The first spoonful of red lentil dal goes into our mouths and immediately all the muscles in our face and shoulders relax. There’s a dreamy “wow that’s good” look spreading around the table and we settle into our bowls as though they hold delicious, precious treasure. Yes, it’s dal night!
This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.
Ingredients ($8 total)
1 lb red lentils – $1.69
6 cups water – free
½ 28 oz can crushed tomatoes – $0.80
1 tbsp canola or light olive oil – $0.10
1 chopped onion – $0.50
4 cloves chopped garlic – $0.15
1 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt – $1.96
1 tbsp sugar – $0.06
1 bay leaf – $0.14
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1 bunch collard/kale leaves, chopped – $1.99
2 cups cooked basmati rice – $0.47
Directions for Red Lentil Dal
1. Rinse red lentils several times with cold water until water runs clear, then drain. In a medium pot, mix rinsed lentils with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until lentils are soft. Occasionally scoop any foam off the top of the water as it cooks. Turn off heat once lentils are cooked and set aside.
2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn. Next, add all the spices. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.
Add the cooked lentils and lentil cooking water to the onions and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and tomatoes and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt or spices if necessary.
3. Stir in chopped collards and rice, then remove from heat, or simmer until you’re ready to eat. Also ok to serve rice or naan on the side. Excellent as leftovers!
Sustainability Score (explained here)
- Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
- Servings: 3 = >6 servings
- Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
- Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
- Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
- Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
- TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum possible score!)
If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!