About once a month we like to go to an Indian restaurant, it’s at about 30 miles away but it’s worth the trip.
My favorite dish there is dal palak, I order it each and every time I go. It’s a lentil soup made with split chickpeas, spinach, tomato, and spices.
I tried many recipes but just couldn’t find a satisfying one, it was either too soupy, too spicy, or the texture was off. Last time I went to the restaurant, I had a quick talk with the chef and got the chance to squeeze out some tips out of him. So I made a mission to recreate it the traditional way, more or less. I’m very happy with the results and it tastes just like the one I love!
Don’t be scared by its dark green color, this dal is insanely delicious.
What I like about this dal is how rich it is in spinach. It makes it lighter than other dals, plus you get your daily dose of greens. For a more interesting and pleasant texture, I recommend blending 2/3 of the spinach with some water until fully smooth. This way you get a super creamy consistency while still having some whole spinach leaves here and there.
Dal Palak is often made with split chickpeas, they cook a lot faster than whole chickpeas and don’t require any soaking. They are a bit bigger than lentils and add a nice texture to this dal.
The combination of spices with garlic, ginger, and onions make this dal VERY aromatic. For the spices, I went with turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and fenugreek (I love this spice! Have you tried it yet?)
You can eat this dal on its own, or serve with rice on the side. Top with a dollop of cashew cream, fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Easy Dal Palak
- 1/2 cup split chickpeas also known as chana dal
- 1/4 cup red lentils
- 2 and 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 to mato finely chopped
- 1 tsp each: turmeric coriander, garam masala, fenugreek
- 1/8 tsp chili or more if you like it spicy
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 9 cups baby spinach
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- for serving: fresh parsley lemon juice
- Start by rinsing the split chickpeas and lentils 2-3 times.
- Combine the split chickpeas, red lentils, and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer 20-25 minutes until the chickpeas are cooked and there is almost no water left. Remove from heat and drain excess water if needed. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until soft. Next, add the garlic and ginger. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomato, spices, chili, salt, and tomato paste and cook until the tomatoes become soft, stirring regularly.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, wash and drain the spinach. Roughly chop 3 cups of spinach and add it to the skillet.
- Place the other 6 cups of spinach in a blender with 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth and transfer to the skillet.
- Add the cooked chickpeas/lentils and nutritional yeast to the skillet and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly until the spinach is soft. You can cook it longer if you prefer a less soupy consistency. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
- Serve topped with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Dal Palak goes very well with rice.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer.