Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Food of the Month: Black Lentil Dal

I'm barely sneaking this new food of the month into July! Lentils are an amazing food. As a legume, they possess wondrous amounts of fiber, high amounts of vitamins and minerals, blood sugar-stabilizing complex carbohydrates, and when they are combined with rice, you get a complete protein! This means that you are getting all of the essential amino acids you need to consume, just as if you were eating an animal protein. In fact, lentils have the highest amount of protein by weight of all legumes or nuts, besides soybeans and hemp.

I decided to try some black lentils, since I've already had a few of the other colors. I played with a recipe that could be made in the slow cooker. You can find the original recipe here.

Black Lentil Dal
Makes 10 servings (serve with rice)

2 1/4 cups black lentils
2 tsp ginger root
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 dried or fresh chiles (I used dried New Mexico chiles)
1 huge bunch of cilantro, about 1-2 cups
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp salt
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chile powder
9 cups water
plain yogurt, cilantro, and hot sauce for garnish

Chop the ginger, garlic, peppers, and cilantro in a food processor. Mix with the lentils. Put into a 5 quart slow cooker with all the other ingredients, except the garnishes. Cook on low for 8 hours! It's that easy!

Yes, they turned out brown. But I promise you they were jet black when I started.

Unfortunately, the tool I normally use to calculate recipe nutrition information doesn't have lentils. Weird, right? So I calculated the calories and protein by hand for ya.

1 serving of dal (garnishes not included) = 170 calories, 11.25 g protein
1 serving of dal with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice = 280 calories, 13.75 g protein

Just so you know, I probably will not be posting for a couple weeks since we are visiting Ryan's family in Nicaragua. I'm won't be MIA...just on a little break. :)


  1. We are sort of obsessed with lentils in our house. This recipe looks amazingly delicious. Do you recommend serving with Basmati rice on on it's own?

    1. Shannon,

      I would recommend preparing another vegetable on the side as well. I chose to saute some yellow squash and it went well with the curry!