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Sweet Potato Dal-a comforting Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful "tempering oil". A 30 minute vegetarian meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegan adaptable! #lentils #dal #lentildal #sweetpotatodal #sweetpotatoes #vegan #glutenfree

Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes

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Soulful, Comforting Red Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful “tempering oil”. A quick 30 minute meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegan! See notes about roasting the sweet potato vs. cooking it with the dal.


Units Scale
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 cup red lentils (split lentils)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon grated (or minced) fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or substitute ground cumin)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 13 fresh chilies- serrano chili pepper, (or jalapeño) slit down the side vertically (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala Spice
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves ( optional, but tasty)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (or one 14-ounce can diced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium sweet potato or yam, diced into 3/4 inch cubes, skins OK (other veggies include cauliflower, green peas, spinach, kale, carrots, etc) SEE NOTES.
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves or chopped scallions for garnish
  • Toasted Flaked coconut- optional

Tempering oil – highly recommended!!!


  1. Rinse lentils and soak in 3 cups hot water in a bowl.
  2. In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat ghee over medium heat.
  3. Add whole seeds- cumin, fennel mustard seeds and saute until they begin to sizzle.
  4. Add onion, saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring, then add ginger and garlic, and saute until tender and golden, about 5 minutes.  Add fenugreek, bay leaves, garam masala, fresh chilies, tomatoes and salt. Saute 3-4 minutes until they start breaking down.  Add the sweet potatoes (***if roasting, add these at the end, see notes) lentils and hot water, along with honey.
  5. Give a stir, bring to boil, cover, and turn heat down, and let gently simmer, about 10-15 minutes, or until lentils are tender. After 15 minutes, uncover and check consistency, If watery, continue to simmer uncovered until it reduces and becomes thicker.
  6. Adjust salt, adding more to your taste, keeping in mind you want this to be slightly salty if serving over rice.
  7. Make the tempering oil to drizzle over top:  heat oil or ghee over medium-high heat, add seeds and curry leaves and swirl or stir until you hear popping about 30- 45 seconds. Turn heat off. Spoon it over the dal, after plating it up.
  8. Serve with toasted naan bread, or basmati rice, garnishing with cilantro and flaked coconut.


  1.  I really like ROASTING the sweet potato – which gives this a better texture in my opinion. But to save time here, I added the sweet potato directly with the lentils to cook. Up to you! If roasting, do this first- toss the cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast on a parchment-lined sheet pan at 400F until tender, about 20 minutes, while you cook the dal on the stovetop. Spoon it in after the dal is cooked.
  2. To add more richness, without adding ghee, you could also add a little coconut milk.


  • Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
  • Calories: 355
  • Sugar: 5.1 g
  • Sodium: 470 mg
  • Fat: 14.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45.7 g
  • Fiber: 8.2 g
  • Protein: 13.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg