Updated: Apr 16, 2019
Dahl, or lentil soup, is a traditional dish in Indian culture. I have grown to enjoy Dahl more with age, due to its simplicity: it takes about 15 minutes to prepare, can be made in batches, and keeps refrigerated for a few days. Without sacrificing nutrition or flavour, this helps to ensure that you have a quick meal ready for those days when time is limited. While this recipe is a huge comfort food for me, it is also a warming plant-based meal full of fibre and anti-inflammatory benefits, which is a big plus for the colder months of the year!
As we transition from summer to autumn, many types of squash, also called pumpkin, come into season and are the perfect pairing for so much more than a Starbucks latte. For this particular recipe, I experimented with adding seasonal kabocha squash, which adds a source of potassium, vitamins A, C, and B1 (Thiamine), although you could try a different squash of your choice. Vitamin C is a multifunctional antioxidant, it is important to consume this vitamin through the diet, as humans do not store Vitamin C in our bodies. In order for Vitamin C to assist in maintenance of your tissues, skin, and gums, amongst other functions, we need to consume foods such as citrus fruits, kale, green peppers, and strawberries; or in this case, squash! Vitamin A is fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in dairy and animal products, but can also be made from plant compounds called carotenoids; these can be found in sweet potato, carrots and leafy greens. This vitamin plays a role in growth and maintenance of the immune system, skin, and eyes. (1)
The dahl is served over millet, which is a nutritious low FODMAP, high protein, and naturally gluten free grain that completes the protein profile of this plant-based meal. Millet can be readily found in supermarkets in Vancouver, and is prepared similarly to quinoa*.
For those who are following the FODMAP diet, lentils can be problematic in servings larger than ¼ cup cooked due to the presence of fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS’s), so we used a smaller proportion of lentils and added thickness and volume to the recipe by using kabocha squash. This substitution decreases the overall protein content, so we serve the dahl with millet, a low FODMAP and high protein whole grain to complete the protein profile of this meal. Further, we recommend that individuals who are following the FODMAP diet, that you start with half a portion to see how you feel!
1 cup millet, dry
1 cup yellow lentils
1 cup acorn squash (remove skin, cut into cubes)
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
2 tomatoes, diced
1 garlic clove minced (omit for FODMAP or substitute with garlic oil)
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 green chili (optional, can substitute ground paprika for less spice)
Fresh cilantro to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Add 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup millet, bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-35 minutes; Amount after cooking: 4 cups.
Steam squash until tender (about 15 minutes), once cooled, puree with cup water
In another large pot, add lentils and 3 cups of water, and place on medium-high heat
Bring the lentils to a boil, and allow them to cook for 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat, then turn off the heat and set aside
In a pan, melt butter and add mustard seeds, chili, and tomatoes – allow to cook down until soft
Add garlic, coriander, and turmeric to the pan and sauté until the mixture has a paste-like consistency
Stir in the squash puree into the cooked lentils
Finally, add the sautéed spice mixture into the lentil and squash and stir
Allow this final combined mixture to simmer over medium heat for an additional 1-2 minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with fresh cilantro and plain yogurt, and/or crushed nuts
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving with 1 cup millet
Calories: 348, Carbohydrates: 41g, Fibre: 7g, Fat: 3g, Protein: 12g
* For more information on millet, visit: https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/grain-month-calendar/millet-and-teff-%E2%80%93-november-grains-month