Ginger Sweet Potato Dal with Coconut Leeks

Ginger sweet potato dal is an easy, high protein and quick weeknight meal that happens to be vegan and gluten-free. Topped with coconut leeks for extra flavour and texture.

An overhead shot of a creamy orange stew with cooked black rice and a wedge of lime to the side. The stew is topped with cooked leeks and photographed in a light green bowl.

A head on shot of a brown bag with sweet potatoes in it.

I’ve been making variations on this recipe forever. Sometimes I change it up with other spices or different types of lentils/pulses, but the core remains as one of my weeknight dinner go-to’s. I love how it checks off all of those crucial boxes: easy, quick, economical, comforting and so, so good for you. I think there’s just the right amount of things to keep it interesting too. The little cubes of sweet potatoes still have a bit of bite. The leeks are sweet and bring that fragrant hit of coconut oil. It’s a vibrant and easy thing to keep us in the light this time of year.

Of course dal is a staple meal in India, where it originates from. Dal simply refers to dried legumes, and also a thick purée made with those legumes. I recommend reading The How and Why of Dal from The New York Times to learn a bit more about this perfectly simple, naturally vegan comfort food.

I have a hunch that a lot of us are thinking about changes and things we want to take on, either over the holiday break or into the new year. I know there will be some major ones in my house. I’m not really a juice fast kinda gal anymore, but my partner and I have both acknowledged that we need to focus-up some of our habits in terms of health and wellbeing. Cue the easy but wholesome recipes! Make this sweet potato dal next time you’re in the mood for just that 😉

An overhead shot of ingredients for a sweet potato dal recipe: fresh turmeric roots, red lentils, sweet potatoes, and spices.

A close up shot of cooked sweet potato dal.

An head-on shot of a creamy orange stew with cooked black rice and a wedge of lime to the side. The stew is topped with cooked leeks and photographed in a light green bowl.

Ginger Sweet Potato Dal with Coconut Leeks

Ginger sweet potato dal is an easy, high protein and quick weeknight meal that happens to be vegan and gluten-free. Topped with coconut leeks for extra flavour and texture.


Course Main Course, Side Dish, SoupDiet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 4

Author: Laura Wright


Sweet Potato Dal

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and small diced
  • 1 two-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 one-inch piece fresh turmeric (or substitute 1 tsp dried turmeric powder)
  • cups water, plus extra if necessary
  • sea salt to taste

Coconut Leeks

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green part julienned
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • pinch of salt

To Serve

  • cooked warm rice
  • flatbread
  • chopped parsley, cilantro or mint (or a combination)
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish (incredibly optional)


  • Place a large pot over medium heat. Heat up the coconut oil in the pot and add the ground coriander, mustard seeds and chili flakes. Stir about until the mustard seeds start to pop just a little bit.
  • Add the lentils, diced sweet potato, ginger, turmeric, and a pinch of salt. Stir the whole mixture to combine/coat in oil. Add the filtered water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture is creamy and soupy, stirring occasionally. The sweet potato pieces should still be intact with a tiny bit of bite. The lentils will be broken down, filling out the mixture, about 25 minutes or so. Add more water if you need to. Keep it warm while you sauté the leeks.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan and sauté until leeks are soft and very fragrant. Season with salt. Add a squeeze of lime if you like. Remove from the heat.
  • To serve: divide the hot dal over 4 portions of rice. Top the dal with sautéed leeks and a few dribbles of the coconut oil left in the pan. Garnish each serving with the chopped herbs and black sesame seeds.


  • Every recipe I’ve read for dal tells you to add the salt at a different time (to avoid toughness or the lentils breaking down too soon etc). I add a solid pinch at the beginning when I pour the water and then adjust it at the end to my liking.

An overhead shot of a creamy orange stew with cooked black rice and a wedge of lime to the side. The stew is topped with cooked leeks and photographed in a light green bowl.Show Hide 104 comments

  • valentina – sweet kabocha

    This plate is sunshine in a winter and grey day! Sweet potatoes are not so common here in Italy, but luckily they are almost alway present in my organic food store…and I love them so much!Reply

  • Liz S.

