Red Lentil & Wheatberry Dal

with fresh cilantro

Sometimes I’m at a loss as to what words to throw up here because a lot of the time, each day kind of seems to be the same. It’s a struggle to string even remotely interesting sentences together without seeming like I’m completely full of it. We do keep busy and I’m not usually just hanging around my apartment all weekend, or even most weeknights, but in general we did the same thing this weekend as we did the weekend before that and the weekend before that. I don’t mean for it to sound like some sad, depressing scenario. It’s absolutely not. But maybe it’s a little boring for you to read every week. I think having a blog is one of the reasons I do go out and do things a lot of the time. I need something to write about! Or at the very least, my increasing addiction to Instagram and unhealthy desire to post pretty photos once or twice a day gets me off the couch. Thank you, mobile telephone, for allowing me to go out and document my semi-adventures while still remaining firmly in front of some kind of screen.

Red Lentil & Wheatberry DalSnow outside, pizza envelope from Roberta’s, a haul from Marlow & Daughters and smoked meat poutine from Mile End Deli.

So, having said that, why don’t I go ahead and tell you all about my weekend anyway? Friday night, Kramer and I actually went to the gym (shocker) before going to Noorman’s Kil for a friend’s birthday party. I even scored a sweet Cabbies of New York calendar to bring as a gift. Obviously it was a hugs hit. That ended up being sort of a late night, so we didn’t get up on Saturday until around 10ish. We ate leftover pizza for breakfast, had some coffee and watched Helix before I hastily wrapped a present and went to a friend’s baby shower. I had never been to a baby shower before. It was a little overwhelming, to be honest. But I’m super happy for my friend and her husband. They are going to be crazy cool parents. I mean, they live in Brooklyn so it’s kind of a given. That night, Kramer, Morgan and I ate a pretty delicious dinner at Dear Bushwick. We had soft-cooked and smoked eggs, crispy pork belly, cheese and pickle toast, baked oysters and bread, fried potato peels, and smokey beef shank terrine with onion jam (with a few cocktails, too). Afterward, we went to Miles nearby for drinks with a few other people. Sunday was another sleep-in day, then met up with some friends at Roberta’s for a pizza and pastrami (yep) filled brunch. I spent the rest of the day cooking while Kramer did homework, followed by wings and a True Detective viewing. I wish every weekend could end that way.

Red Lentil & Wheatberry Dal

I made this dal for Kramer and I to eat for lunch for the week at work. I love dal and always order either it or chana masala when we order Indian food at home. Allow me to have a sidebar moment to say that one of the many reasons I love living in New York is that I can order excellent Indian food at almost any time I want right to my doorstep. It’s a beautiful thing. Anyway, Dal is a kind of stewed lentil dish, and it’s amazingly versatile. It is typically a vegan or vegetarian dish (this particular recipe is vegan), but you can add a protein into the mix, if you want (bacon wouldn’t be the worst addition, for example). To make my dal a bit more substantial for a hearty winter lunch, I added wheatberries, which are a lovely little grain that will fill you up without weighing you down. You can definitely use quinoa or couscous or some other grain in its place, but I like the slightly chewier texture that you get with wheatberries, as they are a whole grain that haven’t been processed yet and the hull stands up to long cooking times. The creamy red lentils paired up against the wheatberries, along with the aromatic onions, peppers and spices just makes me happy. I had to pack up and put this dish away once it was done cooking, because I kept sneaking spoonfuls of it while I was shooting and cooking other things. Don’t let the name or ingredients scare you. If you’re trying to eat more balanced meals this year, start with something like this dal! I promise that you will love it.

Red Lentil & Wheatberry DalMorgan fixing Kramer’s back, adorably named Ryes and Shine from Shiner Bock beer, the ticket stubs that just fell out of Morgan’s wallet and me trying unsuccessfully to wrap a present 5 minutes before I needed to leave the house (in true form).

Red Lentil & Wheatberry DalSoften your onion and peppers, then add in your garlic and spices.

Red Lentil & Wheatberry DalAdd in your wheatberries and water, cook for 10 minutes, then add in your lentils and additional water, cover and cook until tender.

Red Lentil & Wheatberry DalServe with a splash of olive oil, fresh cilantro and a pinch of salt.

Red Lentil & Wheatberry Dal

Red Lentil & Wheatberry Dal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A thick Indian stew of red lentils, wheatberries, onions and spices.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cubanelle or bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup wheatberries
  • 5 cups of water, divided (3 cups + 2 cups)
  • 1 pound red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • bunch of cilantro leaves
  1. Heat your olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add in your sliced onion and peppers, and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium, then add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add in your cumin, ginger, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, pepper flakes and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  2. Add in your wheatberries, then add 3 cups of water. Turn the heat up to medium-high, bring the wheatberries to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the lentils and an additional 2 cups of water, bring the lentil mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. If the lentils are still a bit chewy, cook for an additional 10 minutes or so, adding more water if needed. Stir in the honey or agave. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of salt.


7 Responses

  1. I <3 Indian food. This sounds so flavorful, and satisfying!

  2. Love your addition of wheatberries! This sounds soooo good. I think you should keep writing about your life! It’s a fun read and after all, your blog is about whatever you want it to be. And I keep gleaning restaurant ideas for when we visit Brooklyn in April :)

  3. Kathy Shimer says:

    I enjoy reading about your adventures, so keep it up. Of course, I enjoy your recipes, too! I laughed over your photo of the Shiner beer. When we were on vacation last year, my husband drank a six pack of Shiner beer. The beer did not agree with him, and he vomited, and vomited. Now this is a guy who can hold his beer, so I gave him a few jabs the next day over the beer.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Julie says:

    I cooked off as much liquid as possible on a portion of this and used it as a wrap filling. It was like a massive Indian food burrito and there is absolutely nothing not great about that combination.

  5. gretchenjones says:

    This look delicious and I love the look of your site! Super creative and simple–something I definitely haven’t seen before!

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