Quick Weeknight Meal: Make-Ahead Indian Dahl

We love the spices in Indian dishes, and dahl is pretty simple to make. However, it still takes about an hour to prep it and some accompanying rice - on many weeknights that kind of time simply isn't there. Lucky for us, dahl freezes and reheats very well. Here's what we do to keep from resorting to those prepackaged microwave Indian meals from the grocery shelf:

  • Dahl is simple, but it has a lot of ingredients. On some weeknights, you just don't have the time to deal with lots of prep and measuring out a dozen different seasonings.
  • On a day when you have some extra time, prepare your favorite dahl recipe. We use this one from Veg Web as a base but add fresh ginger and tomatoes. Make a double batch!
  • Divide the finished product into freezer bags. We divide a double recipe into about three two-serving bags.
  • On busy weeknights when you don't have time to make dinner from scratch, pull a bag out, reheat and serve. Make it even faster by thawing in the fridge while you're away at work.

We often reheat the dahl with a bag of cooked frozen rice, all in a pot together. Add a little moisture in the form of water (or coconut milk!). Toss-ins at the time of reheating can include a handful of fresh spinach. Cover and reheat. The spinach will cook down and be ready by the time the meal is thoroughly reheated. Our favorite part about serving this quick make-ahead meal on a busy weeknight? Cleanup = one pot!

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Other serving ideas:

  • After reheating and plating, top with a dallop of yogurt.
  • Reheat with coconut milk.
  • Reheat and serve with cooked frozen rice.
  • ...OR bake up a batch of naan in advance and keep some in the freezer. Reheat a few in the toaster when you're heating up the dahl. Here are some recipes for making the Indian flatbread at home.

Related: Good Question: Make-Ahead Frozen Meals Sans Canned Soups

(Images: Regina Yunghans)

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