Looking for a crazy-delicious, protein and power-packed snack to keep on hand throughout the week? If you raised your hand, then consider making a batch of my red lentil, coconut and dal spread. It will power your through the longest days, stave off hunger, and keep you lean.
The powerhouse ingredient in this recipe? Humble lentils, a superfood that proves obscurity is not a requirement for being, well, “super!” Lentils come in a variety of colors besides brown, including dark green, black, orange, and yellow, as well as red, which is the type I used to make this spread.
Red lentils are typically sold “split,” as pictured above, which means that they cook quickly (about 20 to 25 minutes, plus, no soaking required) and break down easily, which is ideal for soups and spreads such as this dal.
But what makes red lentils and all of their colorful kin exceptional is their exceptional nutrition density. Lentils are rich in protein and complex carbohydrates. Lentil carbohydrates are resistant starch, which means they do not spike blood sugar levels and are extremely beneficial to digestive heath. Lentils are also rich in iron, a mineral that is especially important for runners and anyone else engaged in seriously sweaty workouts and training.
This dal–similar to hummus for its multi-purpose eating possibilities–is just what you need to give red lentils a go!
Part of what inspired me to make this spread on Monday is that, despite sleeping well, I was dragging through my work, to-do list, and early morning spin class. Sometimes the answer is as simple as food (and water), and that was the case for me. I prefer small bites most of the day (partly because I like variety, but also, that’s simply what works for me to keep my energy levels high), and nibbling on pita, spread thickly with this spread (yum!), has me soaring with energy!
Let me know if you give this a try, readers! I hope you love it as much as I do.
- ¾ cup dried red lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 cups finely chopped onions
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup canned coconut milk (stir it well before measuring)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, leaving lid ajar, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are very tender and falling apart. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne; cook, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes or until onions are softened. Add lentils and their cooking liquid, salt, coconut milk and tomato paste; cook, stirring, for 5 to 8 minutes or until lentils are broken down. Remove from heat and stir in lime zest and lime juice. Let cool completely; adjust seasonings to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled.