There is something wonderfully comforting about coming home to a warm meal ready to eat without any effort, even if you did in fact make it yourself. No matter what kind of day you had, you can right the wagon when you come home to a crock pot simmering with this warming soup. The spicy aroma seeps out of the cracks of your house, and gives you a warm and welcoming hug before you even walk in the door. I like to put together a crockpot meal the night before the day in my week that most needs fixing. For me, that is Monday. I come home, fling open the door and say “honey, I’m home” and then singsong back to myself in reply, “supper’s ready!” This is a healthy, low fat, plant strong meal. It qualifies for all sorts of healthy eating buzz words: vegetarian, Meatless Monday, vegan, slow carb, plant strong and nutritarian.
- 3 cups of red lentils, inspected on a white plate or platter, debris removed.
- 8 cups of water—really, it’s a soup that does not at all require stock!
- 1 onion, finely chopped.
- 2-3 carrots, grated.
- 1 cup of tomatoes, canned or fresh, chopped.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
- 2 Thai chilies, minced. I used dried Thai Dragon chilies from my garden. Something similar is easily available at the grocery store.
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or ¼ cup grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, toasted in a pan on the stove until popping
Optional additions – 1-14 ounce can of coconut milk –totally optional, gives the soup some creamy body, and the spices a place to hang since there is no other added fat included but the soup is lower fat and still wonderfully flavorful without it.
Inspect lentils, chop onion, garlic, fresh ginger (if using) and Thai Chilies and add to liner of your crock pot. Toast mustard seeds and add them along with all other seasonings to the liner of your crock. When you are ready to start the crock, add 8 cups of water and tomatoes. Stir, and cook on low for 6 hours, then stir in coconut milk, if using, and return Dal to a simmer. If you are a Midwesterner, exclaim as Bjorn jokingly did, “its good, Dal garnit!”
Serve warm with Greek yogurt or sour cream to garnish, and warm Naan or Basmati rice on the side.