One of the only things lower than the serotonin levels in my brain right now is the number of Americans who get enough fiber. Even if you think you get enough fiber, you probably don't—seriously, only five percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of fiber per day (25 grams for women, 38 grams for men). Given that fiber is crucial for digestive and gut health (and some forms can help lower cholesterol, too), it's always a good idea to find more ways to add fiber to your diet—which is just one reason why we love this hearty vegetable dal recipe from chef Palak Patel.
"I actually had dal growing up when I was sick, and it's very comforting, reminds me of home, reminds me of my mom," Patel says in the latest episode of Well+Good's show Cook With Us. "What I've decided to do is add extra vegetables to make it even more hearty for the winter." Dal (a dish popular in the Indian subcontinent) is traditionally made with lentils, which pack in a lot of fiber by themselves, and lots of spices. Patel's recipe uses two different types of lentils, and she adds cauliflower and sweet potato which give the dish an extra boost of fiber. The result, she says, ends up being a marriage between a dal and a stew. (And 100 percent delicious, I might add.)
The best part: Patel's vegetable is dish comes together in one pot, making clean up far less daunting, particularly on a weeknight.
Patel describes the finished dish as "a blanket being wrapped around you on a really cold day. It's so comforting." And really, who couldn't use that feeling right now?
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 cups vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, spinach)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of one half a lemon
4 cups of water
Kosher salt to taste
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Heat oil over medium-high heat, add cumin seeds until they sputter in oil. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and saute for 3-5 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes, then add spices, red lentils, carrots, sweet potatoes, and water. Season with salt. Cover the lid and simmer on low for approximately 30-45 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, spinach, and cilantro.
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