Dinner Ideas

Sweet Potato Dal

Two white bowls with sweet potato dhal

Simple, spicy, and satisfying – that’s dal in a nutshell. This easy Sweet Potato Dal uses healthy red lentils, a rainbow of Indian-inspired seasonings, and tender sweet potatoes for a wonderful cool-weather meal.

Two white bowls with sweet potato dhal

Comfort food that’s actually good for you is a double bonus, right? This easy dal is a flavorful lentil dish that will leave you feeling satisfied and cozy! The blend of spices is absolutely delicious, while the red lentils cook up soft and tender. Nutritious and vibrant sweet potato rounds out the flavor profile.

What is a Dal?

A dal is an Indian dish of lentils, peas, or beans that are dried and split. Some of these, like red lentils, don’t have to be soaked before cooking: just a few seasonings, a bit of liquid, and a little time, and you have a simple but delicious soup or stew that’s perfect on its own, or accompanied by naan or rice. 

How to Make Sweet Potato Dal

  1. Cook the Lentils. Rinse the lentils well, drain, and bring to a boil with the water. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot, because lentils can quickly boil over. Set aside when lentils have absorbed the liquid.
  2. Saute the Aromatics and Spices. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes (you can add a bit of water if needed to make sure the onions remain soft). Add the garlic, ginger and spices. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant, stirring constantly.
  3. Heat and Blend All Ingredients, Except Lentils. Add the sweet potato flesh, diced tomato, tomato paste and vegetable broth to the onion mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before transfering to a blender. Blend just until everything is combined.
  4. Add Blended Mixture to Lentils and Serve. Pour mixture back into saucepan and stir in the lentils. Cook just until heated through. Adjust the seasonings and enjoy!

Tips for Success

  • Watch the Lentils: Undercooked lentils are too crisp and crunchy, taking away from the smooth, inviting warmth of the dal. On the other hand, overcooked and mushy lentils aren’t good either! Taste the dish frequently to make sure the texture on point! Also keep an eye on your lentils while they are cooking as they do have a tendency to “boil over” if left unattended for too long.
  • Add a Tarka: While the dish is beautiful as-is, you can also make a “tarka” topping, which is essentially spices tempered in oil. Saute minced fresh garlic, shallot, red pepper, and other seasonings you like in oil or clarified butter, then spoon this over the top of each bowl. It’s a wonderful garnish and flavor enhancer!

Serving Suggestions

  • Steamed Rice: One of the easiest sides to serve with hal is white rice. I particularly like basmati and jasmine rice with this dish.
  • Naan: You can also make naan, or pick some up at your local grocery store and warm it gently in the oven until warm.
  • Customize It: While one of the great things about dal is how simple it is, you can also treat it somewhat like chili and serve an array of toppings: plain yogurt, chutney, chopped cashews, gently sauteed bell peppers, and more. Let your creativity be your guide!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

To refrigerate, transfer the dal to an airtight container and store for up to 5 days. To reheat, bring just to a simmer on the stovetop, stirring frequently. Reheat only as much as you want to serve in order to keep the dal as fresh as possible.

Can I Freeze Sweet Potato Dal?

Yes, you can! Cool the dal to room temperature, and then transfer to an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Print

Sweet Potato Dal Recipe

Two white bowls with sweet potato dhal

A warming sweet potato red lentil dal, flavored with tomato, sweet potato, and Indian-inspired spices.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • Flesh of 1 small baked potato
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Rinse the lentils and drain. Add to a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot because lentils can quickly boil over. Set aside when lentils have absorbed the liquid.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the 3 tbs olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add a bit of water if needed to make sure the onions remain soft.

Add the garlic, ginger and spices. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant, stirring constantly.

Add the sweet potato flesh, diced tomato, tomato paste and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender. Blend the mixture just until everything is combined.

Pour mixture back into saucepan and stir in the lentils. Cook just until heated through. Taste and adjust salt/pepper as needed.

Serve.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 large scoop
  • Calories: 175
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Fiber: 4g

Keywords: dhal and rice, lentil dhal, easy dal recipe

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