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Bowl of vegan zucchini dal with spoon.
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5 from 11 votes

Easy Zucchini Dal

A tasty and easy zucchini dal, flavored with tomatoes and curry powder. Eat the dal with rice and/or roti for a simple, delicious meal. A vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course/Dal
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 99kcal

Equipment

  • Large saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried toor dal (also called tuvar dal, arhar dal or split pigeon peas)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 green chili peppers
  • 2 medium tomatoes (finely diced)
  • 2 medium large zucchini (diced into ½-inch chunks)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (or sambar powder)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (finely chopped)

Instructions

  • Cook the dal with turmeric and enough water until really soft and mushy. This is easily done in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, but you can also do it on the stovetop. Whisk the cooked dal so it becomes creamy.
  • Heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and wait until they sputter and crackle. Add the curry leaves and green chili peppers. Saute for a few seconds. Then add the tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes until tomatoes are soft. They don't have to turn mushy.
  • Add the diced zucchini and saute for five minutes until the zucchini is slightly tender.
  • Add the dal. Don't add water at this point unless the dal is really dry. The zucchini will express a lot of liquid.
  • Bring the dal to a boil, cover, and cook for five minutes. Add more water at this point if dal is too thick.
  • Stir in curry powder. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle on the cilantro and turn off heat.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

  • This dal is quite creamy already, but for more creaminess add a quarter of a cup of coconut milk at the end, before stirring in the cilantro.
  • To make the dal oil-free, sputter the mustard seeds and saute curry leaves and green peppers in a dry pan. Then add tomatoes and proceed.
  • Sub the toor dal with moong dal or masoor dal if that's what you have.
  • You can use any summer squash in this recipe. If you are making it in winter, use a winter squash.
  • Wherever you are in the world, if you believe in eating locally, use a locally available squash. Indian squashes like bottle gourd, ridge gourd or ash gourd would all be wonderful in here.
  • Any dal can be eaten with plain white or brown rice and/or an Indian flatbread. This zucchini dal is perfect paired with a summery flatbread like mint paratha or grilled naan. Serve an Indian lime pickle and vegan cucumber raita on the side if you want to get really fancy.
Make ahead and storage
  • Make-ahead: You can cook the lentils up to four days ahead of cooking the dal. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Refrigerate: The cooked dal and leftovers can be refrigerated for up to four days.
  • Freeze: The cooked dal can be stored in a freezer-safe container for up to four months.
  • Reheat: Reheat dal in microwave or stovetop. Dal tends to thicken as it stands, so add more water if necessary to thin out. Add more salt if needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 473IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg