Red lentil dal and rice bowls are a lovely way to feature this tasty legume that cooks up quickly.
Dal is a traditional Indian recipe that’s naturally vegan, usually made with red lentils. It’s sometimes made with dried split peas, which can be equally tasty, though peas take a lot longer to cook (unless, of course, you cook them in an Instant Pot®).
A cross between a stew and a hot dip made of well-cooked legumes, dal is often served with fresh Indian flatbreads like chapatis, but it’s also a fantastic centerpiece for rice bowls like this one.
A quick-cooking legume: Tiny red lentils cook up quickly (15 to 20 minutes) and I highly recommend keeping them a pantry staple. They cook to a delectably mushy texture that makes a great base for soups and stews. They’re good for making burgers, too —like Red Lentil and Quinoa Burgers.
You’ll find iron- and fiber-rich lentils in the bulk sections of natural foods stores. or in convenient packages, like the Bob’s Red Mill brand.
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze-bottle ginger
- 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder or garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped broccoli or green beans, optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- About 6 cups hot cooked rice (try jasmine or Basmati)
Garnishes (use any or all)
- 2 limes, quartered
- 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow onion, or as desired
- Cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Rinse the lentils and combine them with 3 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then stir in the ginger, curry powder and cumin. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently until the lentils are mushy, about 15 minutes. The consistency should be that of a thick stew. Add a small amount of water if need be, but let it stay nice and thick.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and carrot and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- If using the optional green vegetable, add it to the skillet with a little water, cover, and steam until tender.
- Once the lentils are done, stir the onion mixture in with them and season with salt and pepper.
- Distribute hot cooked rice between shallow bowls, and garnish with lime wedges, chopped onion, and/or cilantro. Serve at once.
If you like red lentils, you might also enjoy …
See lots more tasty and easy vegan main dishes.
First and third photos: Vaaseenaa/Bigstock