For some reason I have been craving Indian food all week. Maybe I’ve just been needing a change in flavor, with the holidays just behind us and too much chocolate and peppermint flavored yummies in my tummy. Or maybe I just like Indian a lot. After all, I’m a sucker for spices. And with this cold, blustery January day, I felt like it was high time for a solid crock pot recipe to warm up my bones. Okay okay, I know I’m not fitting into that “1 in 3 Americans affected by the Nor’ Easter Hercules” as many of my friends and family in CT (I actually almost convinced my mom earlier that I’d been wearing shorts and flip flops all day here), but hey! We get chilly days in Durham, too. And I’m a Southern girl now, which means my blood is not accustomed to anything lower than 40 degrees.
Moreover, as I see post after post on the Internet about New Year’s resolutions including eating healthier, exercising more, and striving to lose weight, I figured a heart-healthy and vegetarian dish that doesn’t skimp on heartiness or flavor would be welcome to many of my readers! [**Spoiler alert** If you don’t like curry or lentils, sorry, you’re out of luck for this one. Go visit my Pesto Chicken Monte Cristos post and be quiet.] Packed with vitamins and nutrients, this recipe is a complete protein when served over a grain such as brown rice or quinoa. Whether you’re looking to cut down on calories without sacrificing flavor, or you just want a healthy meal that’ll stick with you, this sweet potato dahl is the perfect choice. I can’t wait to share it with you!
I used masoor dahl here, which basically means red lentils. You can also use green/black lentils or even split peas, but I hear they take longer to cook. I prefer red lentils for that classic yellow hue that I always associate with Indian stews.
What I love about this recipe is that you can really add any veggies you want, as long as you chop them up thinly enough! (I might stay away from asparagus or sprouts, but that’s just me.) I used diced tomatoes (canned, of course- this recipe is for lazy people!), sweet potatoes (because as we all know, they are my weakness), yellow onions, cauliflower (frozen!), carrots, and baby spinach. Kale would also be amazing (they were out at the store, otherwise I probably would’ve used it for a bit more texture and chewiness).
- 2 cups masoor dahl (red lentils), rinsed
- 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock to keep it vegan!)
- 10 oz fresh baby spinach (kale would work great too!)
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, chopped into small chunks
- 4 whole carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups frozen cauliflower
- 1 14 oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard seed
- 1 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp whole coriander seed (optional)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- handful of chopped cilantro, to taste (plus more for garnish)
- plain Greek yogurt, for serving
- 2 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice, for serving
- multigrain flatbreads, for serving
- Prepare veggies by chopping sweet potato, onion, and carrot.
- Add to crock pot.
- Add lentils, stock, and all spices.
- Set slow cooker to high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-7 hours. You’ll know when the dahl is done when the lentils have broken down and gotten all mushy! (sounds gross but you know… I like that sort of thing :P)
- Just before serving, add spinach, cilantro, and lemon juice. Set slow cooker to warm.
- Warm flatbread in oven for a few minutes (for example, while you simmer the quinoa) or in microwave oven.
- Serve over rice or quinoa, with a dollop of plain yogurt and additional cilantro on top! Also great with flatbread for dipping, especially if you have a husband who’s a sucker for bread.
Gather all your ingredients- veggies, spices, and lentils. This is probably the hardest step of the entire recipe. You think I’m joking. Just wait.
Chop away at those veggies! (Ok, maybe THIS is the hardest part). Mmmm… sweet potatoes.
No lack of spices in this recipe. Gotta love Indian food for that. 🙂 I don’t know why I put them all in a bowl first. Probably because they look prettier that way.
Toss it all into the slow cooker and set to high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-7.
What it’ll look like when it’s almost done!
Add your spinach, cilantro, and lemon juice…
Ready to serve!
Ladled over quinoa, and topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt, more cilantro, and multigrain flatbread. Sweet Potato Masoor Dahl FTW!