    During this busy time, I practice self-care by granting myself daily “me time” (exercise, meditation, and reading a good book).Reply

  • lynsey // lynseylovesfood

    There is so much goodness in this post that gives the means to practice self care – warming comfort to, easy go-to meals to take the stress off, cookies, and of course wine. with the snow this morning this is all i want to eat! xoReply

  • Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine

    What an incredible combination of flavors! I always think dal looks so good- but I am allergic to lentils! Anything you can think of that would make a substitution?
    Laura: Hey Michelle, Can you eat dried split peas? That would be the easiest one-for-one substitution. Otherwise, some par-cooked little cannelini beans might be do-able. You would have to adjust and play around with the water amount though.

  • Carol

    This looks perfect for dinner any night! One question…the “carrot” bit of the recipe is missing? Thanks!Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hey Carol! That was a teeny mistake. I originally planned to do this as a sweet potato AND carrot dal, but changed my mind last second. All fixed now. Good eye on that 🙂


    Wow… i often make dal w/ red lentils, so comforting and warming and filling. But I’ve never thought of adding sweet potatoes to the mix!!!! Think i got dinner covered! My self-care these days is subbing herbal teas istead of my morning coffe durring the week(coffee makes me go nutts in so many ways its not even funny! But sooo good!!!) and treating myself to one single delish flavored (hommemade coconut milk creamers!) on sunday mornings!Reply

  • Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming

    a nice calming morning coffee or a refreshing run!Reply

  • Meg

    I’m a pediatric nurse, so self-care is hugely important, and sandwiched in between 12 hour shifts and all the other things I have on my to-do list. It usually involves a long run or yoga, but equally as often, a glass of wine and a netflix marathon. Plus I never say no to a little chocolate!Reply

  • [email protected]

    Isn’t dal the best and red lentils are delicious! I love the flavors you used in this recipe, it reminded me of all the good things that make it so comforting. By the way, where did you get that little bowl, it is beautiful?
    Laura: Hey Nik, thanks so much! The bowl is from a Canadian book/gift store chain called Indigo. Although I’m not sure if they sell that particular one anymore. Link’s here anyway!Reply

  • Nicole

    What a fabulous giveaway! My husband grew up in Ontario’s wine country also and my in-laws still live there. I would love to win this prize and spend a night at the Oban Inn!

    This time of year, it’s essential for me to practise self-care by sticking to my exercise routine – that means making it to the gym as much as possible, even if it means stopping there on my way to a family get-together. It makes a world of difference both physically and emotionally.

    Happy holidays!Reply

  • liz

    I do tai chi and draw. I also bake bread.Reply

  • Ashley

    My simple, go-to meals never look quite this pretty. Definitely need to try this!Reply

  • Jillian Fontes

    Looks delicious! This time of year, I’m taking care by slowing down and cooking something everyday (the soba noodle soup was great). I used to waitress in NOTL, so this giveaway sounds fantastic!!Reply

  • Lynda D

    Thanks for this yummy recipe!

    How do I practice self-care? By sitting on my cushion as often as I can to meditate, whether for 3 or 30 minutes, no matter. I also just signed up for a 3-day silent treat over NY’s. A gift to myself where I create space to reflect on the past year and let it go, and ground myself for the year ahead. Yum. 🙂Reply

  • Patricia Gaudet

    What kind of rice was prepared in this recipe?
    Laura: Hi Patricia, I used black japonica rice from Lundberg, which can be found here. I bought a big bag at my local Costco.Reply

  • Erin

    Making time for daily exercise and making lots of the recipes from your blog helps keep me trued this time of year! And the occasional jacuzzi tub beer doesn’t hurt either. 😉Reply

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    Diggin this so hard! Girl, your photos are always on point annnd I need some of those reusable bags, stat. Self care usually comes in the form of pizza, cat cuddles and lots of tv.Reply

  • Jaime R

    I practice self-care by getting a CSA box most weeks which encourages me to eat whole, healthy foods and experiment with new recipes without even having to head to the grocery store…plus it feels good to buy local and eat seasonal foods!Reply

