your blog, which was followed quickly by my husband’s love of cooking. Thank you for making it easy to stay healthy and happy!
Yum!!!!! Love this blog and Love this recipe
i made your lentil loaf and have green lentils leftover. Could I use them or do you have to use red lentils??/
I made this recipe last night with a few substitutions, because I am big on using what I have if it is “close enough”. The substitutions? Green lentils instead of read ones, and whole coconut milk instead of light. I also about doubled the curry powder, but maybe the one I have isn’t that strong compared to others. It was amazing! My husband was absolutely floored by this delicious, filling, meatless meal. (We aren’t vegan, but have been eating less meat and are on the fence about trying it.) The only thing is I love to have saucy curry, but it seemed my lentils sucked up almost all my sauce/liquid. I would add another half or even whole can of coconut milk and increase the spices to match to try to get it saucier.
Sorry… I accidentally left my comment as a reply to yours. Yes, you can use green lentils. I did, and they were delicious!
Beautiful dish! Not surprisingly, I found this to be better the second day, after flavors had a chance to play together overnight. Next time, I’ll up the seasonings and salt, and add just a bit of heat. This made a lot, so in the freezer it will go. I’m also loving your cookbook. Great job!
This dish was incredible. I enjoyed it so much. Normally after eating two days of leftovers I’m ready to not eat that dish for awhile! But this recipe was so good, the flavors are surprisingly delicate but SO well balanced and delicious! Thank you!
I just made this recipe, it’s unbelievable good! I love the combination of flavors, coconut milk soothes the spiciness of the curry and ginger. Definitely it’s for making it again and again. Thanks!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Camille!
Honestly, this has got to be the most delicious thing I’ve ever made. I am simply in love with it! Thank you!!!!
Delicious! Thank you.
I had to comment…this recipe was delicious! And I thought the toasted pumpkin seeds were the perfect topping! Thank you for the post!
So glad to hear the recipe was a hit, Stephanie!
Just made this daal and it’s fabulous! Had to sub soy milk for coconut milk but it still came out fabulous:) I served this on top of baked sweet potatoes and had roasted zucchini on the side, my omnivore husband has loved every OSG recipe I’ve made, thanks Angela!!!
Hi Ashlea, it’s so great to hear that you and your husband are loving the recipes! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. :) I hope you enjoy whatever you decide to try next!
This looks so delicious, I will make this for my family dinner tomorrow, hope they will love it. Thank you so much for taking time writing this recipe !
Hi Anthony, I hope your family enjoyed the Dal!
I’ve only recently started making the transition toward a vegan diet (cut down from 2-3 serves of animal products per day to 3 serves per week!). This recipe is incredible and I’m using it to get my boyfriend on board! I’ve got your cookbook from Amazon on its way – I can’t wait! Thank you so much for making the vegan lifestyle irresistible! =D
Hi Lauren, thank you so much for your support! I hope you enjoy the cookbook. It’s so great to hear you enjoyed the Red Lentil Dal — I’m glad my recipes are helping to make your transition to a plant-based lifestyle enjoyable and tasty! :) I hope you love whatever recipe you try next just as well.
I made a version of this tonight and it was superb. I only had a scant amount of veggie broth left, so I used two cans of full fat coconut milk (wooooooops….) and about 2 cups of water. The end result was extra rich & creamy. I also added peppercorns and cardamom to the oil before I added the onions. My only other spice addition was a bit of dried coriander.
I love it so much! Thank you.
That sounds absolutely delish, Anne!
Can this be made in a slow cooker? If so for how long and what setting?
Hi Jeanan, I’m sorry I haven’t used my slow cooker in ages so I wouldn’t know what to recommend. You might have success searching for “dal slow cooker” recipes online and see what they cook it at. If you try anything please let us know!
This was absolutely delicious! Do you know any way I can get the calorie count?
Hi Christine, there are lots of great online tools, like CalorieCount.com or NutritionData.com, that will provide a nutritional breakdown if you plug in the recipe info. There are probably also some excellent apps out there, too (though I can’t name any off the top of my head). I hope this helps!
