This Apple Lentil Dal is the perfect start to your year!
Apple Lentil Dal: a go-to recipe
In fact, this easy vegan dal is the perfect dish just about anytime. Even though it’s considered good fortune to eat legumes for new year’s day, I’ll offer that it’s good health and fortune to eat legumes every day of the year!
And, this apple lentil dal is so easy and delicious, it’s one of those recipes you can make regularly through the year.
This recipe originates from Plant-Powered Families. I have thought about posting this recipe many times. Many times! Why?
Well, it’s… (1) easy – really easy (2) family-pleasing (3) as delicious as it is healthy and (4) easy – really easy!
Now, this dal is not exactly traditional. I’ve been known to stretch traditional definition of a recipe.
Dal: Breaking Tradition
This apple lentil dal isn’t particularly traditional in that it doesn’t use oil to saute spices, and it doesn’t include much in the way of whole spices or ‘hot’ spices like chiles.
I love the complexities of flavors in Indian cuisine. When we’ve ordered out, I often find the heat of the spice is too much for family members – even when we request mild.
Also, since beginning to cook oil-free some years ago, many of the takeout dishes are now quite rich for me. Our palates and stomachs really adjust to minimizing oil in cooking.
The muted heat level of the spices is what makes this vegan dal especially family-friendly. I have been making this one for years and our girls have always loved it – even when our youngest (Hope) was a wee girl just a few years old!
Moreover, what is quite untraditional about this apple lentil dal is that it includes chopped apples! AND that is one of the elements that makes it especially delicious.
The apples add a natural sweetness against the earthy cumin and turmeric. And, they offer a slight fresh quality in the lentils. Altogether, it’s beautiful and an element you won’t want to skip!
Enjoy this recipe, friends, and enjoy the start to our new year. About that – I shared a personal story on youtube today and hopefully some helpful and inspiring tips for creating sustainable change in your own life.
Blessings, everyone… x Dreena
Apple Lentil Dal
The preparation for this dal-like dish is unfussy, yet the flavor is something morecomplex. Just a few subtle herbs and spices combined with sweet apples and earthyred lentils make this puree simply delectable. It is flavorful without being spicy-hot,so is quite kid-friendly!
- 3 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp water divided
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 – 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cups red lentils rinsed
- 1 medium apple peeling optional, cored and cut into cubes about 1/2” (see note)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste optional; see note
In a pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the water, onion, sea salt, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, mustard, and turmeric. Stir through, cover, and cook for 4–5 minutes (keep an eye on it, and add another splash of water if the spices and onion are sticking). Remove the cover and add the lentils and remaining 3 1/2 cups water. Turn heat up to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. After 12–15 minutes, add the apple and lemon juice, stir through, and cook for another 5–7 minutes, until the apple has softened a little but isn’t entirely mushy. Season with additional sea salt or lemon juice if desired, and serve.
Apple Note: An apple that is not entirely sweet (ex: Braeburn or Honeycrisp) is preferable, but use what you have on hand!
Spicy Note: For adults, you can kick up the spice by either adding hot sauce at serving or adding crushed red pepper flakes (1/2–1 teaspoon) with the other dried spices at the beginning of cooking.
Serving Suggestions: This is delicious over brown short-grain or basmati rice, quinoa, or millet. When cooled, try spreading on tortillas or collard leaves for wraps.