If you haven’t tried cooking lentils before, you have got try them! Red lentils are amazingly easy to work with, cook super fast, and are really yummy. If you’re looking for a plant-centric, fast, and flavorful dinner, then try out my red lentil dal with pumpkin and ginger! This is a perfectly cozy dish to have on a cold winter night. It’s a variation of the classic Indian lentil dal, with lots of fresh ginger and roasted pumpkin puree. These lentils that are super tasty, but also super healthy. I’d say that’s a win-win.
Red lentils cook up in only about 20 minutes, so you can have my red lentil dal on the table within 30 minutes, making it a lifesaver for those busy weeknights. And if you’re not vegan or have multiple dietary needs in your family, pan seared scallops are a great addition on top.
Try serving the red lentil dal over quinoa – I used red quinoa here, which is a bit chewier and nuttier tasting than white quinoa. You could also use rice or cauliflower rice. I really am a fan of quinoa though, because it is a complete protein (has every amino acid), it’s not processed/refined (like white rice), and is just all around really good for you! It has lots of important minerals, antioxidants, protein, is naturally gluten free, and is low-glycemic.
I made my own pumpkin puree by roasting a large pumpkin at 400 F for about 1 hour until very tender. To make this recipe quickly, either roast the pumpkin or squash ahead of time or use canned puree. I literally had a pumpkin sitting in my dining room from Halloween that I was using as a decoration. I roasted that baby up and it was still good! LOL!
I am all about avoiding refined foods, eating very plant-centric, and cooking healthy meals because health is everything and what you eat directly translates to how healthy you are. So join me and keep it clean (as in clean food) and keep it healthy this year! I hope to bring you lots of ideas and inspiration to make it easy and fun.
Red lentil dal is one of those meals that ticks all those boxes – its is easy to make and can be varied in many ways. I hope you enjoy this recipe and here’s to everyone sticking to their healthy goals for the year! I’m here for you!
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Red Lentil Dal with pumpkin & ginger
Author: Leah Romay
Makes about 6 servings
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 T ginger root, minced fine
- 4 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 1.5 t sea salt
- 2 t turmeric
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 4 cups pumpkin puree
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 cups red quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 5 sea scallops (per serving), optional
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the salt, turmeric, and some freshly ground black pepper.
Add in the lentils and stir well to combine, then add the pumpkin and the broth. Stir to combine all.
- Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cover the pot with a lid.
- Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa by combining the quinoa with the water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until the water is absorbed by the quinoa.
- When the lentils are finished cooking, stir in the coconut milk and adjust any seasonings if needed.
- If adding scallops to the dish, rinse and dry the scallops, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to coat the pan.
- Sear the scallops on one side, leaving them for about 3 minutes. The scallops will easily release from the pan once they have been cooked enough. If they are sticking, then wait a little longer. Cook on the other side another 2-3 mins and then remove from the heat.
- To serve, place quinoa in a bowl and top with lentils.
- Serve the scallops on top, if using.