When Forbes asked me for tips on eating well, I immediately offered this recipe, which is a stew filled with vegetables and dal. My version of a one-pot vegetable dal—an easy weeknight meal—is a play on a traditional recipe to incorporate more vegetables and greens. This stew is packed with protein and fiber. I love adding stewed tomatoes for a pop of color on top, versus cooking them down in the recipe. 



Vegetable Dal

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil

    WNK- Food is Love Food Is Love: Plant-Based Indian-Inspired Recipes to Feel Joy and Connection Palak Patel
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2-inch knob fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (store bought)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup masoor dal, rinsed

  • 6 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard, finely chopped (about 4 cups)

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

Stewed Tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

  • Kosher salt


  1. Make the vegetable dal: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sputter, about 30 seconds. Stir in the squash, onion, carrot, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, 10 to 12 minutes.

  2. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chickpeas, dal, and broth.

  3. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until the squash is tender and the dal is soft.

  4. Make the stewed tomatoes: Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sputter, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and season with salt to taste; cook until the tomatoes have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  5. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, stir in the chard, and leave covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, taste, and season with more salt and black pepper if desired. Stir in the lemon juice and serve hot, topped with the stewed tomatoes.

Reprinted from Food Is Love by arrangement with Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2024, Palak Patel.

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