I’ve been making 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 (I love drizzling a bit of the extra oil from cooking on top as well). Some juicy lime and a couple hits of something hot keep it all in balance. It’s a vibrant and easy thing to keep us in the light this time of year.
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, all of which you’ll probably hear about in good time. I’m not really a juice fast kinda gal anymore, but my man and I have both acknowledged that we need to focus-up some of our tendencies in terms of health and self-care. We do eat well, but sometimes I just worry that we need to be a bit more intentional and selective with our choices. Protein-heavy bowls of food like this one definitely help. I’m going to turn 30 this winter and with that, there’s a lot of considerations coming into the circle nutrition-wise. I’m excited to explore those things and work some of them out here in this space.
So in the arc of self-care and intentional choice-making (and spreading holiday cheer!), I’m partnering up with the generous folks at Wine Country Ontario for a giveaway. I’m a passionate supporter of Ontario wine–I grew up in the birthplace of Canada’s wine industry after all. I’ve worked in farm to table joints and a few winery restaurants over the years. I’ve also been lucky enough to do tastings with wine makers and sommeliers, see production facilities and gain insight in terms of how the land and climate effects what goes into a bottle of VQA certified wine.
So naturally, when they asked me to partner up with their 12 Days of Wine Country Ontario promotion, I was all in. I got to hand pick the $150.00 prize from a variety of Ontario wine country businesses. I eventually settled on the gorgeous 4 diamond Oban Inn, Spa and Restaurant right in the heart of my hometown. It’s so quaint and gorgeous. I remember my first-ever fancy dinner was spent in their restaurant on my mother’s birthday when I was around 5 or 6 years old, and I was just so excited by the sugar cubes that they brought out for her post-meal coffee. Also, my mom’s birthday is this week so the timing of this is just too sweet for me :)
Full disclosure: for hosting this giveaway, I’ll be receiving the same prize from Wine Country Ontario and I’ll tell you right now that I plan on using it in their very chill spa for some optimum self-care. Fancy lady time! To enter for your chance to win one (1) $150.00 gift card for the lovely Oban Inn, Spa and Restaurant in Niagara On The Lake Ontario, you can leave a comment on this post telling me how you practice self-care in this busy time. For me? It takes many forms: sometimes it’s my favourite turmeric shake as an afternoon snack, or taking an afternoon off to visit my parent’s dog, a bath with my hippie lavender bubbles, and sometimes it’s a glass of wine on the couch when I have a million other things to do. For a bonus entry, snap a photo on Instagram of your self-care in action and tag me (@thefirstmess) + Wine Country Ontario (@WineCountryOnt), using the hashtag #12daysVQA. This contest is open to Canadian residents only and you have until Sunday night (December 14th) at midnight to enter! Giveaway is now closed!
Last little notes: those sweet potatoes in the photo up top are stored in my new favourite thing: washable paper bags by UASHMAMA. I’ve been using them for plants, little trees, bread, storage, produce etc. They’re so handy and blissfully reusable. I really do recommend them. I also did an interview on Get the Gloss this week AND participated in a major cookie party on BAKED with some of my favourite Canadians. Lastly, I collaborated with Pure Green Magazine, Lindsey, and Claire for a holiday Pinterest board that focuses on celebrating in a way that’s kind to the earth and our bodies. Hope you dig! xo
ginger sweet potato dal with coconut leeks recipe
print the recipe here!
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.
2-3 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of chili flakes
1 cup red lentils
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced small
1 two inch piece of ginger, peeled + minced
1 one inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled + minced (or substitute 1 tsp dried turmeric powder)
3 1/2 cups filtered water + extra if necessary
salt to taste
coconut leeks ingredients:
2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 leek, white and light green part julienned
squeeze of lime juice
pinch of salt
cooked, warm rice (I used black japonica rice from Lundberg)
chopped parsley, cilantro or mint (or a combination)
black sesame seeds (very optional)
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. 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.