Clean Eating: Yellow Split Pea Dal

Anticipation of spring has inspired me to clean up my diet. I'm cutting back on dairy and animal protein and getting the most out of protein rich beans, seeds, and veggies. I've always been a lover of spice and cooking with Indian spices fills my kitchen with warmth and color!

Dal is delicious. Warm and filling comfort food for the lingering winter cold, yet light enough to leave you feeling energized. Top with a squeeze of lemon and fresh cilantro for a taste of sunshine on a cold day.

This dish is an excellent source of protein with yellow split peas and kidney beans. Turmeric has long been used as an anti-inflammatory in both Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Cilantro is a powerful natural cleansing agent helping to remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body.

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Yellow Split Pea Dal (Vegan)

1 Tbs. coconut oil
1 small yellow or red onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat) 
2 finely chopped carrots
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. curry powder *
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup dried yellow split peas
½ cup dried kidney beans (or canned if short on time)
1 lemon, juiced
cilantro leaves for garnish

* Curry powder is a blend of spices with turmeric and coriander at its base. You can make your own by combining turmeric with coriander, cumin, cardamom, and cayenne or paprika if you desire more heat. Add a bit of ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and/or nutmeg according to your taste preferences. I like this blend from Simply Organic.

Okay, let's talk hardware. My clean eating depends largely on the efforts of my rice cooker and pressure cooker. If you are working to incorporate more whole grains and beans into your diet, I highly recommend these tools. They save time and energy. Click here for more information on how to use a pressure cooker.

Dried kidney beans require soaking for several hours or overnight. I cook them in my pressure cooker with water, a pinch of cumin and a little oil for around 15 minutes on high pressure. If you don't have time buy a can of beans, but the texture and flavor are so much better from dried. Drain the cooked or canned kidney beans, rinse the dried yellow split peas. Set the beans aside.

Get your rice cooker going with some long grain basmati rice.

In a pressure cooker or heavy bottom pot, saute onion and jalapeño in coconut oil until soft. Add carrots, garlic and spices. Cook for 1 minute. Add the split peas and 4 cups of water. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 5-8 minutes on high pressure. Let pressure come down naturally. If you are slow cooking, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes. When peas are tender/breaking down, add the cooked or canned kidney beans. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes to thicken to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze ½ lemon into pot and stir.

Ladle dal into shallow bowls alongside basmati rice. Top with another squeeze of lemon and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!