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Golden Cauliflower Dal with Spinach, Red Lentils and Coconut, a gently spiced Indian stew that is warming and comforting.
Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. ~ Tennyson
A whole head of cauliflower meets red split lentils in this simple healthy Golden Cauliflower Dal recipe. A delicious, wholesome plant-based meal that comes together quickly and easily in about 35 minutes on the stovetop.
What is dal?
Dal, in essence, is a fragrant Indian stew made of split lentils, or other split pulses like mung beans, chickpeas, or peas. Highly nutritious, dal is healthy Indian comfort food- nourishing, flavorful, full of plant-based protein and fiber. A staple in Indian cuisine with many variations.
This version is packed with extra nutrients from the addition of fresh cauliflower and spinach. Scoop it up with freshly baked naan bread or serve it with basmati rice, either way, you’ll love the soothing flavors.
Golden Cauliflower Dal | 60-sec Video!
It starts with gathering simple pantry ingredients: split lentils, coconut milk and whole spices.
You’ll need one cup of red split lentils.
The first thing to be done to ensure success is to soak the lentils in 2 cups boiling water while you prep the rest of the ingredients. This will allow the lentils to cook faster, and in time with the cauliflower. This is key.
Gather your whole spices: cumin seed, black mustard, coriander and fennel seeds.
Lightly crush the coriander, just to break apart.
Heat the ghee. ***Of course, you can substitute coconut oil, but ghee is traditional and truly does add the best flavor.
Cook the whole spices for a couple of minutes, until fragrant.
Add the shallot, garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant and golden.
Add a couple of chilies if you like for a subtle heat.
To give this beautiful golden color, add curry powder and turmeric.
Add the lentils and the water they are soaking in, and fenugreek.
Give a good stir.
Stir in the coconut milk and cauliflower florets and give another good stir.
Cover and let simmer 10 minutes, or until the lentils and cauliflower are tender.
Uncover and cook off some of the liquid, and add a few handfuls of baby spinach.
One little thing I like to do is double the whole spices and ghee, and remove half ( before making the dal) then spoon it over top of the finished dish, using this as the tempering oil.
It adds more flavor but is not imperative.
Sprinkle with cilantro or scallions and serve.
Serve the Cauliflower Dal with naan bread, or rice, or on its own in a bowl, like a stew.
Have a wonderful New Years Eve,
More recipes you may like:
- Indian Shepherd’s Pie
- Emerald Dal
- Comforting Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes
- Our 25 BEST Lentil Recipes!
- Indian Coconut Lentil Curry
- Indian Cauliflower, Chickpea & Tofu Bowls
Golden Cauliflower Dal with Spinach and Coconut
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: vegan, vegetarian
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegetarian
Cauliflower Dal with Coconut and Spinach made with split red lentils and fragrant Indian spices. A healthy comforting, plant-based dinner recipe. Vegan-adaptable. (Inspired by Minimalist Baker)
- 1 cup split red lentils (masoor dal) see notes on “timing”.
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons ghee (or for vegan use coconut oil) ( ***see note at bottom!)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2–3 fat shallots, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated or finely minced (or use ginger paste)
- 2–4 fresh or dried chilies (optional, for heat)
- 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into large florets (about 2 lbs), stems ok.
- couple handfuls baby spinach
- Cover the split lentils with 2 cups boiling water, set aside.
- In an extra-large saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the ghee over medium heat, add the crushed coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and stir for one minute.
- Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and optional chilies, and saute until fragrant and golden, lowering the heat to med-low, if need be, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir in the lentils along with the 2 cups of hot water. Add the salt and fenugreek. Give a good stir.
- Add the coconut milk and stir to incorporate, then add the cauliflower florets, coating them well. Give the pan a shake to allow any lentils to slip back into the liquid. Increase heat, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer gently over med-low heat, until lentils are softened and cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove lid and let some of the liquid cook off, about 3-4 more minutes. Carefully stir in spinach. Taste, adjust seasonings. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.
- Garnish with cilantro or scallions and if you made the extra tempering oil ( see notes), spoon this over top before serving.
- Serve with naan bread or basmati rice, or on its own in a bowl like a stew.
***For extra flavor (as is, this is “gently” spiced) create a tempering oil. Double the ghee and double the whole seeds. After sauteing the seeds in the oil or ghee, spoon half of this into a small bowl and set aside -to drizzle over the finished dish (this is the “tempering oil”) super tasty!
Timing: If your lentils seem extra-large, or your cauliflower florets seem extra small, cook the lentils a few minutes before adding the cauliflower, so the cauliflower doesn’t get overcooked. ****I used tiny lentils and extra-large florets.
You could also, roast off the cauliflower separately (toss with oil, salt and pepper at 400F until tender) and stir into the cooked lentils.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 448
- Sugar: 5.7 g
- Sodium: 668.8 mg
- Fat: 23.1 g
- Saturated Fat: 18.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 49.3 g
- Fiber: 11.1 g
- Protein: 18.6 g
- Cholesterol: 7.6 mg
Keywords: dal recipe, Lentil Dal recipe, curried cauliflower recipe, vegan dal, cauliflower dal, cauliflower lentil recipe
Delicious! The kind of food that makes you feel full in such a good way. Not too heavy. Feels nutritious. And definitely save some of the ghee spice from the beginning for a sprinkling at the end. Chefs kiss! Added more turmeric and curry powder to make it even more flavorful. Excited to eat the leftovers!
Great to hear Janelle!
Just tried this recipe, and it was sooo amazing. My husband and I both couldn’t get enough. Will become a staple in our meal plan!
Great to hear Hima!