Green Dal

Greens lentils are the inside of the dried green beans called ‘vatana’ in India. They have a deliciously distinct earthy flavor that goes well with leafy green vegetables. These particular  lentils may be hard to find in regular grocery stores but should be available at most Asian or Indian grocers. 

makes 6 cups


1 cup split green lentils

1 tsp turmeric

5+ cups of water

1 large serrano pepper, diced

½ cup coconut milk

2 Tbsp ginger purée  

1 tsp salt

2 cups collard greens (stems removed) & finely chopped

3 Tbsp EVOO

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ cup chopped shallots

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro (or any other herb) 


  1. Soak the lentils in 3-4 cups of water for 1 hr at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight. Drain the water. 
  2. Combine the lentils with 3 cups of water and turmeric and bring to a boil. Within a few minutes, a scum may rise to the top - this is the debris from the lentils that needs to be discarded. Using a slotted spoon, remove the scum. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover the stockpot and cook for at least 1 ½ hrs until lentils are tender (add more water as needed).
  3. Add the serrano pepper, coconut milk, ginger purée & salt. Stir to combine then add the collards, cook for another 2-3 minutes then turn off the heat. 
  4. Heat up the EVOO in a small separate pan, pop the cumin seeds & add the shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes taking care because the shallots can brown fast.  Pour this mixture over the dal. Stir in the cilantro and serve. 

ideas / variations

  • Use channa instead - cook time overall may be longer. 
  • Instead of collards, use spinach, kale, watercress or swiss chard.
  • Instead of cilantro, use thyme, rosemary or basil.