Indian Spinach Dahl (Lentils) & a review of Extending the Table

Indian-Spinach-Dahl-1 I’ve literally always been a list person. As a young kid, I would meticulously pour over the toy catalogs that came in the mail just after Thanksgiving and then write a thorough list of all my Christmas hopes and dreams, detailing exactly which Rock Tumbler set and which color Pow-Pow-Power Wheels jeep I needed.

So naturally, when Pinterest came around, I did what any normal 29-year-old would do and made myself a visual Christmas list, cleverly titled Want. For the past two years, the cookbook Extending the Table has been on that Pinterest board, and for two years, nobody’s gotten it for me. I knew I’d love it…it’s in the same family of cookbooks as my beloved Simply in Season, as well as More with Less.


You can imagine my surprise when I found a mysterious book-shaped package  on our front porch about a month ago…and inside was Extending the Table. The kind folks over at MennoMedia had sent me a copy of the revised edition – just like a real live blogger!

I spent the next few weeks bookmarking the recipes that caught my eye. The book holds recipes from over ninety countries, plus beautiful pictures of people from around the world, captured making their everyday food in their everyday spaces. The pages are filled with stories and explanations about these global recipes, as well as proverbs from many cultures, including my favorite: “A crazy guest eats and leaves right away.” (Arabic Proverb)


There are just a ridiculous amount of recipes I want to try from this book. I’m hoping it might even help calm down some of the crazy travel-itch I’ve been having. I am totally seeing global-themed dinners in our family’s future…because there’s even a Global Menu index plotted out for various regions of the world: who’s up for Afghani night at our house?

I’m so thankful to have received this book, and I’m sure it will become a regularly used resource in our house, much like Simply in Season and More with Less already have. My first recipe experiment from Extending the Table was, of course, going to be Indian. Indian food just always sounds good to me.


So, because I keep buying too much spinach than I can salad, I went with this simple spinach dahl. It is a !one-pot meal! and perfect for these cooler-than-average polar vortex July days. I might be red lentils’ biggest fan, and they totally shine in this recipe. This dahl is warm and filling with just a touch of freshness from the spinach. And we totally loved scooping up the dahl with some fresh, warm (and super, super easy) chapatis (also from the cookbook).

I hope you’ll check out Extending the Table…and then invite me over for dinner.

Indian Spinach Dahl (Lentils) from Extending the Table

Indian Spinach Dahl (Lentils) from Extending the Table

(recipe from Extending the Table )

(yields 6 servings)


Spinach Dahl:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons whole cumin seed

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped, minced

2 cups red lentils, rinsed

5 1/2 - 6 cups water

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped

3 cups spinach (can use frozen)

1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Chapatis (makes 10):

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon butter, melted

1/2 c. lukewarm (110*) water


Cook the Dahl:

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and lightly brown for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently until golden brown.

Stir in the cumin seed, curry powder, and jalapeno, the lentils. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constnatly, being careful not to burn the spices. Add the water, potatoes, and spinach. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils and potatoes are tender. Once tender, add salt to taste. Top with fresh cilantro when serving.

Serve with rice or...


Mix the flour and salt together. Stir in the melted butter. Gradually add the water, stir until a craggy ball forms, then kenad until the dough is soft. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest 1 hour. Divide dough into 10 pieces. On a floured surface, roll each piece into a 4-inch circle, 1/4-inch thick.

Heat an ungreased frying pan. Cook each chapati until it starts to bubble on the bottom, then turn and fry on the other side and remove. Stack in a tea towel to keep warm.



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2 thoughts on “Indian Spinach Dahl (Lentils) & a review of Extending the Table

  1. Oh …. I love (LOVE!) lists, too!! My favorite part of list making is crossing things off!!! It’s so satisfying, that I literally write ‘take a shower’ on my daily list. (Yeah … I may have a slight problem. Admitting is the first step, right?)
    Know what I’m adding to my list of ‘Foods I Want to Make Soon’ – THIS!!! Seriously every single thing about this looks amazing!
    And … you totally are a real live blogger!! You crack me up, Liz!!

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