Plantastic Dal

An Easy Indian Dish


I love Indian food and dal tarka is one of my go-to dishes when I dine at an Indian restaurant. It is made with split mung dal, red lentils or yellow split peas. I always have red lentils in the pantry because they are quick and easy and work wonderfully in this dish.

Sometimes dal is more thin and soupy and other times it is thicker and more stew-like. It’s up to you how much water to use. It is a simple yet flavorful dish loaded with nutrients and flavor. And it is simple to make at home!


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Plantastic Dal

recipe from Lisa Rice's Kitchen Plantastic



2 cups red lentils (or yellow split peas)

6-8 cups water

1 tsp sea salt (can omit if SOS-free)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 Large chunk of peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

optional: 1 tsp sativa/nigella/kalonji seeds (recommended!)

optional: 1 seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño or Serrano pepper

3 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped (you can used diced from the can as well)

1 bag pre-washed baby spinach or 3 cups de-stemmed chopped kale

Fresh Cilantro Chutney

• 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

• ¼ cup fresh lime juice (or lemon)

• ¼ cup water

• ¼ cup dried shredded coconut

• 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped or grated

• 1 T of pure maple syrup, agave, or date syrup

• 1 teaspoon sea salt

• ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


Rinse lentils, place in pot with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 25 minutes until lentils are soft and mushy, skimming off any foam as they simmer. Stir in salt and allow to sit while preparing the following:

Heat pan on medium high and saute onions, garlic, ginger and jalapeño if using with pinch of salt several minutes until garlic begins to turn golden.

Add spices and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant.

Stir in tomato and cook down a bit to deglaze pan, then add the spinach or kale and stir, a few minutes to wilt. Stir in the lentils, cook 5 minutes more to allow the flavors to meld and it is hot and bubbly.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with basmati rice and optional chutney on the side (see cilantro chutney recipe).

To make the chutney, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is broken down but still has texture.

Lisa Rice

Sr. Health Mentor & Director of Content and Promotion