  • Alex

    Taking time to cook, go for extra long walks and getting some solid cardio!Reply

  • Shawna Green

    My favorite self care routine is to attend my Pilates class regularly! I always feel centred and energized after a work out. I adore the Oban Inn!Reply

  • Saniel

    Food looks very yummy and easy to assemble.
    I practice self care by standing on my porch and taking deep breaths Inhale-taking in all the world is offering me and Exhale out all negative thoughts I put on myself. Curling up with a good book and calming tea helps too. Thanks great giveaway getaway.Reply

  • Marlee

    The store was out of leeks. Do you think Bok choi would be a fine substitute?
    Laura: Hi Marlee, I just use leeks because I like the mild, sweet onion-ish flavour they provide. I would go for thin slices of a sweeter onion, such as vidalia, and just sauté them a bit longer in the coconut oil. Just until they’re a bit soft. Shallots would work too! Or even some chopped up green onions/chives sprinkled on top of the dal at the end would be fine.

  • Christina

    There are so many ways I practice self-care as we near the holidays; hot tea, freshly baked snacks, and relaxing on the sofa. I think the most important one for me (which is harder to actually do) is getting in that cardio as well!Reply

  • CdnSyl

    Eeek! I was just recipe dreaming about sweet potatoes and lentils but hadn’t yet figured out how to go about it. So excited to give this a try! I’m Niagara-bound for the holidays so I’ll put in my two cents on self-care: cooking, playing piano, curling up with a good book, and getting as much as exercise outside as possible!Reply

  • Colleen (@905Foodie)

    Thank you for that recipe. I am starting to experiment with legumes. It looks really good!

    Self care can be tough. I took an unusual twist on it this year. I am completing tasks super early. All my shopping and wrapping is already completed. I still need to clean and decorate – and that will be done tomorrow.

    That means I get to relax in the lead up to Christmas – it’s a pretty amazing gift to me! LOL

    I will be enjoying glasses of wine on the sofa with a kitty on my lap. I will borrow my BFFs dog and take her for walks. My hubby and I will go for a drive out to our favourite cidery for drink, dinner and convo and we simply won’t be stressed! Who knew this could be possible?Reply


    I am actually not taking very good care of myself right now. I am mentally exhausted. I try to take baths though and read and I just recently bought a relaxation meditation for mindfullness cd that I need to be listening to.Reply

  • Ania

    I get together with friends and family as much as possible, because being together is what really makes this season festive!Reply

  • [email protected] and Pigs

    What amazing colours just beautiful.I need to use more fresh tumeric.Reply

  • Michelle

    Sweet potato dals have always been one of my favourite base recipes; thanks for a gorgeous variation.

    Self-care for me is returning home to St. Catharines, waking up before the rest of my family, brewing a pot of coffee and heading out for a run in the Escarpment. And then warming up with a cup of said coffee and chatting with my mom on the couch upon return 🙂Reply

  • Riley

    That recipe looks deeelicious! During this time of year I try to maintain my physical and mental health by getting good rest, fitting snuggle time in with my man and guinea piggies, and by going to the gym regularly. Bean and veggie soup is also a great pick-me-up. 🙂Reply

  • Jessie

    This post is gorgeous — and I especially loved all your links at the end, you’ve been busy girl! That interview was fun to read through, I love your philosophy and outlook and overall personality, and wish I could go grab a cup of coffee with you! Have a great weekend – xoReply

  • Margaret Brady

    I would love to winReply

  • Brooklynn

    I love to bake for self-care. Following the structure of a recipe when everything else around me is hectic helps to calm me down.Reply

  • Mary Ann

    I am so looking forward to making this dal! But first, time on the floor with my 7 collies, that’s right, just 7 and then, why of course, a bubble bath, then more time on the floor with our collies. Bliss, sweet bliss!Reply

  • Matt

    I practice self-care through my woodworking. I love getting lost in the details.Reply

  • Brittany

    This past year I’ve been struggling with eczema and trying a bunch of methods to soothe my skin, one of them being eating better. I find it very rewarding to spend time alone in the kitchen or at my computer, search for and discovering new recipes or new takes on old recipes. I’ve really cleaned up some of my favourite foods and I love discovering new ways of making a food I’ve always eaten even better for me!
    For me this kitchen-therapy has been a two fold for self-care, feeding my body and my soul=)Reply

