Spiced Summer Dal

Bowl of Spiced Summer Dal overtop a green napkin

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Makes 4 servings

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 Tablespoons grated ginger (or ginger paste)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon mustard powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)

1 medium zucchini, cut into small cubes

1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes

2 cups yellow lentils, rinsed and drained

4 cups low sodium vegetable stock

½ cup fresh corn

2 cups fresh spinach

Lime wedges

Cooked rice

The term dal can refer to both the dish and the ingredient. Dal the dish is a thick, spiced stew that originated in India and typically uses lentils as the main ingredient. This recipe uses yellow lentils, plenty of spices, and fresh summer vegetables to create a hearty summer meal. 


1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and let heat. Add onions and salt and stir to coat. Cook for 2–3 minutes or until onions begin to soften.

2. Add the garlic and ginger and stir to combine. Let cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Add spices and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

3. Add zucchini and mix to coat. Add the can of chopped tomatoes and stir until everything is well combined, making sure to scrape all the spice off the bottom of the pan.

4. Add lentils and vegetable stock and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The lentils should start to become mushy when the dish is done.

5. Add the corn and spinach and stir to combine, letting the spinach wilt. Remove from heat.

6. Serve over rice with a fresh squeeze of lime juice.

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes