Monday, April 6, 2009

Yellow Split Pea Dal

Well, we have been very busy lately. Hence the two week gap in posting to the blog. Tom has been working for months now round the clock on a research paper entitled "Nutritional Deficiencies in Celiac Disease, is Supplementation Necessary?" He is just about done with it, and I am looking forward to reading it! I will let you know when it is published and provide a link to it.

And here on the home front we have been dealing with the infamous Chicken Pox running through all of four of our children. Our seven year old got it first, two weeks ago, and now our four year old and one of our twin boys has it. The other twin has yet to get it but I imagine we are just around the corner from it. Better to just get it all done at once I guess!

Did you know that Olive Leaf extract helps with chicken pox? I give it to the girls in a capsule and we also break open the capsules and make a paste with water and coconut oil to spread on their skin. It helps to stop the virus from replicating. Just thought I would share this little piece of invaluable information.
On to food now...

The other night I was craving some sort of spicy red lentil dal, but when I went into the pantry to get out the lentils I realized we were out. I had a container of yellow split peas so I thought I would try those out. I just dumped everything into the pot without measuring and out came a fabulous, comforting, spicy dal (Indian stew) that we served over quinoa. So tonight I set off to recreate my "masterpiece" by measuring everything as I added it to the pot.

We served it tonight over cooked quinoa again with Roasted Cauliflower on the side. I tossed the cauliflower with olive oil, sea salt, and cumin seeds. I roasted it in the oven at 425 for about 10 to 15 minutes. Mmm, my 15 month old twins love roasted cauliflower!

Did you know that Costco now sells organic, gluten-free, pre-washed quinoa? A friend of mine bought 2 bags for me, I think it was $10 per 4 pound bag. This is a great price for quinoa! TruRoots is the brand name if you are curious.

Yellow Split Pea Dal

2 teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds
a few tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
few pinches crushed red chili flakes
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 cups yellow split peas, rinsed well and drained
6 cups water
1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas
chopped cilantro, for garnish

Heat a 4 to 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and toast until they begin to pop. Quickly add the oil and onion and sauté until onion is very soft and beginning to change color, about 5 to 10 minutes. Then add the curry powder, chili flakes, and fresh ginger. Continue to sauté for another minute until you kitchen is very fragrant! :)

Then add the split peas and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until peas are soft and creamy. Wait to add the salt until the split peas are fully cooked. Then add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and frozen peas. Continue to cook for a few more minutes or until the frozen peas are cooked. Remove from heat. Serve over cooked quinoa and garnish with chopped cilantro.

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. I love when a don't know what to make for dinner and an amazingly delicious recipe gets posted, and I have all the ingredients. Going to throw my yellow lentils into a bowl to soak for the day. And amazing tip on the olive leaf extract. That is totally invaluable information.

    I have come to your blog only recently but have really enjoyed everything you are sharing. I too am a nutritionist- working up in Toronto.

  2. I love when "throw together pots" turn out delicious!! This sounds very tasty and comforting. I am sorry to hear about your children getting chicken pox. I suppose it is best they all get it out of the way and then you don't have to deal with it again! I hope they recover soon.

    I have another question about beans! So with canned beans, they are obviously soaked already, so if you rinse and drain them can you eat them straight from the can or do they need to be boiled in water first?

    Thanks for the tip on Costco, I will be checking that out for sure!

    Hoping the kiddos get better soon!

  3. Thanks for your blog, I love getting it in my email box!

    I am a big fan of just about anything curried and this dal looks so easy to make.

    Here is my question to you, I have young kids also and I don't think they would ever touch something like this. How on earth do you get your kids to eat this, or do you make them a different meal???

    Thanks, Tiff

  4. Ali, this sounds like the recipe for Red dal soup in your book. I have to give it a try with the yellow pea!
    EVERYONE loves the Red dal soup, it's our favorite recipe. Pretty much in our refrigerator all the time. It's a default food if there is nothing else to
    I know you probably won't like to hear this, but we love it with GF Hamplare's hot dogs!

  5. We make your red lentil soup frequently too. It is great that another commenter noted this too. I will try this one with the split peas. Do you think green split peas would work? I don't have any yellow peas on hand. Thanks for all of your great vegan recipes, keep them coming!

  6. I see you sure know how to use your spices in more of the traditional sense. The ginger, curry, and onions are slowly sauteed in oil to bring out their true flavors.