  • Eileen

    This dal looks so blissfully orange and warming! You have to love it. Also, as the proud owner of something like six leeks, I am looking forward to the coconut leeks especially! I’m not Canadian, so best of luck to the winner!Reply

  • Susi Brust

    I will definitely try this dal recipe very soon. During stressful times, I try to get outdoors for a run or at least a brisk walk. Healthy eating helps as well. Susi.Reply

  • Kimberly

    I like to sit back with a glass of red wine for a little self care and relaxation.Reply

  • Marlee

    Made this tonight and I licked the bowl clean. Don’t be afraid to try this- it’s officially a weeknight regular on my meal planner. This dish is good for the soul. Thank you!Reply

  • Rachel Brown

    At this busy time of year, I make sure to go to a weekly yoga class, as well as putting aside a little time every night to read the novel on my bedside table!Reply

  • Carol Cormier

    For self care I’ve been starting my mornings with a smoothie made from kale, frozen berries, almond milk and a bit of protein powder. I’ve been trying to walk more and have been keeping track of my steps and sleeping patterns with my Jawbone Up.Reply

  • Leahanne Alexander

    I schedule time for Christmas movies on the couch with the hubby. Gets us in the spirit, while keeping us from being Grinches. 😉Reply

  • Elena

    I made this for dinner tonight 🙂 Exactly what I wanted! Bonus – picked up some naan from the indian restaurant to make it even more comforting for this freezing cold night! Thanks!!!Reply

  • Linda

    Self care I go to hot yoga or take a relaxing epson salt bath with candles & soft music.Reply

  • Jess R.

    The best self-care for me has to involve laughing – I sometimes need call my sister for some giggle/self-care therapy. Thank you for creating this wonderful blog!Reply

  • Teffy @ Teffy’s Perks

    Oh wow this looks so delicious! Just showed this to my partner and we are both drooling! This has to happen in my kitchen soon!!

    {Teffy’s Perks} XReply

  • Tessa | Natural Comfort Kitchen

    I’m not eligible for the giveaway, but I’ll chime in anyway. I can identify with eating healthy most of the time (like, really healthy in comparison to most people I know), but feeling like it’s not focused or conscious enough (maybe because I broke down and ordered a pizza this week?). Looking forward to more posts on that, as I turn the big 3-0 this year as well!Reply

  • Dillon Tisdel

    This is my kind of meal. It looks absolutely perfect.Reply

  • Stephen

    I like to go for a run at night when all is quiet and peaceful for self careReply

  • Erica B


  • Sheila Lavell

    My self care routine now includes your Green Drink. I find if I know i have a busy, stressful calendar I have the ingredients in the house to do a wonderful favour for myself. It energizes me and reminds me that I need to take care of myself. As a proud Niagara native too I love your wine country give away and enjoy seeing all your well deserved success.Reply

  • Suzan

    On days when I would like to relax, I practice self-care by creating my own home spa at the end of the day (facials, manicures, meditative music, etc.).Reply

  • jennifer

    The sauteed leeks are brilliant!Reply

  • Siren

    Why must you tempt me with the chance of winning fancy lady time? If only Boston were in Canada. My favorite thing to relax with this season is making paper. I collect flowers and leaves over the fall to make them into greeting cards. I love the feeling turning what would be trash into something beautiful.
    The dal looks amazing though. I love the contrast between the dark purple rice and the sunshiny lentils. I’m so making that tonight for dinner.Reply

  • Cristina

    Beautiful recipe.
    When in feeling super indulgent I take a bath with a bath bomb from Lush.Reply

  • Craig Green

    Self care over the holidays involves running outdoors- fresh air and some daylight always raises spirits! Love the recipe!Reply

  • Bonnie

    Christmas self care – watching a classic movie (or two or three)….Reply

  • Yemie

    I practice self care, with my yoga practice. Pranayama, Aasana, and then Meditation. This balance my body and mind and soul.Reply

