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Lentil Dal with Spinach

Food As Medicine

This dish is packed with flavor and the right amount of heat. Skip dinner at the restaurant and create your own dal at home. Turmeric has been long used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both Chinese and Indian medicine. It also gives the dal that beautiful bright yellow color!


Makes 3 servings

1 cup dry red lentils
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon yellow asafetida* powder (ferula)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups water
fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

* Asafetida is a spice with a strong, onion-like aroma often used in Asian cooking, especially Indian. Look for it in health food stores or in the spice section of larger supermarkets.


Place lentils and water in a large pan. Cook for 25 minutes over medium-high heat, then turn to low. Add spices, lemon juice, spinach, and tomato 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Per serving (1/3 recipe): calories: 257; fat: 2 g; calories from fat: 6.4%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 20 g; carbohydrates: 44.9 g; sugar: 2.8 g; fiber: 15 g; sodium: 1062 mg; calcium: 205 mg; iron: 11.8 mg; vitamin C: 23.3 mg; beta-carotene: 6175 mcg; vitamin E: 3.4 mg

Recipe from Isis Israel, Food for Life Educational Alliance Partner

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Wade

    My wife loves Dal, I will be sure to share this recipe with her.

    • Hello Wade,
      Glad your wife likes these kinds of meals as the health benefits are awesome! I am having much fun trying all kinds of new recipes from around the world. The diversity of cuisine around the world makes meal preparation fun. I got off the typical American diet about 10 years ago and now am always trying new recipes. Variety is the spice of Life.

      • Wade

        Daniel, it has taken my wife years to get me to become more adventurous with my food. I must say that she is a great cook and I enjoy virtually all of her “different” dishes that she makes.

  • Neil

    This does sound delicious. I am for all for treating ailments as naturally as possible. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Hello Neil,
      It is fun to try new recipes. The health benefits are powerful. I don’t mind spending time in the kitchen since I quit eating the typical American diet about 10 years ago.

  • Leslie Lowrens

    Thanks for letting me know about other good recipes!

    • Hello Leslie,
      It is fun to be in the kitchen again. The different cuisines of the world have turned me into an inquisitive cook. I am interested in learning more about helping my body stay healthy as long as possible through healthy foods.

  • Food actually is medicine. In days gone by different foods were all they had to use as medicine. When you were farming 1,000 years ago, and hurt your leg, there was no quick trip to HealthMed two blocks away.

    Tumeric is powerful stuff. It’s not only an anti-inflamatory, it has recently been found useful for fat burning as well. Many of the common medicines we use now have their roots in natural products and food. Willow bark is aspirin, for example.

    • Hello Steve,

      I have tumeric in my spice collection. I did not know tumeric is useful to burn fat.

      The father of medicine used herbs to heal people. Hippocrates did not have prescription medications or the FDA to guide him. I just got a publication today titled: The Aboriginal Herb Guide to Health, Longevity & Rejuvenation by Dr. James Chappell. I will be writing blog posts as I read some of his recommendations.

  • Nature has provided us with foods which are healthy and help us in better living. Some of them are spinach, peas, etc. But be careful not to have anything unclean. Cleanliness is very important and plays a major part in healthy living.

    • Hello Kumar,
      God knew what to provide for us to eat when He created the world.

  • Shane

    It’s just so timely since I’ve been looking for something like this, a recipe that has health benefits, I’ll surely try this one later. Do you still have any recipes similar to this one? Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Shane,
      We can take the time to be healthy or we ultimately will be sick. Here are many healthy recipes on my blog:
      Eat Healthy Meals That Taste Great

  • Mary Beckett

    I am definitely gonna try that recipe out. Looks more like medicine but anyways, just like you said, food is medicine.

    • Hello Mary,
      I am getting the ingredients myself so I can try out the Lentils and Spinach dish. Hope you find more useful information here. I enjoy interacting with people that are also interested in maintaining their health.

  • Syeda Mehwish

    Hi Daniel,
    Thank you very much for sharing a recipe that is good for health. I am always interested in such types of recipes. The ingredients are used on daily basis and the recipe is very simple to make.

    • Hello Syeda,
      Glad you also enjoy fixing healthy meals. My blog has a section of healthy recipes. Please share with other people and we can all make an impact on people’s health!
      Healthy Recipes

  • Healthy life is important for any person because it’s possible that money come back after loss of it but sometimes it doesn’t not possible to get health back after diseases. There are many people suffers from various diseases and they daily eat medicines. If people take healthy foods daily then it’s possible to avoid many diseases and medicines. Thanks for your tips about recipes tips and healthy foods.

    • Hello Brain,
      I have to spend money on my car to keep it on the road. I would not put in fuel that would harm the motor so it is the same principle. If I eat unhealthy foods over time, my body will sicken and I will then have illnesses and be in need of prescription drugs that will cause more toxic waste in my body and the end result is more illness until I die.

  • I would love to try this recipe. We grow our own turmeric so we don’t have to look for it in Asian stores. I think this meal is powered by organic ingredients. Thanks!

    • Hello Amy,
      Turmeric is very good for health. It is amazing how we can give our bodies herbs, spices and foods that help the body stay healthy. God is an excellent provider.

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