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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 with Kale

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Comforting and delicious, this Sweet Potato Dahl is a fast and easy meal. Perfect for lunch or dinner, this dahl is filled with warm Indian spices, kale, sweet potatoes, and yellow split peas. It’s vegan, gluten-free, hearty, healthy, and nutrient rich!

sweet potato dahl with kale served in a white bowl

Dahl is pretty much a staple in Indian cuisine.

I literally ate dahl (lentils) & sabji (vegetables cooked with Indian spices) for dinner almost every single day when I was growing up.

Somehow I didn’t get tired of it – I think there’s something about the warmth and spice of Indian cuisine that’s comforting to me – something familiar that I can always come back to.

But, I do like mixing things up once in awhile. Usually, dahl is just lentils cooked with spices. You don’t add things to it (like sweet potatoes or kale) – that’ll seem odd to most traditional Indian cooks. But I have to tell you, this recipe is delicious, and it’s a one-pot meal.

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. However, if that’s not for you, there are notes in the recipe card so that you can modify.

This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights, We love to sit down with a huge helping of this Dahl with sweet potatoes for dinner. It’s basically soul food and is so flavorful, and the texture is amazing. There is no wrong occasion to make this sweet potato dahl. It’s great for busy weeknight meals or when you are hosting friends for a tasty dinner or make ahead lunch option. 

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Recipe Ingredients & Notes

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Wash the yellow split peas thoroughly, and chop up the onions and sweet potatoes. Heat a large pot 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 onions, ginger, garlic and cumin powder, cook for a few minutes.

onions and spices sauteeing in a pot

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

sweet potatoes added to stock pot

Step 3: 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 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.

Step 4: 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.

kale added to stock pot

Note: 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.

Step 5: Serve warm, with brown rice, whole wheat naan or whole wheat tortillas, or all on its own!

sweet potato dahl with kale, served in a white bowl

What Makes This Sweet Potato Dahl Healthy?

  • High in Protein: With 17 grams of plant protein per serving, this dish will keep you full and satisfied!
  • High in Fiber: With almost 12 grams of fiber per serving you’ll get your daily recommended fiber intake in this one dish! Fiber helps aid in digestion, and keeps you feeling fuller longer!
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: There is an overwhelming amount of vitamins and minerals in this dahl — vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese to name a few!

Will Kids Enjoy This Homemade Sweet Potato Dahl?

Yes, I have found that kids typically go devour this sweet potato dahl. If your children don’t like spice, or this is the first time you’re introducing it to them, I’d recommend omitting the cayenne and cutting back on the other spices, separating out their portion, and then adding the spices to the adult portions when you’re ready to serve.

For super picky kids, you can omit most of the spices (except salt) altogether, and puree the dal so that the veggies are “hidden” amidst the lentils.

sweet potato dahl with kale, served in a white bowl

Recipe FAQs

What is dahl? 

It’s basically stewed/cooked lentils or split peas, but there are so many different kinds of Indian lentils & beans: Moong, Toor, Green Lentils, Chana, etc. that you can get pretty creative with your dahl recipes.

Dahl (or dal) is common in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It’s popular because it is high in nutritional value, yet very inexpensive to make. With the added warm spices it’s super flavorful. Traditionally served with rice or naan, it’s a healthy, hearty meal!

How can I make this dahl spicier?

If you love to add heat to your meals, then you can easily make a few adjustments and additions to make it spicier. I recommend adding more cayenne pepper to taste. It packs a lot of heat, so don’t go too wild at first. Another option is to add in some serrano pepper or some Indian green chiles. 

I don’t have yellow split peas. What can I use instead?

If you don’t have yellow split peas you can use a variety of other types of lentils. I have found that red lentils are an easy replacement and taste fabulous as well. You could also use yellow lentils with a similar outcome. Depending on the lentils you use, cook time may vary.

How to Serve Sweet Potato Dahl

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.

It’s a complete meal all on its own, but if you’re looking to serve it alongside another dish, I suggest a light garden salad, or steamed vegetables. 

How to Store and Keep

Allow leftovers to cool before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for 4-5 days.

You can also freeze this sweet potato dahl, by transferring it to an airtight freezer safe container, after you allow it to cool. Remove any excess air. Label with contents and date. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.

When ready to reheat, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. They bring to a simmer on the stove. Serve and enjoy! 

sweet potato dahl with kale, served in a white bowl

Top Tips For Making Sweet Potato Dahl

  • 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.

