Asparagus lentil soup or dal is a thick, spicy and delicious dish that is great to serve with bread/ roti or even with rice. Perfect recipe to use Spring fresh asparagus.
Asparagus is a spring vegetable and I always look forward to buying it in season. It has a delicate flavor and is composed of 93% water. It is very low in calories and in sodium. Asparagus is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, protein etc etc.
I see asparagus all year round in the grocery stores but they tend to be woody when not in season and also very expensive. The in-season asparagus are very tender and reasonably priced. They almost taste like tender green beans and I love it them roasted or grilled.
Being a south Indian, any new veggie is either tried in a rice dish or in a lentil dish. So I tried making a dal with asparagus. Also it cooks up in no time and blends really well in any dish.
I used Pigeon pea lentils aka Toor dal to make this asparagus lentil soup. Red lentils aka masoor dal will also work well in this recipe. Masoor dal cooks much faster and the dish will take less than 30 minutes to make.
Making this recipe in an instant pot or pressure cooker makes it a quick and easy, under 30 minute dish. I have included instructions on how to make the dish in both instant pot or on stove top.
Asparagus Lentil Soup | Asparagus Dal
- 2 tsp Oil
- ½ tsp Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 Dry red chili
- ¼ tsp Hing/ Asafetida
- 6~8 Curry leaves
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 2 Green chilies, slit
- ¼ tsp Turmeric
- 1 bunch of Asparagus, chopped into 1" pieces
- 2 Medium Tomato, chopped
- ½ tsp Red Chili powder (adjust as per taste)
- ½ cup Red Lentils (Masoor dal) or Pigeon lentils (Toor dal)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
Instant Pot Recipe:
- Start IP on 'Saute' Mode - heat oil, add mustard seeds & cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to splutter, add dry red chili, hing and curry leaves.
- Next add the asparagus and turmeric. Cover and cook till asparagus is tender, about 3~5 minutes - depending on the thickness of the asparagus used.
- Add the tomatoes, red chili powder. Cover and cook for another 3~4 minutes or until tomatoes are mushy.
- Add lentils, 1½ cups of water and salt. Mix well.
- Switch IP from saute mode to manual/ pressure cook mode. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes for red lentils and 8 minutes for pigeon lentils.
- Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and stir in lemon juice. If dal looks too thick, add water and cook till heated through. Serve over rice or with bread/ roti.
- Heat 2tsp oil in a pan, add mustard seeds & cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to splutter, add dry red chili, hing and curry leaves.
- Next add the asparagus and turmeric. Cover and cook till asparagus is tender, about 3~5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and red chili powder. Cover and cook for another 3~4 minutes or until tomatoes are mushy.
- Add red chili powder and salt.
- Now stir in the lentils, 2~2½cups of water and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil; lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15~20 minutes for red lentils (masoor dal) and 25~35 minutes for pigeon lentils (toor dal).
- Add lemon juice and serve!!
Here are my top tips on choosing and storing fresh asparagus.
- When choosing asparagus, make sure that the stalks look bright green and firm. Make sure they are not limp and do not have wrinkles.
- Asparagus tips must be tightly closed and compact.
- Make sure that the base of the stem is not dried out or flaky.
- Size does not matter - even thick stalks can be tender and juicy.
- To store in the fridge, treat fresh asparagus like flowers. Cut about 1" off from the base and stand them in a container with little water. Cover the top with a ziplock bag and place the whole thing in the fridge. This way, asparagus stays fresh for more than a week.
- For more information on how to select and store, check out the article at Spruce eats.
Both my picky eaters loved this dal. My especially picky son, who wouldn't touch asparagus with a barge pole, came back for seconds. That is a win-win for me. This dal is now on our regular meal rotation especially in Spring.
Few more Asparagus Recipes:
Linking to this month’s BM# 110 and don’t forget to check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked up today.