Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal

Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal Backpacking

I finally broke down and bought a dehydrator. I’ve played around with dehydrating food in the oven and that works fine most of the time, so for the longest time I couldn’t justify buying yet another kitchen appliance. I also had my heart set on an expensive one, so that further delayed my purchase.

I never imagined that it would be something that I use so much, but we’ve got this thing running at least three days a week! We’ve been trying to eliminate junk food from our diets and my dehydrator has become my secret weapon. My kids LOVE dehydrated fruit and kale chips. The stuff we make in the dehydrator is so much better than what we can buy at the grocery store and much more affordable (especially in the quantities we eat!).

The reason I bought the dehydrator though, is so I could get into making backpacking food. Dal was what I was most excited to try dehydrating, and I’m so happy with how it turns out. In this recipe, I add sweet potatoes and some kale for an extra boost of nutrition, because I always feel like we’re lacking veggies on the trail.

Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal Before Dehydrating

Before you dehydrate this, make sure that the sweet potatoes are broken down enough so that there aren’t huge chunks of them in your dal. If you start with a small enough dice, they should break down pretty quickly, but if it seems like the dal is pretty chunky anyway, you can mash it up a bit with a potato masher. This will prevent chewy bites of sweet potato in your rehydrated dal.

Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal Dehydrating

When the dal is dehydrated, it will be crumbly. You can just throw it in a bag. Don’t worry about breaking it up in small pieces or blending it.

Dehydrated Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal Before

If you’re car camping, you don’t have to dehydrate this. You can make it at camp or even make it at home ahead of time and freeze it. Then use it as an ice pack in your cooler for the first day or two of your trip.

Backpacking Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal

Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal Backpacking

Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal

Yield

2 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time

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Activity Guide

Backpacking, Bike Touring

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch of red chile flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1 sweet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and diced small
  • 1 3/4 cups water, plus additional water for rehydrating
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale or spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Tools

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Medium pot
  • Stove
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Dehydrator
  • Parchment paper or nonstick dehydrator sheets
  • Zip-top bag or other container

Method

At Home:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium pot. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for about a minute. Add the mustard seeds, coriander, red chile flakes and turmeric. Stir fry for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or two, until the tomatoes break down a bit. Add the sweet potatoes, water, and red lentils. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and lentils are tender. Add the kale or spinach and the salt. Continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. Taste and add additional salt and/or chile flakes.
  2. Let the dal cool slightly (just so it’s easier to handle), then spread on a parchment-lined (or use a nonstick dehydrator sheet) dehydrator tray. You may need to use a couple of trays depending on the size of your dehydrator.
  3. Dehydrate at 135 degrees F for about 8 hours, or until completely dry.
  4. Package dehydrated dal in a heavy duty zip-top bag or container of your choice.

At Camp:

  1. Place dehydrated dal in a pot with 1 1/2 cups water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Heat dal on a stove until hot and fully rehydrated. This should only take a minute or two. Serve hot with rice or flatbread.

9 thoughts on “Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal

  1. So how much of the Dal do you rehydrate? all of it? is this a single portion meal? I would be cooking and packing for one so not sure about portion size. Thanks!

    1. Hi Terry,
      The recipe serves two people. If you’re not going to serve it with rice or bread, it might only be enough for one person though. Hope that helps!
      Aimee

  2. This was stunningly delish. Grateful I stumbled across your blog. Me and my kiddo will continue to make a.lot of your recipes. Insanely good.

  3. The family and I are planning a 28 camping spree in the next week and have used almost all your recipes.

    I love to cook and these are amazing for the trail. I hope you keep up making and posting recipes as we will continue to use, share and add them to our trail cookbook.
    Breakfast is one we find hardest to switch up.
    Once again thank you for all your recipes and sharing them to the public

    Have a great day
    Tyler

    1. Thanks @Tyler! We’re so glad you’re enjoying them. Please let us know if you make any variations or new recipes that we should test out. We love to hear how things are adapted for others’ experiences. It’s good to know that breakfast needs to be a focus. We’ll keep that in mind as we test. Have a great trip!

    1. GMan, I was thinking the same thing, but how well would the ghee dehydrate? Can you share any experience with that? This recipe looks amazing, and seeing as I’m making it tomorrow, will be curious to see if it will matter in the flavour.

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