Spinach Dal/Lentils

Baby spinach and red lentil curry

Lentils are a big part if the Indian diet, like in many other cuisines it is a simple and easy way to get protein in one’s diet. A mildly flavored dal along with some steamed rice or roti is man’s best friend at the lunch or dinner table. It is a very filling meal and easily accommodates most of the food groups in one go.

In a household with children getting greens in their diet is a challenge. Especially when you are a vegetarian 🌱 and need a solid source of nutrients and fiber, greens are vital in one’s diet. I remember how my grandmothers used to repeat this every time they had greens on the menu for lunch. “Eat your greens, it is iron Vit A, Calcium….will help your brain stay active, keep your black hair shiny and healthy, help with metabolism…etc.,.” Our cuisine has some unique dishes made from locally grown greens and they are all supposed to be delish. Back in the days I wasn’t very open to trying them all…but now….let’s say I am trying to catch up 😁!

M loves greens……he will eat any leafy green that is edible. The kids will eat greens in salads without complaining but when cooked greens are on the table it has to be in their favorite form. They love dal and rice…so what better way to get some spinach in there!! Spinach dal, steamed rice and a nice big dollop of ghee…..sold !!

Notes :

  • Use baby spinach or bunches or any greens you like baby kale, beet greens, chard, amaranth, etc.,.
  • Spinach to lentil ratio is what you want it to be!
  • I have used split red lentils, use any lentil of choice, : split mung dal, brown lentils, green lentils.
  • I like to cook the lentils first and then add the spinach to it so I don’t overcook the greens.
  • Make it vegan or add ghee and make it vegetarian. Ghee and lentils are a match made in heaven.
  • Ginger and cumin aid the digestion of the lentils.
  • I cook the lentils in the Instant Pot and then add it to the sautéed spinach, saves time, retains the green. Whole lentils take longer to cook.

Recipe : Spinach Dal

Prep time : 20 minutes Cook time : 10 minutes Spice Level : 🌶

Ingredients :

  1. Baby Spinach : 3 cups – chopped -will wilt on cooking
  2. Chopped red onion – 1 small
  3. Red lentils – 1 cup – use split lentils
  4. Water – 2 cups
  5. Ginger paste – 1 teaspoon
  6. Garlic paste – 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Black mustard seeds – optional
  8. Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  9. Oil as needed
  10. salt to taste
  11. Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  12. Cayenne – 1/2 teaspoon
  13. Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  14. Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
  15. Asafoetida – a pinch – optional

How to:

  • Rinse lentils in water until they run clear.
  • Add them to the Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Let pressure release on its own.
  • In a heated skillet, add oil, cumin seeds, let it roast for 20 seconds, add the ginger garlic pastes, spice powders and roast on slow flame for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté till translucent.
  • Add the spinach, saute for 2 minutes. The spinach will wilt and now add salt, be careful to not over salt it.
  • Now add the lentils to the spinach, if it looks too thick, add quarter cup at a time to get the desired consistency. It should look like a soup. Lentils will thicken as they cool down.
  • Check for salt and if you desire, add a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar or jaggery..completely optional.

Enjoy it with steamed rice, quinoa, steel cut oats, rotis…any how you like it. Make it your own and enjoy ! Comfort food at its best ! Thank you for stopping by !!

4 thoughts on “Spinach Dal/Lentils

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