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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Sweet Potato Dahl

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Ready in just one hour, sweet potato dahl is a fast and easy one-pot meal perfect for lunch or dinner! This dahl is made with with warm Indian spices, kale, sweet potatoes, and yellow split peas. It also happens to be vegan, gluten-free, and full of delicious flavors!

Easy sweet potato dahl served in a bowl, garnished with cilantro.

Dahl (or dal / daal) is a staple in Indian cuisine, and has always been a favorite dish of mine! There’s something about the warmth of the spices that’s so comforting to me, making this delicious meal a go-to any time of year.

For this sweet potato dahl recipe, I wanted to transform traditional dahl, which is simply lentils cooked with spices, and make it a bit heartier. This veggie dahl combines lentils and sweet potatoes with kale, onion, garlic, and ginger for a wholesome, flavorful meal the whole family can enjoy.

This simple recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you are short on time but crave nourishing comfort food. You can also make it ahead of time to meal prep for lunches or when hosting a dinner party.

If you prefer smooth soups with Indian flavor, give this curried cauliflower soup a try!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love Sweet Potato Dahl

  • Customizable: ​​You can modify the spice level to make it richer or more bland depending on your preference. I like my dishes to pack a punch, so I added a heavy dose of Indian spices.
  • Nutrient Rich: Thanks to the veggies and split peas, this sweet potato kale dahl is loaded with plant-based protein and fiber! It is a filling, hearty meal that is both healthy and tasty.
  • Easy To Make: This sweet potato dal recipe is fairly easy to make with just a few steps and 15 minutes of prep! It is bound to be one of your new favorite recipes to add to weekly meal plans.
  • Kid-Friendly: The creamy texture of the sweet potatoes and tenderness of the lentils make this a winning dish for kids! If your children don’t like spice, you can omit the cayenne.

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

Find everything you need at the local grocery store or Indian store! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for detailed instructions and nutritional information.

Ingredients for sweet potato dahl recipe on a white background.
  • Vegetables: This healthy sweet potato dahl combines chopped onion, sweet potato, and kale into a hearty, nourishing dish.
  • Spices: You’ll use aromatic Indian spices like cumin seeds, ground cumin, black mustard seeds, curry powder, salt, and cayenne pepper!
  • Olive Oil: Use olive oil to saute the veggies and infuse the spice flavors.
  • Fresh Ginger & Garlic: A fragrant blend of minced ginger and minced garlic cloves take this dish to the next level.
  • Yellow Split Peas: The main ingredient and star of this recipe, yellow split peas (or chana dal) are a must!

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Vegetables: Feel free to switch up the veggies or add in your favorites! Butternut squash, pumpkin, corn, carrots, green chili, or fresh tomatoes would all work well in this dahl. You can use yellow onion if you don’t have red onion on hand.
  • Spices: Play around with the spices, using garam masala, ground coriander, black pepper, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, or dash of red curry paste. You can even use some fresh coriander, curry leaves, or spring onions in place of the ginger and garlic.
  • Oil: Use avocado oil or coconut oil in place of the olive oil, if preferred.
  • Lentils: Feel free to substitute any type of lentil in this dahl, like red lentils or green lentils. You can also use chickpeas or black eyed peas if you wish. Cooking time will vary depending on what you choose!

🔪 How To Make Sweet Potato Dahl

Even if this is your first time making dahl, the process is sure to be easy and smooth! Here is how to make vegan sweet potato dahl:

Prep Ingredients: Wash the yellow split peas thoroughly, and chop up the onions and sweet potatoes into small pieces.

Saute Spices: Heat a large pot (or large saucepan) over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Pour the cumin seeds and mustard seeds into the oil. Let them cook for a few seconds until they start to pop. As soon as they begin to pop, add the finely minced cloves of garlic and ginger, onions, and cumin powder. Cook for a few minutes. 

Onions and spices sauteeing in a pot on the stove.

Add Rest Of Ingredients: Add the sweet potatoes, water, split peas, and 2 Tbsp curry powder. Stir well.

Lentils, sweet potatoes, onions and spices added to a large pot on the stove.

