Ginger Sweet Potato Dal with Coconut Leeks

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 2 votes

Ginger sweet potato dal is an easy, high protein and quick weeknight meal that happens to be vegan and gluten-free. Topped with coconut leeks for extra flavour and texture.

An overhead shot of a creamy orange stew with cooked black rice and a wedge of lime to the side. The stew is topped with cooked leeks and photographed in a light green bowl.
An overhead shot of a creamy orange stew with cooked black rice and a wedge of lime to the side. The stew is topped with cooked leeks and photographed in a light green bowl.
A head on shot of a brown bag with sweet potatoes in it.


I’ve been making variations on this recipe forever. Sometimes I change it up with other spices or different types of lentils/pulses, but the core remains as one of my weeknight dinner go-to’s. I love how it checks off all of those crucial boxes: easy, quick, economical, comforting and so, so good for you. I think there’s just the right amount of things to keep it interesting too. The little cubes of sweet potatoes still have a bit of bite. The leeks are sweet and bring that fragrant hit of coconut oil. It’s a vibrant and easy thing to keep us in the light this time of year.

Of course dal is a staple meal in India, where it originates from. Dal simply refers to dried legumes, and also a thick purée made with those legumes. I recommend reading The How and Why of Dal from The New York Times to learn a bit more about this perfectly simple, naturally vegan comfort food.

I have a hunch that a lot of us are thinking about changes and things we want to take on, either over the holiday break or into the new year. I know there will be some major ones in my house. I’m not really a juice fast kinda gal anymore, but my partner and I have both acknowledged that we need to focus-up some of our habits in terms of health and wellbeing. Cue the easy but wholesome recipes! Make this sweet potato dal next time you’re in the mood for just that ;)

An overhead shot of ingredients for a sweet potato dal recipe: fresh turmeric roots, red lentils, sweet potatoes, and spices.
A close up shot of cooked sweet potato dal.
An head-on shot of a creamy orange stew with cooked black rice and a wedge of lime to the side. The stew is topped with cooked leeks and photographed in a light green bowl.

Ginger Sweet Potato Dal with Coconut Leeks

Ginger sweet potato dal is an easy, high protein and quick weeknight meal that happens to be vegan and gluten-free. Topped with coconut leeks for extra flavour and texture.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Dal

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and small diced
  • 1 two-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 one-inch piece fresh turmeric (or substitute 1 tsp dried turmeric powder)
  • cups water, plus extra if necessary
  • sea salt to taste

Coconut Leeks

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green part julienned
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • pinch of salt

To Serve

  • cooked warm rice
  • flatbread
  • chopped parsley, cilantro or mint (or a combination)
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish (incredibly optional)

Notes

  • Every recipe I’ve read for dal tells you to add the salt at a different time (to avoid toughness or the lentils breaking down too soon etc). I add a solid pinch at the beginning when I pour the water and then adjust it at the end to my liking.

Instructions

  • Place a large pot over medium heat. Heat up the coconut oil in the pot and add the ground coriander, mustard seeds and chili flakes. Stir about until the mustard seeds start to pop just a little bit.
  • Add the lentils, diced sweet potato, ginger, turmeric, and a pinch of salt. Stir the whole mixture to combine/coat in oil. Add the filtered water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture is creamy and soupy, stirring occasionally. The sweet potato pieces should still be intact with a tiny bit of bite. The lentils will be broken down, filling out the mixture, about 25 minutes or so. Add more water if you need to. Keep it warm while you sauté the leeks.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan and sauté until leeks are soft and very fragrant. Season with salt. Add a squeeze of lime if you like. Remove from the heat.
  • To serve: divide the hot dal over 4 portions of rice. Top the dal with sautéed leeks and a few dribbles of the coconut oil left in the pan. Garnish each serving with the chopped herbs and black sesame seeds.
An overhead shot of a creamy orange stew with cooked black rice and a wedge of lime to the side. The stew is topped with cooked leeks and photographed in a light green bowl.
11/12/2014 (Last Updated 09/02/2023)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, earthy, gluten free, lentils, main course, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, side dish, soup, spring, summer, sweet potatoes, vegan, winter

105 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Cara

    5 stars
    Just made this for my two kiddos and myself for lunch. SO easy and SO good! Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly. I’m of south Asian descent – this recipe does a great job at including authentic flavors while making the dish “accessible” to those who may not be keen on strong spices in their dishes. I love your site and your recipes… never disappointed!