    Dhal and rice are staple foods in my home! I make many versions of dhal. Chana dhal, Matar Dhal (like you did here), Mung Dhal, and Masala Dhal.

    Another great thing about these Indaian Stews is that they freeze very well! I will make a big batch of dhal and rice on Sundays and freeze portion sizes in small containers.

    I have young children too and they love all of my dhal recipes. Maybe it is because I at a LOT of Indian meals when I was pregant! :-)

  7. Just a quick note to let you know if you receive these posts by email:

    I forgot to add the tomato paste to the recipe when I typed it up! I just updated the blog and added it to the recipe (1 to 2 tablespoons) - this is a key ingredient that balances the flavors. Of course if you have a nightshade intolerance it will still be great without it.

  8. Meghan - Hope enjoyed your dal tonight! I checked out your blog - looks great! Hurray for green smoothies!

    Coconutgal - You know, I don't believe that canned beans have been soaked. I would have to call one of the companies to find out. But yes, after you rinse and drain them you can eat them straight from the can without boiling. Eden is a good brand.

    Tiff- yes my children eat this - my boys each had 2 bowls and the girls each had one big bowl! If you introduce these flavors early then their taste buds become accustomed to it and it. The first 3 years are the most important years for introducing new flavors, after that it becomes more difficult, but not impossible, to offer new foods. Hope that helps!

    Pavlina - Glad to hear you all enjoy the red lentil dal so much! I bet you will love this one too!

    David D. - I think green split peas could work, though you may get an interesting color from the green peas and yellow in the curry mixing. I would give it a try though!

    yogamama - Wow, it sounds like you sure know your dals! I'd like to come to your house for dinner! Glad to hear your children love this food too!

    Thanks for your comments! -Ali :)

  9. Ali,

    My sympathies are with you regarding the chicken pox. My kids all had them at once too. Oh well, you might as well get over it in one shot (although it does drag out week after week). Wish I would have known about the olive leaf extract! Interesting and it makes sense, especially mixed with coconut oil.

    I did my thesis paper Celiac Disease as well. Ugh, I remember those days. Although I didn't have thesis papers AND chicken pox going on at once. Thank goodness.


    Now, on to the food. This split pea dal sound wonderful. I make chana dal with garam masala regularly. I love those types of dishes.

    Hang in there!

  10. I can't wait to read Tom's research paper. I bet he is finding there are a few such deficiencies. I've had a Vitamin D deficiency and a few others that have been helped with compounded vitamins. I'm guessing he's found some patterns. Where will his study be published?

    Sorry to hear that Chicken Pox is hitting the family. I hope it runs it's course soon.

  11. Boy, lots of good stuff in this post (not the chicken pox, of course)! Can't wait to read Tom's article. It sounds fabulous. There are SO many doctors who give a patient a celiac diagnosis and send them on their way without any help on the diet OR nutritional supplements. In fact, many even say they are not necessary. Such shameful behavior IMO and poor care for one's patients.

    Dal is good and I love split peas!

    Olive leaf extract ... good news to pass on to others.

    Congrats on the great buy on quinoa from Costco. I have yet to step into one, but my GF friends keep enouraging me by info like this. :-)

    Hugs to you and the kiddos! ... I had chicken pox as a child so I feel comfortable doing that. ;-)

    Last, anyone who gets your book will be very lucky. I love it for all the basic cooking and food info as well as the recipes!

    Thanks, Ali,

  12. Yum... I really love dishes like this one! And I didn't know that olive leaf extract helps with chicken pox but I am going to definitely note that for when my daughter's gets chicken pox someday.

    I tagged you in a meme and gave you an award, hope you don't mind :)

  13. In case you are looking for truRoots Quinoa and this is not available at your local Costco, you can buy it online at the company's webstore,

  14. I made this recipe tonight and loved it! However, it took WAY longer to cook than 45 minutes to soften the peas. Were you supposed to soak beforehand? I didn't think you had to soak lentils and split peas? It took about an hour and a half for the peas to get tender and creamy.

    I followed the recipe exactly as stated, so I'm not sure what went wrong - were we supposed to cover the pot? It just said simmer...


  15. Hi, I am covering the pot, and keeping at a low bubble, because i had the same question...I didn't soak the yellow split peas, but rinsed them 3 times...I have the pot covered, but with just a little tiny opening so that no boil overs or bottom sticking happens, but am keeping my eye on it...stirring every now and then...


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