My favorite weeknight meal is dal and samosas. I know this sounds really complicated, and for a second there, you were probably really impressed with me. However, I am going to let you in on exactly how easy this is.
Step 1: Start Cooking Some Rice
Before I do anything else, I put a cup of brown jasmine or basmati rice on the stove, along with two cups of water, and start cooking it. I will serve the dal over this.
Step 2: Make the Dal
Dal an Indian dish made from lentils and spices. Lentils are an excellent source of protein and iron, which is why you’ll want to include a lot of them in a vegan diet. Not only that, but they are one of the quickest cooking legumes, and don’t require soaking time, like most beans.
I found my favorite dal recipe in Vegetarian Times. When you look at the recipe, you’ll see it listed as 30 minutes or fewer; it actually realistically clocks in at a little over 30 minutes with the prep work. You’ll want to have everything ready for this before you turn on the heat (see Zen and the Art of Food Preparation), because once you do, it cooks very fast and you have to add the ingredients quickly so that the spices don’t burn. I use red lentils to make this (they cook for the same amount of time as the yellow lentils the recipe calls for) and I also add a few handfuls of dark greens (spinach, kale, or chard) in the last few minutes of cooking to boost the nutrition of this already healthy recipe.
Step 3: “Make” the Samosas
While you’re cooking the rice, chopping the onion, and getting your spices all ready, you’ll probably also want to preheat the oven for the samosas. You could definitely have a nutritious and satisfying meal without these, but they’re part of what makes this meal so comforting to me. Samosas are essentially vegetables wrapped in dough – what could be better? I buy Sukhi’s Samosas in the frozen food section of my local natural food store. Although they’re a frozen food, they use all-natural, totally recognizable ingredients, and they carry clearly labeled vegan samosas (along with other good frozen vegan food that you might want to try for a quick lunch).
If you put the samosas in right after the lentils have started simmering, they should be done at the same time as the dal.
Step 4: Eat!
A little over 45 minutes since you put the rice on, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious, nutritious, and comforting meal. This will definitely serve 4. My husband and I make it for the two of us, and I always look forward to the leftovers. I hope this will become part of your weeknight cooking repertoire as well!