Indian food is one of my favorite comforts foods – the spices make the dishes so rich, nourishing, and satisfying – yet I save many of my favorite dishes for when I’m out at an Indian restaurant. This fall, I was catering with my aunt and we put an Indian spin on my classic sweet potato fries, roasting them with garam masala and dipping them into a bright cilantro-mint chutney. I knew this would go perfectly with indian-style lentils, and while my take may not be super authentic, it is easy, quick, delicious.

And since it’s the season for detoxing and healing –  I made sure it was packed with immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric and ginger. The herb heavy chutney is filled with cilantro, which is an antibacterial and helps detox the body of toxic metals, and mint, which can help aid digestion. The handful of dark, leafy greens makes this bowl fits just as well into your January plan as an ol’ salad. This is great as leftovers for lunch and dinners all week!

easy indian-style daal and rice bowls
easy indian-style daal and rice bowls
Serves 4

For the daal:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Small piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional for heat
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 – 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • Pink salt + pepper to taste

For the sweet potatoes:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Few pinches of garam masala
  • Pink salt

For the cilantro-mint chutney:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cilantro, washed + dried (remove most of the stems)
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 3/4 cups raw almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink salt
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

To serve:

  • 2 cups of cooked brown jasmine rice
  • 4 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment and toss the sweet potatoes with coconut oil, garam masala, and a few pinches of salt directly on the sheet. Bake in the oven, tossing halfway through, for about 30 – 35 minutes or until they are soft throughout and golden on the outside.

To make the daal, heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add the ghee or coconut oil. Once shimmering, add the onion and cook for 5 – 7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; cook 30 – 60 more seconds. Add the turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and red lentils. Cook for one more minute, being careful not to burn the spices. Add the vegetable broth or water, starting with 3 cups, bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Add more liquid as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When lentils are cooking and sweet potatoes are in the oven, blend all the ingredients for the chutney in a blender on the lowest setting until smooth. Season to taste.

Serve bowls with big scoops of daal, jasmine or long grain brown rice, sweet potato, spinach, scallions and generous dollops of cilantro-mint chutney. Enjoy!