Orange Dal with Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Tomato

How is it already May?!?! Is anyone else scratching their head and asking, “Where did this year go?!” It seriously feels like it has FLOWN by. Funny to think that exactly one year ago today, I was hosting a dreamy spring dinner party with ABC Carpet & Home (styled by my dear friend Jenn Elliott Blake) at DRIFT Studio, to announce the upcoming Yellow Table cookbook road trip/Kickstarter campaign. I really think that was one of my favorite nights of all time. And I can’t believe all that has happened since then!

Coming off such a busy, exciting 2014, it’s hard not to put a huge amount of pressure on myself to try and accomplish as much – or more! – than I did last year. Even though it was an incredibly rewarding year, I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion repeatedly, and the workload (and my frazzled state) took a toll on some of my closest relationships. This year, I’ve intentionally tried to take it easier. To work a bit less, spend more time with the people I love, and to be very selective about what projects I take on. Last week in Nashville, I took time to do things that I love – like going on hikes, spending time with my family, and cooking dinner for friends. I sometimes feel like a slacker, though – like I’m not doing enough, or accomplishing enough. (My blog numbers should be higher! My social media following should be growing! I should be making more money!) But I’m trying to respect that there’s a rhythm to life’s seasons – there are times to really push, and times to take a step back, rest, and enjoy. It’s going to get increasingly busier this year as the book release gets closer, but I’m glad I’ve eased into the year.


But enough musing, already – I’ve got a great new recipe to share! To go along with the fluffy homemade naan recipe I shared on Wednesday, I created a spicy Indian dal (essentially, lentil stew). I’ve never been to India, so this is completely my own made-up version of dal. I used tiny “crimson” lentils from my Quinciple box, tomatoes, diced sweet potato, and spinach. It’s super-flavorful, healthy (vegan, in fact!), and easy to make. And an added bonus: it actually tastes better reheated the next day! So make a big pot on Sunday (and some naan, of course), have it for dinner Sunday night and take the leftovers to lunch on Monday or Tuesday. (Insert high five emoji.)

Have a great weekend, friends, and see you all Monday!

xo, Anna


(Photos by Olivia Funk)


Serves 4-6

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juices
1 cup small orange lentils*
2 cups water
4 cups baby spinach
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving
Yogurt, for serving

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potato and saute for 6 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the onion and saute for an additional 4 minutes or until translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon and saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, lentils, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the spinach, and cook over low for 1-2 minutes or until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt (if desired) and some cilantro leaves.

*I used tiny orange lentils (known as “petite crimson lentils”) which cook much quicker than regular lentils. You can any type of lentil, but you’ll need to increase the cooking time from 10 minutes to about 30 minutes.


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