Check Out These Other Delicious Indian Recipes!

sweet potato dahl with kale, served in a white bowl

If you have tried this Sweet Potato Dahl or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

sweet potato dahl with kale, served in a white bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Sweet Potato Dahl with Kale

Comforting and delicious, this Sweet Potato Dahl is a fast and easy meal. Perfect for lunch or dinner, this dahl is filled with warm Indian spices, kale, sweet potatoes, and yellow split peas. It’s vegan, gluten-free, hearty, healthy, and nutrient rich!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Vegan
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
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped about 4-6 cups chopped

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

Top Tips For Making Sweet Potato Dahl
  • 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

Posted In…

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38 responses to “Sweet Potato Dahl with Kale”

  1. Hello Anjali,
    I am wanting to cook Indian food at home, but it never seems to have the same heat and spiciness that Indian cooks get. I am wondering 1) what do you mean by curry powder? surely not that pale yellow bland stuff that is sold in supermarkets as curry powder? 2) I have some small garbanzos that I got at Rainbow grocery that are supposedly channa. These seem to be different than split yellow peas. If I can’t find split yellow peas, should I use these or a red lentil instead? Also, 3) when a recipe calls for a hot green pepper, should I use serrano? jalapeno? or is there a traditional indian green pepper that I should look for?
    Thank you for your wonderful blog!
    Beth

    • Hi Beth! Thank you so much for these great questions! 🙂 So to answer your questions: 1) Actually yes – I do mean “curry powder” – yellowish, sold as a spice in most supermarkets. However – you have to get really good quality curry powder to get the depth and spiciness – most chain grocery stores won’t have a good quality curry powder. I’d recommend Trader Joe’s curry powder, or Spicely (which you can find online and at most Whole Foods stores). I promise, the good quality versions taste great! 2) I’m not sure about the small garbanzos, but yes you can basically use any lentil in place of these yellow split peas (which are also sold as Chana Dal in Indian grocery stores). 3) I would use a serrano pepper – or at the Indian grocery store you can find Indian green chiles – which are perfect. You can also use cayenne pepper as a substitute – it won’t have the exact flavor but it will be close. Hope this all helps – let me know how this recipe turns out for you!

      • Hi Anjali,
        Just wanted to let you know that this dal has become a staple in our house. We tried the Trader Joe’s curry powder, but it had cinnamon and nutmeg, and seemed too sweet to us. Then we tried the Spicely and it was fantastic! We omitted the cayenne – the Spicely is hot enough. Thank you so much!

      • Yaayy!! I’m so happy to hear that Beth! Spicely curry powder is also one of my fav brands – and makes sense about the cayenne too – it’s important to adjust all Indian recipes to your own spice preferences 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Wow! That was delicious…and I’d be hard pressed to find a healthier combination of ingredients. I made 2/3 of the recipe and we had a enough for a couple meals. Eight minutes is perfect for the pressure cooker; the sweet potatoes were soft and the chana were still intact. Thanks!

    • Yaaay! That is so great Tim! I’m so happy to hear that. And yes – using the pressure cooker cuts down on the cutting time immensely. I love eating this dal as leftovers – you are right that this recipe makes more than enough for that!

  3. I made this tonight for dinner and it was great! Mine came out a little thinner than yours so I would say to cut back the water to 7 cups if you are making this in a pressure cooker. You weren’t kidding about the big serving size- it was 2 cups per serving! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Ohhh yeah – in a pressure cooker I would imagine that you would need less water. I’m not brave enough to use a pressure cooker yet 🙂 So glad you liked this recipe!!

  4. Hi!
    I cooked it yesterday and today we are going to try it! I just added tomatoes because I wanted to give a mediteranean taste.
    Thank you for the nice recipies!!

    • Woohoo! How did you like it?? Love the addition of the tomatoes – I’m sure that made it taste even better!

  5. I tried this last night! Amazing!! I made two batches and in the second one I added a couple fresh tomatoes! Both were delicious! This might have to become my go to dinner!

    • Aww yay!! I am so glad to hear that Nisha! And the addition of the tomatoes sounds absolutely perfect – I’ll be doing that next time for sure!

    • Woohoo!! That’s why I love this dish so much – one-pot meals are so convenient and healthy, they’re the best!

  6. This looks so good that I think I will make it and Indian for dinner tomorrow night! I need some Berkley Bowl in my life! I am coming out hte last weekend in April and would love to get together! Let me know if you are around!
    🙂

    • I am totally around the last week of April!!! I would LOVE to see you 🙂 Once you finalize the dates of your trip just let me know – can’t wait til you’re here!!

  7. I am so excited to make this. My boyfriend’s (he’s Indian and i’m not) mother has “taught” me how to make daal a few times by having me help her, but i’m just too afraid to do it without a recipe! This seems like an awesome healthy twist on what she does. Thanks!

    • Haha! Omg I totally know what you mean – my dad tried to “teach” me to how to make dal a bunch of times, but I could never make it on my own until I got the exact proportions / measurements of the spices from him – so I completely understand! I’m sure you’ll both love this recipe when you make it 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!

  8. This looks amazing. I’m assuming that I can subsitute red lentils for the yellow split peas. I have those in my pantry.

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