  • Nita Daw

    I know it’s nearly summer and this is a winter warmer dish. However after reading it, I just couldn’t resist. My gosh, was I in a lovely surprise… this scrumptious meal was easy to cook and most definitely got my taste buds rocking. Perfect for a satvic diet (or any for that matter) and perfect with a side of mango chutney. Just beautiful, thank you ever so much. X

  • Carrie

    A little late on this one but so so good. Love the leeks with this dish. I used a kabocha squash instead of sweet potato and it worked great!

  • Sarah Vermillion

    I’m it’s dahl????

  • Sarah Williams

    I’ve been looking for new recipes as we’re stuck at home during this coronavirus lock down, and this recipe looks amazing. I’m planning to make it tonight. If it turns out half as good as yours looks, I’ll be happy :) Thanks for the share!

  • France hurtubise

    Hello,
    Can I switch water to vegetable broth ?
    Thanks
    France

    • Laura

      Yes, you can substitute water for vegetable broth here!
      -L

  • Luna

    I loved to eat this dish on every Sunday Morning.This dish makes my Sundays special.

  • sarah

    My 9 year old son said – ‘mum, this is hellishly good.’ That’s the best review i’ve ever had for a meal i’ve cooked for him, so i am massively chuffed. Look foward to more successes.

    thanks!
    Sarah

  • Lis

    I love these recipes, however I can’t work out how to print them on one page I keep getting 14 plus pages and its such a waste of ink & paper despite the fact I enjoy reading all the comments. Can someone give me a tip re printing

  • Samm

    Just made this for dinner. I’m in heaven. Just heaven.

  • Amy

    I made this over the weekend for the week and ate it tonight with forbidden rice. In a word? Yummy, Amazing, Fantastic, Heavenly–take your pick! I can’t wait for the other servings and i will definitely be making this again!

  • Gabrielle

    What is served in the bowl alongside of the dal and rice? It looks like cherries, cranberries, walnuts? Whatever it is, it looks delicious!

    • Laura

      Hey Gabrielle,
      I think you might be referring to the actual rice! I use the black rice from lundberg and when it’s cooked up, it looks all glossy and dark like dried fruit almost!
      -L

      • Gabrielle

        Thank you!

  • Renee

    Been wanting to make this for a while now, and just finished my second bowlful. It is. so. good. Followed pretty much verbatim except for my choice in rice; used basmati. Fantastically easy and cheap, it will definitely be in frequent rotation. My almost 4 year old wolfed it down like nobody’s business. Thank you for sharing!

  • Missweb

    can’t stop making this… so good… so, so good. added a can of full fat coconut milk. again, still really good.

  • M

    I’ve made this twice now and it’s phenomenal. So easy to put together and honestly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Thanks so much!

  • Julia

    this is such an awesome cheap, easy & nutritious weeknight meal! making it for the 2nd time tonight. rock on Laura!

  • Jenny Griffith

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG. SO BEAUTIFUL!

    You choose the most beautiful ingredients. Please keep making wonderful recipes. You inspire me.

    -Jenny from Wild Vedic Living

  • jim

    Great recipe again. Just wondering if it’s OK to freeze and how long it would keep?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Jim, you could definitely freeze this. When I freeze soup/stew of any kind, I always aim to eat it within 2-ish months.
      -L

  • Izzy

    Do you have to soak the lentils beforehand??

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Izzy, If you’re using red lentils you don’t need to soak them. A little rinse never hurt, but they cook up so fast that a soak isn’t necessary–definitely one of the reasons I like them so much :)
      -L

  • Brittany

    FYI: you can make this with or without the garam masala. We made it once while looking at the recipe on our tablet (and so it’s not listed on the ingredients list there). And when we made it again I had printed it, and it’s in those instructions.
    Both ways were very tasty!

  • Ava

    This recipe is so perfect for a cold Chicago night. I have to thank you for opening up this former “obligate carnivore” to a world of inspiring and simple vegan dishes. I used the green lentils I had on hand, and tossed the leeks with a little quinoa flour and deglazed the pan with a bit of coconut milk to enhance the coconut flavor. It’s perfectly warming and delicious, thank you!

  • Maggie @ Veg Fiend

    So elegant and simple. Jaw-dropping photography. I am utterly inspired by your blogging!

  • Kimberley

    I am always so smitten with your clever combos. This is my kinda comfort right here.

  • Jaclyn (Cinnamon Street)

    These photos are amazing! Recipe looks right up my ally. YUM.

  • Kim

    Made this a few nights ago – simple and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  • Mahee Ferlini

    This looks colorful and delicious!