  • Laura

    I get some fresh air….snow shoeing, hiking, etc. 🙂Reply

  • mar

    I will make myself a cup of organic hot chocolate and spices 🙂 i’ll try this recipe sounds deliciousReply

  • jodye @ whole pure recipes

    It’s a good thing I have plans to go to an Indian restaurant tonight, because I am seriously craving these flavors! The photos are beautiful but, I’m sure, don’t even do justice to how wonderful this dish must be!Reply

  • Marisa Coyne

    I head over my local self-care studio for a sauna. Love the recipe!Reply

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen

    This is such an unbelievably beautiful dish, Laura! Comfort in a bowl without being loaded with fat and sugar. Love it!Reply

  • Justyna

    Beautiful recipe, a must-try for me. Practicing self-care involves taking the time each morning to prepare a tasty breakfast and enjoy it while counting my blessings and being eternally grateful for what I have.Reply

  • Kaitlin

    Love Ontario wine country!
    My self care this time of year includes saying no, getting enough sleep, going to yoga and eating the extra cookie.Reply

  • Kris

    Exercise is my go-to self care strategy. It has the amazing benefit of making you feel good in the moment and keeping the stress lower over the long-term. Add to that the occasional glass of wine, lots of veggies every day, lemon water in the mornings, big belly laughs, and 8 hours of sleep on the regular, and it’s a dream life.Reply

  • Jillian Christine

    I practice self-care a few different ways. I eat well – smoothies almost every morning. I like to mix it up using various fruits and vegetables. And I like to add turmeric to my smoothies like you do! 🙂 I also do yoga – I find it both relaxing and rewarding. And my favourite – massages! I love pampering myself at the spa with a swedish or hot stone massage!Reply

  • TOva

    Reflective…and significantly important…thank you for sharing. I too, am working to improve my self care and I find that keeping it at the forefront, on a daily basis has been instrumental in helping me to staying on track. Although it may sound boring, I choose to take a bath/have a quick shower every evening. While bathing, I always reflect on my day, and remind myself of my goals, focusing on my intentions and behaviours on the past day, and the next. I think about and visualize my next day, and set little goals that help me achieve self care. Some days it’s intentionally planning my menu, or focusing on ensuring I make an exercise class. Having a daily shower/moment of reflection helps me stay focused and intentional.Reply

  • Sherry

    Laura – what a lovely post (well, as always from you!), and an amazing giveaway too: I can’t resist entering with a comment – my husband and I spent a couple of nights at the Oban Inn last fall for our wedding anniversary and it was so delightful! You’re right about the potential craziness of this time of year, and also about the means for making it all go a bit better: for me it’s taking time to spend with important people – always the right thing to do, but it can still slip by the wayside when the mentality of that “busy” thing takes over. My husband and I hopped the train to visit my family for a couple of days last week, and last night he and I sat down to a film together (first time in a while!) … these small things (or not so small sometimes) can really give us back our perspective, can’t they? Thanks for the wonderful spirit your blog always conveys.Reply

  • Leanne

    this was amazing. i just made it. it is exactly my style of meal. you’re great and i will be back again and again for more of your words and combos. thank you for dinner. 🙂Reply

  • Austin Bay

    Love this recipe! I need another week night meal to add to my list + the idea of sweet potatoes + coconut oil sounds delicious to me. Thanks for sharing 🙂Reply

  • Mahee Ferlini

    This looks colorful and delicious!Reply

  • Kim

    Made this a few nights ago – simple and delicious! Thanks for sharing.Reply

  • Jaclyn (Cinnamon Street)

    These photos are amazing! Recipe looks right up my ally. YUM.

