But the reason I’ve never posted it is because 1. It’s super ridiculously easy, and for some reason I have a mental block around posting recipes that seem “too easy” (it feels like cheating), and 2. There are already like, a gazillion and one (precise figure, true story) recipes for red lentil dahl on the internets.
And the reason I’m actually posting it now, finally, is because 1. Everyone who’s ever tasted it has been like OMG HOW DID YOU WHAT IN THE THIS IS AMAZING!!!1 (precise quote, true story), and 2. I have made it every single week, for the past few months, at Jeremy’s request. And anything that’s so good as to be eaten so regularly, deserves to be shared. Don’t you think?
This recipe is disarmingly simple. 10-15 minutes prep, with ~30 minutes simmering, and it’s ready to serve, no fuss. You’re probably skeptical. But seriously, just try it. Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups red lentils
1 large onion, diced
3-4 carrots, diced
3-4 ribs of celery, diced
a few cloves of garlic, minced (to taste)
a knob of fresh ginger, minced (or not, this is pretty optional but I personally love it)
2-4 tablespoons curry powder, store-bought or homemade, divided (to taste, I err on the side of “more”, but start small and add as you like)
6-8 cups broth, either veggie or “better than chicken”/”better than beef” (all of these work but obviously, each one changes the flavor)
salt to taste
1 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk
–> my favorite optional spices for playing with the flavor = turmeric, smoked paprika, & cumin
Obviously, this is a very forgiving recipe. I make it a little bit differently each time, which is just the way it should be. Sometimes I load it up with fresh ginger, and other times I pile on the smoked paprika. Whatever suits my mood.
So! To start, put a stock pot/soup pot over a medium flame, and spray with a bit of oil – I like the coconut oil spray. Dice your onion, add to the pot, and give a good stir.
Dice your carrots. Add to the pot and stir.
Dice your celery. Add to the pot and stir. Mmmmmmire poix!
Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the fresh ginger. When the onions are glassy and the carrots and celery have softened, add the garlic and ginger. Give a good stir and continue to cook for a minute or two.
Add the lentils. Yes, dry.
Add the spices (2 tablespoons curry powder + whatever other spices you want to add, if you’re adding others). Stir well to combine.
This dry sauté really allows the flavors to develope. After 30-60 seconds (about the time it takes to get it and measure it out, really), add the broth.
Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes or so, checking in every so often to stir. You may have to add more broth, which is fine.
Do not add the coconut milk! Not while it simmers.
Just wait, as the aroma of mouthwatering amazingness completely infiltrates your home. Try occupying yourself with something adorable . . .
When the lentils are tender and could be served, taste the soup and adjust the flavor for curry intensity (you may want to add another tablespoon or 2 of spice, depending on how you like it) and salt.
Jeremy and I almost always eat this over a bed of steamed kale or rainbow chard – of course the one time we didn’t is the one time I was taking pics. Rice or quinoa would be nice as well.
And we almost always serve it with gluten-free bread + coconut oil. And here’s the weird thing that we discovered and you’re going to be like “WHAT?! You’re crazy, that doesn’t even make any sense.” And you’re right, it doesn’t Except! It’s just sooooo good.
Pictured here, pumpernickel bagels, because they were out of the loaves at our favorite gluten-free bakery.
This dahl hits the spot, always and forever, no matter what. But IF you can get your hands on some pumpernickel, I highly recommend it. Don’t ask me to try and explain the flavor-genius that arises from this unlikely pairing, because I certainly couldn’t tell you. You’ll just have to trust me.