It's freezing outside — let this one-pot vegan dal with winter veggies warm you up tonight

Laura Wright’s recipe for this cozy plant-based meal is fit for fending off the frigid Canadian winter.

Laura Wright’s recipe for this cozy plant-based meal is fit for fending off the frigid Canadian winter

If you’re one of the many Canadians who must go outside and brave the frigid cold today (like us), we suggest this warming meal from Laura Wright’s Taste Canada award-winningThe First Mess Cookbook as a consolation dinner. Inspired by the popular Indian staple, Wright’s take on dal retains ingredients like ginger and turmeric that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, then adds a ton winter veggies. It’s also completely vegan and cooks all in one pot in under an hour, so it’s totally Meatless Monday-approved.

Weeknight Root Vegetable Dal

By Laura Wright

This thin and fragrant lentil stew recipe was quite popular with my recipe testers. A bunch of them told me they had already started working it into their weeknight dinner rotation. With the “throw it all in the pot” preparation method, I totally understand why. I’m usually skeptical of one-pot dinners that don’t coax the flavor out of the aromatics, but in this context it totally works.


  • 1 cup red split lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup finely diced root vegetables of your choice, such as carrots, celery root, and beets
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch of dried chili flakes
  • 3 ½ cups filtered water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


To a medium soup pot, add the rinsed lentils, diced root vegetables, diced onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and chili flakes. Pour the water into the pot and give everything a little stir.

Place the pot on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes, whisking the dal often. Toward the end, the lentils should be completely broken down. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, whisk the dal vigorously to encourage the breaking down of the lentils. It should appear quite soupy. Season the dal generously with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Heat the coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds. Once the seeds are fragrant and popping, remove from the heat.

Gently spoon the toasted spice oil (with the whole spices) on top of the dal. You can lightly stir it in if you like. You can also portion the dal out first and then spoon the spice oil on top if you like. Garnish the dal with the chopped cilantro. Serve the dal hot with lemon wedges.

Excerpted from The First Mess Cookbook: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons. Copyright © 2017 Laura Wright. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 4 servings