Detox Dal: A Simple Winter Soup

winter detox soupJanuary used to be the hardest month. Back to school, back to work, back to cold, intense urban environments. Now January is this: Warm soups on lovely days. Writing. Researching. Planning. Walks on the beach. Morning prayers with the sunrise. Sitting by the fire in the evening. Meals with my beloved.

January. Slow. Mindful. Deep. Days of hope. Days of white: snow, skies, interior scapes. Days of spiced tea and hot soups.

Detox Dal Soup

This simple winter soup has been our favorite so far. Made with three basic ingredients: split mung bean, carrots and chard, it’s easy, the way January should be.

It’s easy to make, easy to digest, and easy to love.

split mung beans

detox dal on the stove

Be sure your mung beans are split, otherwise it will require soaking and a longer cooking time, and frankly it just never tastes as good. You can find them at any good Asian or Indian store, or you can order them online here.

A Wintry Dal
Serves 4


1 T ghee (be generous)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T vata spice mixture (see below)
1 t ginger powder
1 t curry powder
1 c SPLIT mung bean, rinsed and drained
4 c vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
4 small to medium sized carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch chard, rinsed and loosely chopped
1 c water
1 T white miso

Seasoning: gf tamari or shoyu, extra virgin olive oil, fresh cracked black pepper
Optional: scallions, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cilantro, sage leaves


Melt your ghee over a medium flame. Sweat the onions, then add the garlic and give it a swirl. Add your spices and swirl again, now for about a minute. Stir in the mung beans. Turn the heat to high, and slowly pour in the vegetable broth. Add the bay leaves. Bring it to a boil, cover and reduce heat.

Allow it to gently boil for about 25 minutes. Add the carrots. Stir and check your liquid levels. It might need another cup of water. If so, add now.

Cook for another 15 minutes and add the chard. Let it sit on top of the soup to steam. Cook until it wilts, about 5-10 more minutes. Stir the chard into the soup. Taste to check if the beans are cooked through. They will be soft if they are done.

When the beans are done, turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the miso, and mix in well.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Season with tamari or shoyu, and a generous splash of olive oil. Sprinkle with cilantro, chopped scallions, roasted seeds, and, optionally, a toasted sage leaf.


Vata Spices
click to print

How well do you know your dals? When I was home visiting my mother recently she shared with me this article from the Chicago Tribune which is a great feast of delicious information about legumes, and how best to prepare. It’s worth a read for any travel, culture or culinary lover.

detox dal

This New Year, I have a brand new, wonderful, online course called New Year New You. It’s full of goodies and powerful tools to help you live your very best life, and shine your gorgeous light. So check it out and see if it resonates with you. If so, sign up quick. We begin this weekend.

If you comment below letting me know you are interested, you will be eligible for a 10% discount (even if you’ve already registered!). I’ll pick randomly tomorrow afternoon.

Again, I wish you a Happy New Year. May it be nourishing and bright.


19 thoughts on “Detox Dal: A Simple Winter Soup

  1. I love your updated thoughts on January – I will try to see this bitterly cold month with your eyes! the soup is simply delicious – the colors are gorgeous.

  2. Oh Laura, your words paint the most vivid picture of your life, simple pleasures, the indulgence of quiet, and nourishing body with hands and heart. I love your writing, I love this recipe already and I love you!

  3. Laura, your words are magical. “January.Slow. Mindful. Deep…” I’ve felt this way about winter and the beginning of a new year myself but hadn’t been able to put the right words to these feelings until now. And this dal looks gorgeous. Loving the vata masala and miso additions. Good luck with the online course, it’s looks like a powerful, gentle, thoughtful, and transformative gift for anyone ready to commit to nourishing themselves.

  4. Slow and steady does it for me! If it was up to me, Winter would last 12 months…the gorgeous photograph with the detail of the Sage leaf brings me back to my childhood, to a time when my Mother would call me to go get a foglia di Salvia from our garden to fry as a garnish for our pumpkin soup…now, everything comes together!

  5. looks so good. I just have a question the recipe calls for split mung beans but the picture looks like yellow lentils. Is there a difference. The mung beans I have used in the past are green and I don’t really care for them but I have been wanting to make a nice soothing dal with the yellow lentils I have at home.

    1. hi christina, thanks for the question! mung beans have a green husk, but when split they are more tan, perhaps with a greenish hue, and sometimes they are yellow. once rinsed, that yellow washes off a bit, so i wonder if they’ve been dusted with turmeric. i only use whole beans for sprouting bc i, like you, don’t care for the taste. but when they are *split* they are tasty, as well as super digestible and good for you in innumerable ways. i’d love to hear if you try it what you think. thx!

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