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Healthy Recipes

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Red Lentil Dal (Indian Dish)

Dal is a popular Indian dish, often prepared with legumes, vegetables and a mix of spices. This version features red lentils, which are quick cooking and packed with protein and fiber. Tomatoes are sautéed with pungent ginger, garlic, cumin and turmeric for a flavorful stew that’s full of antioxidants. Pair with warm flatbread and a side salad for a complete meal or serve alone as a colorful starter.


1 cup split red lentils
3 1/3 cups water, divided
1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil or virgin light olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, grated
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 green Thai or Serrano chile pepper, finely chopped, optional
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
10 fresh curry leaves or 15 dried, optional
Sea salt and ground black pepper

(As always, for the very healthiest versions of any recipe choose organic content as much as possible.)


1. In medium saucepan, cover lentils generously with water and swoosh them with your fingers. Drain and repeat until water runs clear, 3-4 times. Pour in 3 cups cold water and set over medium-high heat. When water boils, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, skimming off any foam that forms in the first minutes. Cook until lentils are tender, 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, chile pepper, if using, and cook, stirring constantly, until seasonings are fragrant, 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden, 4 minutes. Some season paste will be sticking to bottom of pan. Add tomato, cilantro, cumin, turmeric and curry leaves, if using. Cook until tomato pieces are moist and start to break down, 2-3 minutes.

3. Add seasonings to cooked lentils. Off heat, pour 1/3 cup water into skillet and use wooden spatula to scrape up the deep brown layer sticking to pan, then add to lentils, stirring vigorously.

4. Cover lentils and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes to meld flavors. Stir well and serve in deep bowls.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 218 calories, 5 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 33 g carbohydrate, 12 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 8 mg sodium.

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