Dal made with immune-boosting spices is just what the doctor ordered.
Dal—also known as soups made from various legumes (pulses)—is one of the best comfort foods you can eat these days… or any day really!
Not only is it incredibly rich and hearty, but it’s packed with macro and micronutrients that your body desperately needs.
Remember macronutrients are proteins, carbs, and fats while micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.
You’ll find that it’s one of India’s finest dishes, not to mention one that combines very healthy ingredients with rich, delicious flavor.
Whether you’re in the mood for something hearty or healthy, this amazing red lentil vegan dal dish is just what you need!
Dal is the perfect comfort food thanks to its rich, spicy flavor! You get a mixture of cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and black pepper, all of which work together to make it an incredibly flavorful dish, one that will sing on your palate. The addition of coconut milk makes it an absolute treat, one that will be creamy, thick, and divine. Pair it with basmati rice, and you’ll find it’s comfort food on par with your favorite cream soup or hearty stew—only a whole lot healthier!
The main reason that you should make dal is because of how good it is for you. Lentils offer so many health benefits:
Antioxidants – Red lentils are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, which give the legumes their red color and their delightfully nutty flavor. These antioxidants will help to combat free radicals and protect your body from oxidative stress.
Fiber – Lentils, like all legumes, are very rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. You’ll find that lentils are very filling and can shut down your hunger pangs after a fairly small portion, but they’ll also aid in digestion and keep your gut bacteria healthy.
Plant-Based Protein – If you’re looking for ways to reduce your animal protein consumption, lentils are definitely an excellent option! They’re loaded with plant-based protein that is incredibly easy for your body to absorb.
Micronutrients – You know lentils are loaded with protein and fiber, but wait until you see their high micronutrient content! You get a ton of Vitamin B, potassium, zinc, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, folate, iron, manganese, and a dozen more vitamins and minerals from these amazing little legumes.
Heart Smart -- Studies have made it clear: lentils are amazing for your heart! Not only will they help to counteract bad cholesterol, but they can raise the levels of good cholesterol in your body. They’re also great anti-diabetic foods and can help to lower your blood pressure, preventing hypertension. Lentils can also block the ACE enzyme that causes your blood vessels to constrict, and the folate in lentils will reduce homocysteine levels in your body.
As you can see, there are A LOT of great reasons to add more lentil-rich dal to your diet!
But the real reason, the one that you need to know about for this time we’re living in, is the immune boost.
All of the spices in dal—cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and coriander—are amazing immune boosters that will help your body be naturally more resistant to fighting off disease. Eating more of these spices will also flood your body with antioxidants that can work to make your body’s natural immunity more effective.
Definitely something you want at a time when compromised immunity can be dangerous!
With no further ado, let’s dive into the recipe. It’s not as complex to make as you might imagine, and you’ll find that you likely have most of the ingredients at home—or easily accessible at your local stores.
For this recipe, you will need:
-1 chunk of ginger
-1 red chili
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 bunch of coriander (cilantro)
-1 cup of red lentils
-3 cups of vegetable stock
-1 cup of coconut milk
-6 curry leaves
-Yellow mustard seeds
-Salt, to taste
To begin, cut up the various aromatics. Dice the onions into small cubes, de-seed and chop the red pepper, and finely chop the tomato, coriander stalks, and garlic. Grate the ginger until you get about one tablespoon’s worth.
Place a large pot on your stove, and set the burner on medium heat. Add in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and, when hot, mix in the aromatic veggies that you just chopped. Stir in half a teaspoon of salt and cook for around five minutes, or until the onions are golden and sweet.
Add in six curry leaves and a teaspoon of mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds begin to pop, then add in the remaining spices: two teaspoons of cumin, and one teaspoon each of cinnamon, turmeric, and ground coriander.
Cook the spices until they become fragrant, then add the lentils, coconut milk, and veggie stock into the pot. Heat all of the ingredients until they begin to bubble, then turn the heat down to low.
Once the heat is on low, let the dal cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils begin to soften and the liquid turns creamy. Add a bit more salt as desired, along with a bit of fresh-squeezed lemon juice if needed. You’ll know it’s ready when the lentils collapse.
Serve over jasmine rice or basmati rice, and enjoy!
(Recipe courtesy of Delicious Everyday)
A quick and easy recipe, one that will take very little preparation but which produces an absolutely divine pot of lentils.
If you’re looking for a new comfort food to keep you healthy and satiated during this time, definitely give this vegan red lentil dal a try. The flavor is amazing, the nutrient content is high, and thanks to the spices, you get an excellent boost to your immune system that will make you healthier than ever.