Photo: Caleb Chancey, Brian Woodcock; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl
Hands-on Time
35 Mins
Total Time
53 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 1/2 cup dal, 1 cup salad, 1 flatbread, and 1/3 cup rice)

This is basically an all-out assault on the bulk bins, as well as our modern take on the rice-and-beans dinner. Spices, dried lentils, and rice are cheap ingredients, especially when you buy in these small quantities. Chiles are also a thrifty flavor booster; you should be able to score the two here for a nickel. Your vegetable peeler will get you nice carrot ribbons. And you'll use your leftover pizza dough from Spinach and Onion Pizza to make the flatbread.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare dal, combine 3 cups water and lentils in a bowl. Let stand 20 minutes; drain.

Step 2

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add the chopped onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add ginger and next 6 ingredients (through serranos); sauté for 30 seconds. Add lentils and remaining 2 cups water to pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 23 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.

Step 3

To prepare salad, combine 2 tablespoons oil, rind, juice, and sugar in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add carrot, sliced onion, and cilantro; toss to coat.

Step 4

To prepare flatbreads, shape each dough portion into a 5-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Coat dough with cooking spray. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Add 2 dough portions to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred. Repeat the procedure with remaining dough. Combine coriander and 1/4 teaspoon salt; sprinkle over hot flatbreads. Serve with rice, dal, and salad.

Ratings & Reviews

JqVigs's Review

March 01, 2015

kitten4's Review

April 10, 2014
This recipe is easy and delicious. I was so sad when it was all gone. The carrot salad could have used a little more kick to it, but overall a very good dish.

LDombeck's Review

March 04, 2014
My husband loved this! And my 7 year old liked it a lot too. I omitted the chiles so it wasn't too spicy for my kids. And i used Trader Joe's Naan instead of making the flatbreads. The salad was nice and fresh and easy to make. I will make again!

Chicagobsw's Review

December 03, 2013

bkmilligan's Review

October 10, 2013
Outstanding! Out of all the recipes I try,this is definitely one of the best. Did not change the recipe whatsoever except I served it with a dollop of sour cream (fat free). We enjoyed the carrot salad, but the carrots seemed tuff, so next time I will look for smaller, younger carrots. Also, I thought the salad was better the 2nd day.

AZNative23's Review

January 28, 2013
The dhal was okay (we might have needed to look harder for better peppers), but the carrot salad was fantastic! When I've brought it to parties/BBQs, people ask me for the recipe every time. I didn't realize it was time consuming before reading the reviews here. It's become a family recipe.

bjane1's Review

January 22, 2013
The dal was awesome, as was the naan. This would make a great appetizer. The carrot salad was good but I probably won't make it again.

Kristina6674's Review

January 01, 2013
This was excellent! I agree that making the carrot salad is a little time consuming and next time, I'll just shred them instead of creating the ribbons. But the flavor was definitely worth the effort! Used whole wheat pizza dough for the flat bread.

rmiller2's Review

November 22, 2012
This dish was delicious! I only had time to make the dal part and didn't have any onion or chile peppers but it turned out really well without them too. I substituted a few dashes of cayenne pepper for the chiles though and it was the perfect amount of spice! Would definitely make again!

luvgreatfood's Review

November 18, 2012
The dal was GREAT. I used 2 jalapenos instead of serranos, because that's what I had, and I seeded one of them. Nice zing, but could have been even hotter for my taste. I agree that 1/2 cup seemed light on the dals, but that's because I didn't do the bread. I think with bread it would have been enough. I plan to eat the leftovers for a quick, tasty lunch. The carrot salad was okay, but not worth the effort. Maybe I didn't "get it" but it making ribbons of carrot was a royal pain. I had done only 2 cups when the dals were finished cooking, so I gave up, put away half the dressing, and made half the salad. Both vegetable peelers I have became useless when I got down to a slab of carrot 1/4" thick. The design of the peeler won't let me shave any thinner with the carrot pinned to the cutting board, and I couldn't do it at all holding it in my hand. Maybe the food processor?? I probably won't do the carrot salad again, but the dal is definitely a keeper.