Simple Dal

Simple Dal

This simple dal is surprisingly tasty. It’s quick. It’s tridoṣic. It’s one of my favorites.


1 tsp olive oil (can replace with ¼ c. white wine if you are on a low-oil diet)

1 medium-large onion, diced

1 TBSP finely chopped, fresh ginger

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or bottled

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp coriander powder (or freshly ground seeds)

1 TBSP maple syrup

1.5 cups washed, hulled mung dal (or 2 cups red lentils, if you don’t have mung dal)

6-8 cups water

2 cups washed, chopped greens (kale, spinach, chard, collards)

2-3 TBSP miso

Chopped cilantro & grated coconut for garnish


Sauté the onion, cumin, mustard seeds, ginger in the oil or simmer them in the wine, on low heat until the onions are translucent. Add the fenugreek seeds and sauté for maybe a bit under a minute, stirring constantly, lest the fenugreek seeds get bitter–as they are wont to do if they are sautéd for too long. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, and maple syrup and simmer 5 minutes on low heat. Add the dal and water and cook until beans are soft. Add the greens and cook until they are done. Turn off the heat. In a half cup cool water, dissolve the miso and then add and stir it into the dal. Once the miso has been added, it is best not to bring the dal to a boil or simmer, in order to preserve the beneficial aspects of the miso. Also, miso that has been aged at least 6 months has been shown to have stronger health-bestowing effects (protection against radiation injury, strokes and many kinds of cancers) than miso that has been aged less time, and there are indications that –unlike salt–miso does not aggravate hypertension.[i]

This recipe is well tolerated by all doṣas. The greens, maple syrup, cilantro, and coconut balance the tomato that might otherwise aggravate Pitta.

[i] J Toxicol Pathol. 2013 Jun; 26(2): 91–103. Published online 2013 Jul 10. doi: 10.1293/tox.26.91


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