I love Indian food. I love the unique spices and the savory flavors and the fact that it really is so healthy. (As long as you stay away from the cream-heavy sauces, that is!) My favorite Indian restaurant always serves up their meals with a small bowl of dal, traditional curried lentils, and sometimes I want dal more than I want my actual meal!
Here is a really great recipe for making dal with red lentils and root veggies like parsnip, turnip, and carrots. You can enjoy it as a side that's about 240 calories or serve it over brown basmati rice for a terrific and light meal!
Red Lentil & Root Veggie Dal
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
2 - 3 teaspoons mild curry powder (I would start with 2 teaspoons and add more to taste at the end.)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils
3/4 pound parsnip, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3/4 pound rutabaga or turnip, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 cup baby carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Lime slices, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions in the oil until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and saute for another minute.
2. Add the remaining spices and salt, and saute for about 30 seconds, then add the broth, lentils, and the remaining vegetables. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, keeping a close eye on it. Once it's boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are creamy and the vegetables are soft. If necessary, thin the soup by adding up to a cup of water. Taste for salt and seasonings.
3. Let the soup sit for 10 minutes or so for maximum flavor. Serve garnished with lime slices.