Indian Vegetable Dahl (legume-free)

Indian Vegetable Dahl (legume-free)

  • Serves: 4 - 6 or more as a side dish
  • Prep Time: 00:15
  • Cooking Time: 00:25
  • * Plus soaking time for sunflower seeds

My Vegetable Dahl is just as tasty as a traditional Indian Lentil Dahl. It's made without legumes but you would never know. I've used a food processor to make it quick and easy to chop up the onion, carrot, pumpkin and cauliflower into rice size pieces to replace lentils in my recipe. I've also soaked sunflower seeds to add to the vegetables which create an amazing texture. This stew-like spicy Indian dish is packed with nutritious ingredients and the sunflower seeds give you a good boost of protein, Vitamin E and magnesium. Dahl can be served on its own as a healthy main meal with paleo naan bread or used as a side dish with other Indian dishes like Butter Chicken (recipe HERE).


* Please click on the green icon next to the ingredients listed below for extra details and helpful information.

  • 80gm (2/3 cup) sunflower seeds, soaked overnight in water
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1 lge onion(s), cut in quarters
  • 2 med-lge carrot(s), cut into equal size chunks
  • 300g flesh of pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 3 tsp garlic, minced or grated
  • 3 tsp ginger, minced or grated
  • 500g (1/2 lge head) cauliflower, cut into small floret pieces
  • 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp garam masala, adjust to your liking
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • Juice from 1 large lime(s)
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken broth/stock, (I use chicken broth)
  • 250ml (1 cup) canned coconut cream, plus a little extra to drizzle on top
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar (organic)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, plus 1/4 tsp ground pepper or to taste


Soak the sunflower seeds in a generous amount of filtered water overnight or for at least 6 hours.

Add the onion and carrots to a food processor and process for a couple of seconds to chop up the vegetables. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again for a further few seconds until you have rice size veggies.

Heat a large high-sided frying pan or a large saucepan on medium-high and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add the chopped onion and carrot mixture to the pan and cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring often.

Add the pumpkin chunks to the food processor and process for a couple of seconds to create rice size pieces, add to the pan with the garlic and ginger. Stir well to combine all the vegetables.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and stir the garam masala, paprika, cumin, turmeric and coriander through the vegetables for 1 minute.

Place half the cauliflower into the food processor and processor for a couple of seconds to create rice size pieces, repeat with the remaining cauliflower. Add the cauliflower rice to the pan with the drained and rinsed sunflower seeds. Stir everything together well.

Pour in the coconut aminos, lime juice and broth/stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender and have lost the raw veggie taste.

Add the coconut cream, coconut sugar, salt and pepper. Stir through and bring back to a light simmer for 5 minutes. If you would like more sauce add a little more broth or coconut cream until the desired consistency is reached.

Transfer the Dahi to a serving dish and garnish with a swirl of coconut cream and fresh coriander or parsley, serve with Naan Bread on the side. (You can find the recipe for Paleo Naan Bread in The JOYful Table cookbook and my Paleo Bread cookbook).

Leftovers can be stored covered in the fridge for 4 - 5 days.

sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds have a mild nutty flavour. An excellent snack as they are high in protein, delicious added to smoothies and grain free baking. Sunflower seeds can be finely ground to replace almond and other nut meals/flours in baked goods, substitute ratio 1:1. They are high in Vitamin E. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which can help calm your nerves, muscles and blood vessels.

coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.


In my recipes when listing onion I am referring to a brown (also called yellow) onion. Onions are members of the allium plant family which also includes garlic, leeks, spring onions and shallots. Onions are valued more for the flavour they impart in cooking than for their nutritional content. Onions are know for their antibacterial effect helping to prevent superficial infections and their sulfur compounds may block carcinogens.


This crunchy orange root vegetable is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. They are good for the eyes and improve night vision. You get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits from carrots, including cancer prevention, helps prevent infections and heart disease, protects teeth and gums and promotes healthier skin.


Like all orange pigmented vegetables, pumpkins are rich in beta carotene (vitamin A) and studies show pumpkin contains more than carrots.


Garlic is a close relative to the onion and has been used throughout history for both medicinal and culinary purposes. In most of my recipes I use minced garlic as I find it distributes better throughout the dish. When in a hurry I use organic minced garlic which I purchase in glass jars and store in the fridge. When garlic powder is needed for a particular recipe, I use 'Simply Organic' brand. Why is garlic so good for us? It is an immune booster, antibiotic, good for the heart, cancer fighter and it's also knew as a weight loss aid (appetite suppressant).


Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.


Cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables that should be eaten on a regular basis, as it has huge health benefits. One cup of cooked cauliflower provides you with 73% of your DRI of vitamin C, it's also a good source of vitamin K. You will find several dozen studies linking cauliflower to cancer prevention.

garam masala

Garam masala is an Indian blend of ground and toasted spices. Garam means "hot" and masala is "a mixture of spices". It can be used on its own or mixed with other seasonings. There is no single garam masala recipe, rather the ingredients change according to the region and cook. In Northern India, it will be aromatic and mild, while in the south of Indian the spice mix is hotter (it may include cayenne). Typical ingredients are cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black peppercorns, coriander and nutmeg. I purchase 'Simply Organic' or Frontier Co-Op organic brands, both don't contain any fillers.


Paprika is a spice made from grinding dried mild and sweet red chili peppers. Paprika is used to add colour and flavour to a dish. It has a sweet pungent flavour and distinct bitter aftertaste. Even just a small sprinkle of paprika can deliver antioxidants and nutrients like, Vitamin A, E and B6, also iron. I purchase an organic paprika made by 'Simply Organic' (from Paprika is a nightshade.


Cumin is a medium - hot spice which blends well in curries and is the main spice in the Middle Eastern dip, hummus. It is being studied for potential anti-oxidant and anticancer effects.


Turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family, the rhizomes are used fresh or boiled then dried in hot ovens after which they are ground into a deep yellow powder. Turmeric is an essential ingredient of Indian curries and gives mustard its yellow colour. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic and is used to treat inflammation and digestive disorders.


Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.

coconut aminos

An excellent soy free alternative to soy sauce and tamari. It comes from the sap of the coconut tree and has a sweeter flavour than soy sauce and is not as salty. Coconut aminos can be purchased from health food stores or online. This is one of my favourite ingredients.


A lime is a green citrus fruit. There are several species of the lime tree. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and calcium and are used to add flavour to foods and beverages.

chicken broth/stock

Making homemade chicken broth is a great way to heal Leaky Gut and excellent to drink when unwell. Traditionally broth was made just from bones and simmered for hours to remove the gelatin, marrow and goodness from them. These days vegetables are also added to give extra flavour. By using a slow cooker, making your own broth/stock is so easy. As soon as a roast chicken is eaten, all the bones go into the freezer ready for the next batch of broth. If purchasing store-bought stocks, read the labels as many companies have changed the name of MSG to yeast extract. Organic or free-range brands are available. My Chicken broth recipe is on page 295 of The JOYful Table cookbook. Freeze ice block trays filled with chicken broth for when a small amount is required for a recipe. You can also use an organic concentrated bone broth paste or dehydrated chicken bone broth powder and add them to filtered water.

coconut cream

I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.

coconut sugar (organic)

Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't overindulge. For a finer texture, add your coconut sugar to the small bowl of a food processor or blender and blend for 8 seconds or until it reaches a fine powder. The colour will lighten once ground.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.