Perfect vegbox root veg dhal
Friday, 4th March 2022 by Chen
vegbox dhal with chickpeas

This is it! The holy grail. The perfect vegbox recipe we've been waiting for. This is now my go-to dish to deal with a root veg mountain in my fridge. It really does work with ANY roots. Even better, this recipe makes 8 portions and it freezes well. So that could be a meal for 4 then a night off cooking later on. Or several nights off. Or some packed lunches. It's so much healthier and cheaper than a takeaway, and just as little effort. 

Serve it with a zingy coriander sauce. You can also add spiced roasted chickpeas or crunchy paneer, but it's fine on its own or with rice or naan.


3 tbs vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
large thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped, plus a little more for the chutney
2 tbs black mustard seeds
1 tbs cumin seeds
2 tbs garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli flakes (or more to taste)
800g diced root vegetables (turnip, parsnip, carrot, swede, potato, sweet potato, celeriac, beetroot)
1.5 l veg stock
500g red lentils
stems from a big bunch of coriander, chopped
400ml coconut milk
juice of half a lemon

For the sauce

coriander leaves (left over from above), roughly chopped
leaves from half a dozen sprigs of mint
1 tbs chopped jalapenos
About a teaspoon of chopped ginger 
1 tsp cumin seeds
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp sugar
generous pinch of salt
1 tbs oil

For the roasted chickpeas (optional), enough for 4 portions

400g cooked chickpeas, drained
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt

For the crunchy paneer (optional), enough for 4 portions

220g paneer, cubed
vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt


Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions, garlic and ginger (saving a teaspoon of it for the chutney) over a low heat until the onion has softened (about 10 minutes).
Add the mustard seeds, cumin, garam masala, turmeric and chilli and stir for a minute or two. Then add the root veg and stir again to coat with the spices.

Pour in the stock, then add the lentils and chopped coriander stems and mix well.

Lower the heat and simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally to stop the lentils sticking and adding more water or stock if it dries out.

Then make the sauce. Blitz all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. If you don't have one, chop everything finely and mix well.

To make the chickpeas (if using), preheat the oven to 220C.

Toss the chickpeas with the oil, cumin, coriander, paprika and salt in a bowl. Tip onto a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes until lightly browned, stirring every 5 minutes. 

For the paneer, heat some oil in a frying pan and tip in the paneer pieces. Fry, turning, until brown on several sides. Immediately scoop out onto a plate and scatter the salt, cumin and cayenne over the hot cubes.

Once the lentils and vegatables are cooked, add the coconut milk and heat through.

To serve, scatter the paneer or chick peas on top, if using, then drizzle with the sauce.