This simple vegan two lentil Dahl requires only easy-to-find ingredients and little more than a few chops and several stirs to make. It's the perfect protein-rich meal to prepare on a Sunday and enjoy throughout the week, and it can easily be doubled or even tripled and then frozen.
This time of year—the dreaded "fall back"—always makes me a little bit nervous. If you've read the intro to my cookbook, then you know I consider myself to be a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) warrior.
For me, the seasonal shift manifests as anxiety rather than depression, but I've generally kept it well-managed with a combination of diet, exercise, and meditation.
What you probably don't know is that I had a resurgence of icky SAD anxiety postpartum. Only it didn't go away when the springtime came. It lingered, and lingered, and lingered. And you know what, I've got it under control now and it's still lingering.
But instead of pushing it away, instead of resisting it like I was in the beginning, I've surrendered to it. Not in a defeatist way, but in a peaceful way.
The funny thing about anxiety? It's the resisting of it, the trying to make it go away that strengthens it and allows it to persist. The more I argue with my anxiety, the more I try to rationalize why I actually have nothing to worry about, the more persistent and engrained it becomes. The more deeply it creeps into my mind.
It's in the acceptance of it, the humoring of it, that a sense of peace can be found. How counterintuitive, right?
I recently read a post that Angela Liddon shared in which she said, "there's no shame in struggling with the things you may have thought you'd beaten," and my goodness did that resonate. During the first few months postpartum, I really beat myself up. I felt ashamed to admit I was struggling with this thing I'd associated with a former version of myself.
But then I realized how silly that was. Anxiety, love it or hate it, will always be a part of me. In fact, it's part of what makes me who I am. It might not always be at the forefront of my mind, the most perceptible part of me (sheesh, let's hope not), but it will always be there is some way, shape, or form. It's not something to make go away but something to make peace with.
And while this lentil dahl has nothing really to do with anxiety, I find it to be incredibly comforting this time of year. It wafts the most glorious scent as it simmers, and it's incredibly satisfying to eat. Packed with protein, fiber, and flavor.
Also, I have yet to buy an Instant Pot (even though many of you have been begging me—I promise I will as soon as we're in a more permanent living situation), but I have a hunch this would make an excellent Instant Pot meal. And you could probably cut the simmer time in half by using one. If you try it, will you let me know how it works out? I'd love to add tips and tricks into the recipe notes for others who might want to give it a go!
Vegan Two Lentil Dahl
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 8 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 6 cups filtered water
- 1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
- 1 cup split red lentils*, sorted and rinsed
- 1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and roughly chopped
- Heat the coconut oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the scallions and onion, and cook for 7 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, and sea salt, and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, or until beginning to brown and caramelize.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes and water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
- Add the lentils, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so to break down the lentils.
- Taste and season with more salt and cayenne pepper, if desired.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro.
- Serve over warm basmati rice, if desired.