Protein is such an important part of our diets. It helps build muscle, keeps us full, longer, and helps build a strong healthy body. But those are just a few of the reasons I’m a big fan of lentils. Yes, they are a rich source of plant-based protein but they are also DELICIOUS and easy to cook. My version of yellow moong dal is an easy lentil recipe made from ingredients that you may have already and it that makes for a filling, family-friendly meal.
Dal is one of my favourite comfort foods, partly because there are endless ways to cook lentils in Indian cuisine. Each region has a favourite, each family has their own twist. My mom makes a mean chana dal (bengal gram lentils – the kernel of the chickpea) with lauki (bottle gourd) and while that sounds like an odd combination, it is always reminds me of home. My version is a simplified recipe of that recipe using moong dal instead that is faster to cook – kitchen to table in less than half an hour.
Easy Lentil Recipe – Yellow Moong Dal with spinach
I love it when experiments end up wholesome, delicious and generally amazing. This lentil dish started out as an experiment, and I’ve tried it with zucchini and spinach. Both work very well. Serve it with roti, rice, triangles of pita or a soft white dinner roll. Yum!
Real-Life Kitchen Tips
- Before cooking rinse the lentils out a couple of times till the water runs clear.
- Yellow split lentils do not require soaking and that cuts down on the prep time.
- If you’re planning meals for the week then make a big batch without the tempering on Sunday night and put them in the fridge. Cooked lentils will stay for a couple of days. You could even freeze them at this point. Take them out when you are ready to eat and finish with the Tadka step below.
- This dish is vegetarian, plant-based and naturally gluten-free. Skip the ghee and it’s also dairy-free and vegan.
Indian Lentils - Moong Dal With Zucchini, Burnt Garlic and Crispy Onions. Perfectly delicious vegetarian comfort food
- 1/2 cup Yellow Split Lentils skinless Moong Dal
- 1 cup chopped zucchini or frozen spinach
- 1 in piece Ginger
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp oil or ghee or a combination
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/3 cup of finely chopped onions
- 2 garlics cloves sliced thinly
- 1 green chilli if you like the heat chopped in large chunks
Rinse the lentils in fresh water and pour it out.
Add the yellow lentils in a pan with 3 times the quantity of water along with the ginger, salt and turmeric.
Boil and then turn the heat to medium and let it simmer away for 20 minutes.
If you have a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot then use it for this recipe. Instant Pot setting is at 2 mins High Pressure, NPR 5 mins
If you see any scum collect on top, skim it away. This isn't bad for you just takes away from the flavour.
Add in the chopped spinach or zucchini in the last couple of minutes after the dal is already cooked. If you're using the Instant Pot then after you open it.
Add salt and sugar and stir.
Heat the ghee on high in a pan and add in the cumin seeds. If you're eating vegan, switch the ghee for Canola or any other mild-flavoured vegetable oil with a high smoke point.
Let the seeds brown and sputter and then add the sliced garlic. Turn the heat to medium.
Add in the onions along with green chillies if you're using them.
Once the mixture is brown and crispy pour the tempering on top of the dal. Scoop the last drop of tadka out. This is the reason why lentils are FABULOUS.
Serve with your favourite roti, naan, rice or bread.
Along with this Moong Dal recipe today I’m glad to be sharing recipes from fellow Canadian bloggers under the hashtag #CANRecipe.
From the top the dishes are:
Easy Weeknight Turkey Chili @ Mommydo
Grape Jelly Meatballs @ The Inspired Home
Puffball Mushroom Soup @ OffThePorch.ca
Creamy Curry Meat Soup @ Allergy Girl Eats
Moong Dal (Indian Lentil Soup) @ Maple and Marigold
Chicken Pot Pie @ Red Cottage Chronicles
Pumpkin Molasses Muffins @ Everyday Allergen Free