Cook: If using a pressure cooker, seal the cooker and bring it up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes; then remove from the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. If you’re cooking it in a regular pot, cover the large pot and bring to a gentle simmer until the split peas are tender and beginning to break down, about an hour. Stir regularly to make sure that the split peas don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and add a little water if necessary.

Sweet potato dahl cooking in a pot on the stove.

Add Kale & More Spices: While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib. Chop the leaves coarsely. When the split peas are cooked, add the kale to the pot. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and additional 2 Tbsp curry powder (use less spice if you don’t like things too spicy). Add additional water if the soup is too thick. Cover the pot.

Kale added to pot with lentils and sweet potatoes on the stove.

Serve: Serve warm, with brown rice, naan, whole wheat tortillas, or on its own!

Kale added to dal with sweet potatoes in a pot on the stove.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Cooking Methods: Whether you make this lentil and sweet potato dahl on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker, the results will be similar. Use whichever method works best for you. 
  • For Young Kids: Omit the cayenne and reduce the other spices to make the dahl more palatable for little ones.
  • Extra Flavor: While this is already super flavorful, you can use vegetable stock or vegetable broth instead of water to enhance the taste even more!
  • Add Kale Last: Don’t add the kale until the end of the cooking process to avoid overcooking it into a mushy texture.
    • For kale that retains some crunch, leave the pot covered for 5 or 10 minutes without heating, allowing the kale to cook in the heat of the soup.
    • For kale that is more tender, you may return the pot to low heat for 10 minutes.

📖 Variations 

  • Roasted Sweet Potato Dahl: Dice the sweet potatoes and spread them out onto a large roasting tray. Bake at 400 F until soft and lightly browned. Add the roasted sweet potato cubes to the dahl and continue with the rest of the steps!
  • Spinach Lentil Dahl: Swap the kale for baby spinach in this vegan dal recipe! It tastes very similar with a bit of a softer texture that some might prefer.
  • Make It Creamy: Give this vegan dahl recipe a creamy twist by adding a can of coconut milk (whole or light coconut milk works), swapping out some of the water.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

The traditional way to serve dahl is with a scoop of rice or naan bread. I suggest serving it with brown rice to increase the nutritional value, as well as looking for whole wheat naan or a whole wheat tortilla if you choose to go with that option. However, white basmati rice is super delicious too!

This easy sweet potato dahl is a complete meal all on its own, but can be served with different toppings or alongside your favorite dishes:

  • Toppings: Add a drizzle of coconut chutney, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a dash of lime juice, red chili flakes, or fresh cilantro on top of the sweet potato dal.
  • With Veggie Dishes: While dal with kale and sweet potatoes is already very veggie-forward, I still love adding more on the side! Try it out with Indian cabbage with peas or other Indian vegetables
  • With Sides: I love to enjoy a side dish of this healthy Indian fried rice with the dahl! Or try it with traditional Indian samosas which have a curried vegetable filling.

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This plant based dahl with sweet potatoes already meets many dietary needs. It is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free without lacking any flavor! If you want to skip the oil, you can use butter or coconut butter depending on your diet!

🫙 Storage Directions

Here is how to store and keep this sweet potato and lentil dahl:

  • Refrigerating: Allow leftovers to cool before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for 4-5 days.
  • Freezing: You can also freeze this sweet potato dahl soup, using freezer-safe airtight containers. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  • Reheating: When ready to reheat next time, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, bring the lentil soup to a simmer in a large pan. Serve and enjoy!

❓Recipe FAQs

CAN YOU EAT DAHL ON ITS OWN?

Absolutely! Dahl is a hearty dish that can be enjoyed either on its own or with sides. I personally recommend pairing with some whole wheat naan or roti, but that’s really all you need! With protein-rich lentils or split peas, it is super filling and satisfying! Plus, this dahl is loaded with fiber from veggies, keeping you full for hours.

HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN DAHL?

Every dahl recipe will vary a bit, but this gluten free sweet potato dahl has 311 calories per serving! This is relatively low for a main course option so you might find it suitable for a low-calorie diet.