  • Austin Bay

    Love this recipe! I need another week night meal to add to my list + the idea of sweet potatoes + coconut oil sounds delicious to me. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Leanne

    this was amazing. i just made it. it is exactly my style of meal. you’re great and i will be back again and again for more of your words and combos. thank you for dinner. :)

  • Sherry

    Laura – what a lovely post (well, as always from you!), and an amazing giveaway too: I can’t resist entering with a comment – my husband and I spent a couple of nights at the Oban Inn last fall for our wedding anniversary and it was so delightful! You’re right about the potential craziness of this time of year, and also about the means for making it all go a bit better: for me it’s taking time to spend with important people – always the right thing to do, but it can still slip by the wayside when the mentality of that “busy” thing takes over. My husband and I hopped the train to visit my family for a couple of days last week, and last night he and I sat down to a film together (first time in a while!) … these small things (or not so small sometimes) can really give us back our perspective, can’t they? Thanks for the wonderful spirit your blog always conveys.

  • TOva

    Reflective…and significantly important…thank you for sharing. I too, am working to improve my self care and I find that keeping it at the forefront, on a daily basis has been instrumental in helping me to staying on track. Although it may sound boring, I choose to take a bath/have a quick shower every evening. While bathing, I always reflect on my day, and remind myself of my goals, focusing on my intentions and behaviours on the past day, and the next. I think about and visualize my next day, and set little goals that help me achieve self care. Some days it’s intentionally planning my menu, or focusing on ensuring I make an exercise class. Having a daily shower/moment of reflection helps me stay focused and intentional.

  • Jillian Christine

    I practice self-care a few different ways. I eat well – smoothies almost every morning. I like to mix it up using various fruits and vegetables. And I like to add turmeric to my smoothies like you do! :) I also do yoga – I find it both relaxing and rewarding. And my favourite – massages! I love pampering myself at the spa with a swedish or hot stone massage!

  • Kris

    Exercise is my go-to self care strategy. It has the amazing benefit of making you feel good in the moment and keeping the stress lower over the long-term. Add to that the occasional glass of wine, lots of veggies every day, lemon water in the mornings, big belly laughs, and 8 hours of sleep on the regular, and it’s a dream life.

  • Kaitlin

    Love Ontario wine country!
    My self care this time of year includes saying no, getting enough sleep, going to yoga and eating the extra cookie.

  • Justyna

    Beautiful recipe, a must-try for me. Practicing self-care involves taking the time each morning to prepare a tasty breakfast and enjoy it while counting my blessings and being eternally grateful for what I have.

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen

    This is such an unbelievably beautiful dish, Laura! Comfort in a bowl without being loaded with fat and sugar. Love it!

  • Marisa Coyne

    I head over my local self-care studio for a sauna. Love the recipe!

  • jodye @ whole pure recipes

    It’s a good thing I have plans to go to an Indian restaurant tonight, because I am seriously craving these flavors! The photos are beautiful but, I’m sure, don’t even do justice to how wonderful this dish must be!

  • mar

    I will make myself a cup of organic hot chocolate and spices :) i’ll try this recipe sounds delicious

  • Laura

    I get some fresh air….snow shoeing, hiking, etc. :)

  • Yemie

    I practice self care, with my yoga practice. Pranayama, Aasana, and then Meditation. This balance my body and mind and soul.

  • Bonnie

    Christmas self care – watching a classic movie (or two or three)….

  • Craig Green

    Self care over the holidays involves running outdoors- fresh air and some daylight always raises spirits! Love the recipe!

  • Cristina

    Beautiful recipe.
    When in feeling super indulgent I take a bath with a bath bomb from Lush.

  • Siren

    Why must you tempt me with the chance of winning fancy lady time? If only Boston were in Canada. My favorite thing to relax with this season is making paper. I collect flowers and leaves over the fall to make them into greeting cards. I love the feeling turning what would be trash into something beautiful.
    The dal looks amazing though. I love the contrast between the dark purple rice and the sunshiny lentils. I’m so making that tonight for dinner.

  • jennifer

    The sauteed leeks are brilliant!

  • Suzan

    On days when I would like to relax, I practice self-care by creating my own home spa at the end of the day (facials, manicures, meditative music, etc.).

  • Sheila Lavell

    My self care routine now includes your Green Drink. I find if I know i have a busy, stressful calendar I have the ingredients in the house to do a wonderful favour for myself. It energizes me and reminds me that I need to take care of myself. As a proud Niagara native too I love your wine country give away and enjoy seeing all your well deserved success.

  • Erica B

    exercise!