Ayurvedic Red Lentil Dahl Recipe


Dahl is the Sanskrit term for an Indian soup made from a split and de-skinned bean such as the red lentil.  Because of these properties, red lentils are one of the easiest beans to digest, as they cook down to almost a sauce-like consistency.  In fact, most individuals that have digestive issues with beans are still able to enjoy red lentils on a regular basis.

Red lentils are not only great due to their easy-to-digest properties, but this tiny bean possesses a great amount of health benefits as well!  The red lentil is a powerhouse of vital nutrients including plant-sourced iron and protein; essential Vitamin Bs, folate, zinc, phosphorous, manganese, fiber, copper and potassium.  This mighty little bean is on the top 10 list for “Hair Healthy Foods” as well.  Between this nutrient-rich legume combined with the long list of vegetables included in this recipe, you will be set with a rainbow of colors, vitamins, minerals and healing antioxidants.

This particular Dahl recipe is considered tri-doshic and can be enjoyed by all body-types.  It is also vegan, gluten-free and grain-free making it a great meal choice for those with specific dietary needs.  If you are not grain-free however, it is highly recommended to combine this soup with a rice or whole grain of your choice.  My favorites are basmati rice, brown rice or quinoa; but feel free to explore!

  • Doshic effect: Vata↓, Pitta ↓, Kapha ↓ (may increase Pitta in excess)
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-Free
  • Grain-Free
  • Servings: 3-4 servings
  • Time: 45-60 minutes, including prep time
  • Large sauce pan
  • Cutting board and knife
  • 2c split red lentils, soaked overnight 
  • 7c purified water OR meat/bone broth
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1-2 carrots, thinly sliced 
  • 1-2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 leaves of kale 
  • 1 small parsnip, chopped
  • 1 /2 of a small beet, peeled and chopped (omit for Pitta imbalances)
  • 2 tbsp ghee, coconut oil or sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp each of fennel, coriander, brown mustard and cumin seed***
  • 5+ black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1-2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • Fresh juice from a lemon (lime in the summertime)
  • 5+ sprigs of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly chopped
  • Salt to taste (sea salt or pink Himalayan)

***These spices can be replaced by 2 tsp of Agni Churna spice mix.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a large sauce pan add the ghee (or sesame oil) along with the coconut, fennel, coriander, cumin, brown mustard seeds and black peppe.  Stir over medium heat until the spices brown slightly and start to crackle (about 1-3 minutes).
  2. Add the 7 cups of water (or broth) in the same pan and bring to a low boil.  Add the soaked red lentils (discard the water used for soaking) and stir.  Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan, leaving a slight opening to prevent the risk of overflow.  
  3. As the beans begin cooking, begin to slice up the carrots, beet, parsnip, celery and kale.  Add the chopped veggies to the pot, stir, and place back the lid keeping it slightly cracked.  Stir occasionally.
  4. Keep the ingredients on a low boil for 30-45 minutes or until the beans and veggies are very soft (almost mushy) and well-cooked.
  5. Remove from heat.  Add the cilantro, green onion, fresh lemon juice, grated ginger and salt to taste.
  6. This soup may be enjoyed as is, or can be served over a warm bed of basmati rice, brown rice or quinoa as desired.
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