We had an unusual (for here) snow storm about a week ago which was followed by an ice storm, a wind storm and another snow storm all the while getting pounded with a continuous blast of arctic air.  I had enough sense to get my arse to the grocery storm right before it hit, but nobody expected that we would all be stuck in as long as we were.  By the end of the week, the fridge and pantry were, of course, looking quite bare. We all had to eat and with no way to get to the store, it was time to bust out my slow cooker and get creative.

I have been itching to use this ground Fenugreek seed that my friend and fellow blogger, Andrea from ThingsILike.com sent me for the Holidays.  We have a small group of moms who are scattered all over the US and Canada who have stuck together since having our kids a couple of years ago. We do a fun secret santa every year.  Andrea knows how much I love experiment with new flavors so she threw in a couple spices from Penzey’s as a (much appreciated) surprise!

This soup was born of out necessity but is now a freezer staple.  It is extremely easy (hello slow cooker), makes the house smell fantastic while simmering away and yields six 2-cup servings which are 4 Points Plus each.  Clearly a winner!

NOTES:

  • Chana Dal are beans.  They are a cousin of chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  I saw them on sale at Whole Foods and bought some to stash in the pantry.  This link is a great resource to learn more about their origin, nutritional profile and where to buy if you don’t see them at Whole Foods, your local Indian Store or in bulk at the natural grocer.
  • TIP: If you don’t usually use the spices in this recipe, just buy what you need from the bulk section instead of picking up jars of each one.
  • My slow cooker is 6.5 Quarts.  I think a 5 or 5.5 Quart would also work for this recipe.
  • I was home so I cooked this soup on HIGH for 4 hours, alternately you could cook it on LOW for 8 hours.
5.0 from 4 reviews

Crockpot Chana Dal with Spinach Soup
 
Prep:

Cook:

Total:

 

4 Points Plus per serving — Recipe Makes 6 Servings — Individual Serving is approximately 2 cups
By:
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 small yellow onions (or 1 large), chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3″ piece ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups chana dal, rinsed and picked over
  • 4 cups broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried chilies
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seed
  • 6 ounces organic baby spinach

Instructions
PREP:
  1. Grab your onion, garlic and ginger.

    Peel and quarter. Pulse in food processor.

  2. Be sure to pick over your dry beans and give them a good rinse. Measure out spices and set aside.
COOK:
  1. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat, once hot, add oil and then onion mixture. Cook approximately five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add spice mixture, cook 1 minute stirring constantly.

    .

  3. Remove from heat and add to slow cooker along with chana dal, broth, water, coconut milk, and crushed tomatoes. Set to cook on HIGH for 4 Hours.
  4. Add baby spinach in for last 15 minutes of cooking time.

    Delicious served with brown rice, Quinoa, couscous or naan bread. Enjoy!