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This Dal is the Healthiest Comfort Food You’ll Eat All Year

This Ayurvedic dal soup recipe is tri-doshic and has warming spices to help your body transition from winter to spring.

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“This dal is our comfort food and is considered tri-doshic in Ayurveda—meaning it’s calming to all three constitutions, or mind-body types. It’s especially beneficial in early spring because it’s warming—with ginger, cumin, and coriander—and it eases lingering winter sluggishness or mild illness with anti-inflammatory turmeric. Plus, the bitter greens and herbs are detoxifying and can help prepare your body for the upcoming shift in season.”

See also Elena Brower’s Go-To Recipe for Nourishing Comfort Food

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (145 g) mung dal (split mung beans) without skin

    1 tbsp plus 1 tsp ghee, divided

    ½ tsp ground turmeric

    ½ tbsp coriander seeds

    ½ tbsp cumin seeds

    2/3 cup basmati rice (or 2–4 roti)

    1 tsp sea salt or rock salt

    2 cups baby spinach, baby kale, or thinly sliced kale or chard

    1 tbsp olive oil

    2 tsp ginger root, finely shredded or minced

    ½–1 tsp serrano pepper, seeded, minced (optional)

    2 tbsp cilantro or parsley, minced 

Preparation

1. Sort, rinse, and drain dal. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, bring mung dal, 1 tsp ghee, turmeric, and 6 cups water to a full boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low, cover tightly, and simmer until fully cooked and soft, 1 hour. Remove from heat. (For pressure cooking, combine ingredients and 5 ½ cups water in a 6-quart pressure cooker, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from heat; let the pressure drop on its own.)

2. Meanwhile, slowly dry-roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a heavy iron-clad frying pan over medium-low heat until fragrant and slightly darker in color, 8 minutes. Remove, and coarsely crush with a mortar and pestle, kitchen mallet, or rolling pin.

3. Cook rice according to package directions (if using).

4. Add roasted spices and salt to dal. Beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Add in the greens, and let wilt.

5. Heat remaining 1 tbsp ghee and oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger and serrano (if using), and fry until ginger is golden, 1–2 minutes, then pour into soup. Cover immediately, and let seasonings soak into dal for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in cilantro or parsley, and serve with rice or roti. 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 307
  • Carbohydrate Content 44 g
  • Fat Content 9 g
  • Fiber Content 6 g
  • Protein Content 11 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 4 g
  • Sodium Content 612 mg