All Dal-led Up

I’ve definitely been in a vegetarian mood lately. I’d like to eat less meat, because not only would this contribute to a healthy diet and be less expensive, it’s definitely better for the planet. Did you know that the raising of cows, pigs, and chickens generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined? Cattle ranchers have clear cut millions of acres of forests for grazing pastures, decimating natural “carbon sinks.” I’m not planning to become vegetarian, but I’d like to replace a few meals with meatless mains. 

I’ve found that my favorite meatless mains are frequently Indian, Middle Eastern, and Thai. Probably because those cuisines rely on very aromatic (and therefore, flavorful) spices. The “base” then, often consists of legumes. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in protein, folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble- and insoluble fiber. All of this to say, legumes are beneficial for hearth and bone health, maintaining low blood pressure and glucose, and helping to achieve a healthy weight. 

You’re probably thinking, “Glad it’s healthy, but does it taste good?” Hello, this is speaktomeindelicious. Am I here to clobber you with healthy but gross recipes? You know me better than that. 

My favorite part of this recipe is the oil. So full of flavor! It really jazzes up the whole dish, and you can make it ahead of time (just be sure to store it in the fridge).

  • Mustard Seed and Turmeric Oil:
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 tablespoons mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • Pinch of cayenne pepper
    • Kosher salt
  • Cilantro-Raisin Chutney:
    • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
    • 3 Tbsp. chopped golden raisins
    • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
    • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Stew and assembly:
    • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
    • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
    • 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
    • 1 (3″) piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
    • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained
    • 2 (13.5-oz.) cans unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 1/2 cups split red lentils
    • Store-bought unsweetened toasted coconut flakes, thinly sliced Fresno or serrano chiles, and/or cilantro leaves (for serving; optional)
  • Mustard Seed and Turmeric Oil:
    • Cook oil and mustard seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low, swirling often, until mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from heat and stir in turmeric and cayenne. Season with salt; let cool.
  • Cilantro-Raisin Chutney:
    • Mix shallot, raisins, cilantro stems, lime juice, and oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stew and assembly:
    • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Cook onions and garlic, cut side down, and ginger, stirring onions and ginger occasionally, until onions are translucent and garlic is golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Add curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas and 5 cups 

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