DO YOU NEED TO RINSE LENTILS BEFORE COOKING?

It is best to rinse the lentils before cooking to wash away dust and debris. Most importantly, you want to pick through the lentils to remove any larger debris like small stones. This would not be ideal to bite into!

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE DAHL IS COOKED?

The dahl will be ready once the veggies are soft and the lentils are tender. You can try a bite to test it out! Just be sure to let it cool so you do not burn your mouth!

WHAT ARE THE BEST LENTILS TO USE FOR DAHL?

I like to use yellow split peas, but you can also make this as a sweet potato and red lentil dahl! Green lentils can also be used for a slightly firmer consistency to the lentils. Keep in mind that the cook time will vary with each lentil, so monitor your dahl as it simmers.

HOW DO I PREVENT MY DAHL FROM BECOMING TO THICK OR TOOK THIN?

Keep an eye on the dahl as it cooks, ensuring that there is enough liquid! If it becomes too thick, add in some water to lighten it up. If it is too thin, try adding in additional veggies or using an immersion blender to partially blend some of the soup. This will naturally thicken the consistency.

Sweet potato dahl served in a bowl, garnished with cilantro.

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/OGNUYzhKOyE
Easy sweet potato dahl served in a bowl, garnished with cilantro.
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Sweet Potato Dahl

Ready in just one hour, sweet potato dahl is a fast and easy one-pot meal perfect for lunch or dinner! This dahl is made with with warm Indian spices, kale, sweet potatoes, and yellow split peas. It also happens to be vegan, gluten-free, and full of delicious flavors!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Vegan
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 311kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 2 red onions chopped
  • tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups dried yellow split peas picked over and rinsed (this is chana dal in the Indian store)
  • 3-4 tbsp curry powder or less/more to taste
  • 2 tsp salt more or less to taste
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped about 4-6 cups chopped
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Instructions

  • Wash the yellow split peas thoroughly, and chop up the onions and sweet potatoes
  • Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add in the canola oil. Pour the cumin seeds and mustard seeds into the oil, let them cook for a few seconds until they start to pop. As soon as they begin to pop, add the onions, ginger, garlic and cumin powder, cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, water, split peas, and 2 Tbsp curry powder. Stir well.
  • If using an Instant Pot, seal the Instant Pot and bring it up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes; then natural release. If you’re cooking it in a regular pot, cover the pot and simmer until the split peas are tender and beginning to break down, about an hour. Stir regularly to make sure that the split peas don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and add water if necessary.
  • While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib. Chop the leaves coarsely.
  • When the split peas are cooked, add the kale to the pot. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and additional 2 Tbsp curry powder (use less spice if you don’t like things too spicy) and add additional water if the soup is too thick. Cover the pot. For kale that retains some crunch, simply leave the pot covered for 5 or 10 minutes without heating, allowing the kale to cook in the heat of the soup. For kale that is more tender, you may return the pot to low heat for 10 minutes.

Notes

  • Feel free to substitute any type of lentil in this dahl. You can also use chickpeas or black eyed peas if you wish. Keep in mind when you make changes, the nutritional information and flavors may change as well. 
  • Whether you make the sweet potato dahl on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker, the results will be similar. Use whichever method works best for you. 
  • For young kids, omit the cayenne and reduce the other spices to make it more palatable.
  • Don’t add the kale until the end of the cooking process. It can turn from a bright vibrant green color to a dark green color if cooked too long. 
  • Feel free to switch up the veggies or add in your favorites! Butternut squash, pumpkin, corn, carrots or baby spinach would all work well in this dahl.
Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 54.5g | Protein: 17.1g | Fat: 5.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 619mg | Potassium: 251.7mg | Fiber: 11.6g | Sugar: 9.9g

48 responses to “Sweet Potato Dahl”

  1. Loved this recipe. I always order dahl at my favorite Indian restaurant and this definitely rivals that! Thank you!5 stars

  2. This was so hearty, tasty, and nourishing! Thanks for the lovely recipe. Will definitely make it again.5 stars

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