We made this last night and my husband and I loved it! I couldn’t find light coconut milk at the store, but I’ll go to another grocery store next time. How does this dish freeze?
By the way, love your blog and recipes. I’ve made 5 or 6 of the recipes and love them all — especially the homemade Lara bars and the raw chocolate pudding.
Hi Christine, I’m so happy the recipe was a hit! It freezes beautifully. For easy freezing, just place the cooled curry into a freezer-safe bag, press out the air, and freeze on a flat surface (or, of course, feel free to pop it into your fav freezer-safe container!). You can thaw it overnight in the fridge, or simply leave it on the counter until it’s mostly thawed. It’ll keep in the freezer up to 4 weeks, and possibly longer. Hope this helps!
I made this tonight and it is so very delicious! Love it. The flavor combinations are awesome. This one is a real keeper. Thank you so much for the delicious recipe!
So happy it was a hit, Lisa! :)
A friend of mine made this when she had me over for dinner and it was so delicious that I went home and made it for myself the next day!
It freezes beautifully and smells so good that my entire office came over to see what I was eating. Really easy and delicious – I have a feeling this will become a staple for me.
P.s. the squeeze of lime should not be optional, really makes the dish shine!
What can I say? Another taste buds party in my mouth! What a delicious meal! Thank you for helping me entertain myself with wholesome and healthy foods! You rock!
The flavor of this dish is outstanding. We served over black rice and we loved it. The leftovers were yummy as well.
Absolutely delicious! Making a double batch next time to fill the freezer!
This dal was destroyed in seconds. Literally. I was barely able to photograph it before we ate it all. My bf said the only bad thing about it was that there wasn’t more of it. He said we can’t go out for curry any more because this is the best dal he’s ever had and nothing else will ever be better. Great recipe!!
This was seriously delicious!! I highly the recommend madras curry powder. I also topped with raisins, skipped the spinach because we didn’t have any and I used chicken stock because we avoid tomatoes due to histamines.
I made this tonight and really enjoyed it but I think my curry powder wasn’t the best. I will try the simply organic one and see how that is. I like anything with coconut milk in it. So decadent
I loved this – super tasty! This was my first time cooking any curry dish (when I’m in the mood for a dish like this, I always end up eating out). I was surprised how straight forward this was. I love cooking things when its all in one pot, as well. I was at first intimidated by the long list of ingredients, but then I realized half the ingredients were spices heh.
I’m so glad the recipe was a success, Caroline! :)
Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I just made this tonight and the flavors were unbelievable! I have also tried your smashed potatoes with avocado garlic aoli and loved those too! May I ask something though? This dish had a slightly grainy texture when it was finished. I am unsure if it was from the spices or something else. I prepared it exactly as the recipe stated and measured precisely. Any advice on how to fix that would be lovely! Again, wonderful blog and site! I look forward to trying many more of your recipes!
Hi Mandy, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the smashed potatoes! That’s one of my fave recipes for sure. With respect to the dal, it sounds like you did everything right with the recipe! I think the texture you’re experiencing may just be the natural texture of the lentils. Red lentils tend to break down a lot when they cook. If you’re a fan of the dal’s flavouring but not so much its texture, you could try black or French green lentils, which hold up a bit better. I hope this helps, and thank you so much for the kind words!
OMG life changing!! Made a few changes: used baby kale, used 1/2 cup onion and 1 yellow bell pepper. Overall AMAZING!! Thanks for your inspiration!! I love love love oh she glows for the wealth of healthy, wholesome recipes:). This website has helped me so much with recovering from anorexia in the last few months. Blessed, thanks!!!
This recipe looks very delicious. I will try this soon.
Thank for share !
I hope you enjoy it when you give it a try, Rebecca :)
I was trying this recipe and its great!
This look so good! I will try it today. Thank u for this recipe.
Absolutely delicious! My teenage son even loved it!
This recipe is amaze-balls! So delicious and flavorful! Thank you for yet another keeper!