Winter Vegetable Dal

January/February 2014

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This southern-Indian-inspired vegetable dal recipe is rich and creamy thanks to light coconut milk and gets exotic flavor from spice-infused coconut oil. Serve with flatbread or naan.

Winter Vegetable Dal

Makes: 6 servings, 1 2/3 cups each

Serving Size: 1 2/3 cups

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 12 fresh curry leaves (see Tips) or 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils (see Tips), rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can “lite” coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (1-inch)
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (see Tips)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves (if using) and cook until the seeds begin to pop, about 20 seconds. Add onion, chile, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add bay leaf (if using), water, lentils, coconut milk, salt and turmeric to the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom. Add squash, cauliflower and potato; return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in garam masala and lime juice.

Tips & Notes

  • Find fresh curry leaves in the produce section (and sometimes in the freezer) at Asian markets. Any unused leaves can be frozen, airtight, for up to 2 months.
  • Red lentils are excellent in soups, salads and vegetarian stews. You can find them in the natural-foods section of your supermarket or in natural-foods stores.


Per serving: 340 calories; 10 g fat (7 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 47 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 5 g total sugars; 17 g protein; 10 g fiber; 620 mg sodium; 690 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (111% daily value), Vitamin C (57% dv), Iron (22% dv), Potassium (20% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat

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Type of Dish
Ease of Preparation
Total Time
1 hour or less
Preparation/ Technique
January/February 2014
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