Superfood chicken or vegan Guyanese dhal (lentil soup)that eats like a meal

Dhal with spinach

I love dhal, I mentioned it in my post, “Ten reasons why dhal is my superfood”. I make a giant pot of it on the weekend and eat at least one bowl every day. I usually keep it vegan because it’s delicious and full of protein on its own, but I’ve been getting cooking lazy lately, so I’ve been experimenting.

I usually make my dhal with split peas, but for this modified recipe I use lentils because they cook faster. What’s the point of being cooking lazy, if I’m going to have to wait over an hour for it to cook?

I call this my “Everything but the kitchen-sink Guyanese-style dhal” recipe. Adding in some of the ingredients I use make it so filling that after one big bowl (or 1.5 small bowls) I am more satisfied than I am with almost anything else I make, yet it’s still so low in calories. It’s all the fiber.

It’s also ridiculously healthy. There are over 10 sources to improve health in dhal – and they are the reasons why it’s my superfood. Some of the health benefits of the ingredients include weight management, heart, and digestive health, and boosted immunity.

The full nutrition and health benefits are listed below the recipe.

Everything but the kitchen-sink Guyanese-style dhal recipe

Makes: 6 servings

Total time: 40 minutes, cook time: 30 minutes, prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for the base

Red lentils

  • 6-8 cups of water
  • For those who don’t want vegan, use 3 boneless chicken breasts, chopped or sliced, or whatever chicken you have in your fridge
  • 1.5 cups of red or yellow lentils
  • 1-2 cups of chopped spinach or kale
  • 1-2 cups of chopped broccoli or cauliflower
  • 1.5 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tomato
  • Salt to your taste
  • Optional: 1-3 habanero, wiri-wiri or chili peppers, omit the pepper if you don’t want it spicy. I use 3 habanero peppers because they’re hotter.

Additional optional ingredients

I’ve used a cup of leftover rice, asparagus, leftover chicken from a restaurant, whatever I need to finish in the fridge. It’s’ hard for me to include these in the recipe because it changes every week. So go crazy with your favorite ingredients!

Directions

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  1. If using chicken that’s not a leftover: Use 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each of the turmeric and cumin to marinate it in a baking dish and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse the lentils and set them aside.
  3. Chop the onion, garlic, tomato and peppers.
  4. Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil (can be done at the same time you are doing the above steps).
  5. Add the lentils, onion, garlic, tomato, peppers and olive oil to boiling water.
  6. Add spices and salt
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-high and boil lentils for 20 minutes.
  8. If using chicken: Put it in the oven to cook for 15 minutes or until cooked while the lentils are boiling. If your chicken is already cooked add it in during the next step to warm it up.
  9. Blend the soup with hand blender to achieve a smooth texture or partially smooth (I find it blends the flavors together better).  Return to a low boil and add the spinach and your other ingredients, including chicken if using it, for another 10 minutes.

lentils blending

I let it cool down for five minutes before I eat it.

Approximate nutritional information for 1 serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

Dhal

Less blended vegan version

Note: Your nutritional value may differ depending on what you use. When I’m eating the vegan version for dinner I usually have 3 servings (1.5 if I’ve thrown rice in it) and 1.5 if I’m not (1 I’ve thrown rice in it).

  • Calories: With chicken: 301 g / Without: 152 g
  • Fat: With chicken: 9.2g / Without: 6.2 g
  • Carbs: With chicken: 20g / Without: 20 g
  • Protein: With chicken: 34g / Without: 8 g

Some health benefits

Spices, spicy, seasonings in wooden box, top view. Black grunge

  • Lentils: Help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and support heart and digestive health.
  • Hot pepper: Protects against stress and certain diseases, help with weight and pain management, and inflammation.
  • Tomatoes: Are an antioxidant and improve heart and bone health.
  • Cumin: Improves immunity, skin and anemia and helps with respiratory disorders.
  • Turmeric: Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Garam masala: Helps boost immunity, promotes weight and pain management, and helps with heart burn and stomach pains.
  • Curry powder: protects against Alzheimer’s and assists in digestion.
  • Garlic: Improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and immunity, and helps reduce stress
  • Onions: Improve bone density and cardiovascular functioning, and is an anti-inflammatory.
  • Cilantro (coriander): Is an antioxidant.
  • Kale/Spinach: Supports healthy skin, hair and bones, as well as healthy digestion and a reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Protein, carbs, and fat: These are key building blocks for your body’s functioning.

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