Tasty red lentil and sweet potato dal is a perfect nutritious backpacking meal. It's also perfect for tonight's dinner! It dehydrates like a champ and is packed with nutrition!

I have another lovely, truly lovely backpacking meal that you can dehydrate or…yes…Eat it for dinner tonight!

When I make food to take hiking, a few of my go-to’s are vegetarian.  Meatless meals just make my body happy and they dehydrate really well.  They weigh practically nothing and when you’re hiking 15, 20 miles a day, that’s a biggie. But taste counts too…alot.  After hiking all day the last thing I want to do is eat rehydrated cardboard because real talk – I’m crazy-man hungry!

This dal is something that I may cook for lunch or supper at home and the left overs I’ll dehydrate.



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
1 sweet potato, peeled an diced small (about 6 ounces)
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup red/yellow lentils
1 cup finely chopped spinach or kale
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 ounce coconut cream powder
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)


Heat oil over medium heat. When hot add garlic and ginger and sauté for about 1 minute. Add mustard seeds, coriander, curry powder, red pepper flakes, and turmeric. Cook for about 30 seconds more or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, cook for a couple of minutes. They’ll start to break down a bit. Add sweet potatoes, water, coconut cream powder, and lentils. Add hot sauce if using. Combine.

Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium/low and simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the kale/spinach and salt. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Done.

Chow down. Or if you’re going to dehydrate it:

Let it cool a bit and spread what you would consider a serving on your fruit roll up tray or parchment lined tray. Maybe you’ll want to put a vegetable or fruit as the separator between servings they’re small sizes. Depending on your dehydrator, either set it to fruit/veg or 135° for about 8 hours or until dry.

I have found this might take me up to 10 hours if it’s really humid. You might live in the desert and it may not take you a full 8 hours.

Put each serving into zip lock bags or Food Saver bags and vacuum seal. To rehydrate, put the dal in your pot, add 1 to 1.5 cups of water and let it hang out for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat on until rehydrated.

This recipe was inspired by Dirty Gourmet. I’m a huge fan of this site, go check it out. I added a few things, like the coconut cream powder, because I love the flavor it imparts. I use it in other backpacking meals I make or when cooking at home. If you don’t know what it is, this is what it looks like:

I do not get mine on Amazon. I have a wonderful Asian store down the street from me and buy it there. I just wanted you to see it and keep your eyes peeled. I have bought other brands and they are all just as good as this one. I just like the size of this one, 2 ounces, so I only need half for this recipe. Sometimes I’ll toss it in a smoothie. Bonus, according to the package, you can make ice cream, curries (of course) and piña coladas with it!

42 thoughts on “Red Lentil Sweet Potato Dal”

    1. Lara, red or yellow lentils do not require soaking before cooking. They cook really quickly and break down. These are dehydrated after cooking.

  1. Another great recipe! My family is really happy I found the Instant Pot. Thanks again for sharing that! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  2. Jaxx, the first picture made me hungry. Thanks for adding this to the To Grandma’s House We Go link party! Remember to follow all of us, and we hope to see you again this Wednesday!

    1. Thank you Sheri! I’m so glad you checked it out. I’m looking forward to making it after the holidays as a little detox food.

      Following all – check! 🙂

  3. It sounds like a wonderful combination of flavors, and perfect for this season. Thank you for sharing the recipe at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

    1. Your Sweet Potato Dal looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your special post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great weekend and come back to see us real soon!
      Miz Helen

  4. My son is working on his cooking badge for boys scouts–he needs to make trail food. I never thought of dehydrating our own meals. I’m going to have him make this for trail food next spring! Pinned it–thanks for linking up!

  5. Mmmmm. This looks so tasty! We try to eat vegetarian at least once a week, and Indian food is one of our favorites. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. We love Indian food too! I really hate it that I was introduced to it so late in life…what a bummer that I missed out on 30 years of great Indian food. Thanks for checking it out Leslie!

  6. I love Dal, but have never tried it with sweet potato. I managing the creaminess from the potato is a tasty addition 🙂 #TwinklyTuesday

  7. Oh my Jaxx that sounds so delicious. We’re keen hikers and most of the dehydrated food here we can really does taste like cardboard. I’d be very keen to try this once we get ourselves a dehydrator

    1. I just have a cheapy dehydrator from Wal-Mart and it works just fine. This is really comforting and nutritious, which my body just craves after a long hike. Thanks for stopping by crafty!

    1. Oh do Lisa! Butternut squash would work too, but it’s way more work to get to the meat of that thing as compared to a sweet potato!

  8. Red lentil dal is a staple in our home too and I was fascinated to read about dehydrating it and using it when hiking. That’s cool.
    Thanks for sharing it with us at FF!

  9. I love Dahl and this recipe sounds wonderful. I must get some powdered coconut milk, I’m always throwing out what I haven’t used and I hate throwing food out! I think most baby boomers feel that way.

    1. I get you Lindy. I’m not even a boomer and I feel the same way! Don’t you hate it when you need just a tad of something and you’re left with the remaining sitting in a can…like tomato paste or coconut milk!

      Don’t know if you’re big milk drinkers but we just don’t buy milk in my house. We love it, but don’t keep it around. Niko powdered milk is seriously the bomb. You can get it in the Hispanic section at Wal-Mart or wherever and it tastes. just. like. whole. milk. I also take this hiking, I throw some in a zip top bag, add some granola, and when I wake up, cereal and milk.

    1. If you have an Asian store near you, I’m sure they carry some. I usually buy 10 packs at a time because this is not the only backpacking recipe I use it for and I also throw it in tomato soup, coffee, all kinds of things. Thanks for checking it out Alison!

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