  • Kimberley

    I am always so smitten with your clever combos. This is my kinda comfort right here.Reply

  • Maggie @ Veg Fiend

    So elegant and simple. Jaw-dropping photography. I am utterly inspired by your blogging!Reply

  • Ava

    This recipe is so perfect for a cold Chicago night. I have to thank you for opening up this former “obligate carnivore” to a world of inspiring and simple vegan dishes. I used the green lentils I had on hand, and tossed the leeks with a little quinoa flour and deglazed the pan with a bit of coconut milk to enhance the coconut flavor. It’s perfectly warming and delicious, thank you!Reply

  • Brittany

    FYI: you can make this with or without the garam masala. We made it once while looking at the recipe on our tablet (and so it’s not listed on the ingredients list there). And when we made it again I had printed it, and it’s in those instructions.
    Both ways were very tasty!Reply

  • Izzy

    Do you have to soak the lentils beforehand??Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Izzy, If you’re using red lentils you don’t need to soak them. A little rinse never hurt, but they cook up so fast that a soak isn’t necessary–definitely one of the reasons I like them so much 🙂

  • jim

    Great recipe again. Just wondering if it’s OK to freeze and how long it would keep?Reply

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Jim, you could definitely freeze this. When I freeze soup/stew of any kind, I always aim to eat it within 2-ish months.

  • Jenny Griffith


    You choose the most beautiful ingredients. Please keep making wonderful recipes. You inspire me.

    -Jenny from Wild Vedic LivingReply

  • Julia

    this is such an awesome cheap, easy & nutritious weeknight meal! making it for the 2nd time tonight. rock on Laura!Reply

  • M

    I’ve made this twice now and it’s phenomenal. So easy to put together and honestly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Thanks so much!Reply

  • Missweb

    can’t stop making this… so good… so, so good. added a can of full fat coconut milk. again, still really good.Reply

  • Renee

    Been wanting to make this for a while now, and just finished my second bowlful. It is. so. good. Followed pretty much verbatim except for my choice in rice; used basmati. Fantastically easy and cheap, it will definitely be in frequent rotation. My almost 4 year old wolfed it down like nobody’s business. Thank you for sharing!Reply

  • Gabrielle

    What is served in the bowl alongside of the dal and rice? It looks like cherries, cranberries, walnuts? Whatever it is, it looks delicious!Reply

    • Laura

      Hey Gabrielle,
      I think you might be referring to the actual rice! I use the black rice from lundberg and when it’s cooked up, it looks all glossy and dark like dried fruit almost!

      • Gabrielle

        Thank you!

  • Amy

    I made this over the weekend for the week and ate it tonight with forbidden rice. In a word? Yummy, Amazing, Fantastic, Heavenly–take your pick! I can’t wait for the other servings and i will definitely be making this again!Reply

  • Samm

    Just made this for dinner. I’m in heaven. Just heaven.Reply

  • Lis

    I love these recipes, however I can’t work out how to print them on one page I keep getting 14 plus pages and its such a waste of ink & paper despite the fact I enjoy reading all the comments. Can someone give me a tip re printingReply

    • Laura

      Hi Lis,
      Did you try the “Print Recipe here” link underneath the title of the recipe at the bottom of the page? It should take you to a one page Google document that you can print from there. Here’s the link if you can’t find it:

  • sarah

    My 9 year old son said – ‘mum, this is hellishly good.’ That’s the best review i’ve ever had for a meal i’ve cooked for him, so i am massively chuffed. Look foward to more successes.


  • Luna

    I loved to eat this dish on every Sunday Morning.This dish makes my Sundays special.Reply

  • France hurtubise

    Can I switch water to vegetable broth ?

    • Laura

      Yes, you can substitute water for vegetable broth here!

  • Sarah Williams

    I’ve been looking for new recipes as we’re stuck at home during this coronavirus lock down, and this recipe looks amazing. I’m planning to make it tonight. If it turns out half as good as yours looks, I’ll be happy 🙂 Thanks for the share!Reply

  • Sarah Vermillion

    I’m it’s dahl????Reply

  • Carrie

    A little late on this one but so so good. Love the leeks with this dish. I used a kabocha squash instead of sweet potato and it worked great!Reply

  • Nita Daw

    I know it’s nearly summer and this is a winter warmer dish. However after reading it, I just couldn’t resist. My gosh, was I in a lovely surprise… this scrumptious meal was easy to cook and most definitely got my taste buds rocking. Perfect for a satvic diet (or any for that matter) and perfect with a side of mango chutney. Just beautiful, thank you ever so much. XReply

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