Chana Dal with Spinach Soup {Slow Cooker}

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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 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!


  • 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 5 reviews
Crockpot Chana Dal with Spinach Soup
4 Points Plus per serving -- Recipe Makes 6 Servings -- Individual Serving is approximately 2 cups
Serves: 6
  • 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
  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.
  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!


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  1. Maddie says

    Yum!! This soup is in the crockpot and it smells amazing!! I can’t wait for my husband to come home and enjoy the tastes and smells!!!

  2. Ann says

    OMG, this soup is to die for. I love anything Indian, but so much of it can be a points disaster. Wonderful and filling. Was so nice to come home to dinner already made after an afternoon of dancing with my border collie. Thanks for another keeper!!

  3. Scott says

    Well, there are some good places in San Diego too believe it or not. Philly Franks here is like walking into a 1980’s cheesesteak shop complete with 80’s sports memorabilia, italian water ice, Herr’s chips and Tastykakes. Since we only eat humane meats, good luck finding a cheesesteak shop that fit’s that bill. I guess I need to just get some Amoroso rolls and some beef from Whole Foods and have at it!

    I am also a sucker for a great hoagie (which is not Subway!!) and soft pretzel (not cold and hard like at the old Veteran’s Stadium). My cheesesteak favorite was Pat’s, but I can’t say that Geno’s is any different. Never tried White House.

    • EverydayMaven says

      It’s true – if you want good quality (meat), you are going to have to make them yourself at this point! White House is the best – next time you back to Philly, try to go there – it’s in Atlantic City but seriously worth the drive just for the sandwiches!!!!

  4. Scott says

    Made this again…great again. My wife isn’t a big fan of it, so I get it all to myself! (still couldn’t find Chana Dal)

    Glad to see how well you are doing since just a year or so ago. But one thing I want to know from one Philly person to another…when will you be posting an Everydaymaven Philly cheesesteak recipe? :)

    • EverydayMaven says

      Great question Scott! I have to admit that I am a bigger fan of hoagies, soft pretzels and Trenton-Style Pizza than cheesesteaks. With that being said, the bread here in Seattle doesn’t compare to what you need to make a “real” cheesesteak so it would be quite the challenge! What is your favorite spot? I am torn between the White House (in Atlantic City) or Geno’s in South Philly!

  5. Amy Webb says

    Look great, but I am new to cooking Indian style foods. How will it taste if I can’t find fenugreek seeds? Are they very important to the flavor profile?

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Amy,
      I haven’t tried this dish without the ground fenugreek and I think it adds a certain complexity but there are a lot of other strong flavors here, so I say if you can’t find it, go for it! Do you live near a Penzey’s spices? I know they carry it!

  6. says

    This recipe sounds tempting. I haven’t had much experience with cooking dried beans, but have heard that cooking dried beans with tomatoes prevents the beans from getting tender. Is that true?

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Dee, Chana Dal cook more quickly than most dried beans and do not need to be soaked (unless you are in a really high elevation as I recently learned!). I have not had this experience with this particular bean so you should be fine! Happy New Year :)

  7. Jenni says

    I LOOOOOOOOVE your website, and have tried many of your awesome recipes. Made your “Spicy Baked Tofu” (my current favorite snack) for a party last week and EVERYONE raved about it, and wanted the recipe…. I just told them – :-) Making this dish tonight for the first time–I don’t have ginger root, but I do have chopped ginger in a jar. How much in tsp/Tbs would be equivalent to 3″ of ginger root?

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Jenni, Sorry I missed this until now – I hope your Chana Dal still came out great! I would have subbed 2 to 3 Tablespoons depending on how potent that jarred ginger is. And thank you so much for the comments – it means a lot to me :)
      Have a great weekend!

  8. says

    I use lentils instead of chana dal and I don’t add the water. I cook it for about 20/30 mins less and its amazing. It turns into a curry instead of a chana dal soup :) serve with rice and naan bread

  9. rebecki says

    This is really good! I had it over rice and added raw spinach and hot sauce (since I forgot to add red peppers).

  10. Katy says

    This is a fantastic soup and has become a staple for us. The leftovers are great to keep in the freezer for a quick and filling lunch or dinner. I like to serve this with a little cilantro and FF natural or greek yogurt. Yum!!

  11. scott says

    My wife and I are on WW for a little while and I was happy to find your site. This soup is awesome and will be a staple whether on WW or not! So much flavor in it. We love Indian style foods so this was a no brainer. We only had chick peas (couldn’t find chana dal easily), but we later found black garbanzos, so we’ll try it with that next time. Keep it up!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Scott! Thank you so much!! I bet the black garbanzos will be delicious. I really appreciate your comments because I think of all of my food as “life food” and not WW food!

  12. Leah says

    This looks great, I think I’ll make it today. I did want to add that the points plus are wrong. I started adding to the recipe builder and the chana and coconut milk alone are 7 points plus per 1/6th of the recipe…

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Leah! I just recalculated and it is indeed 4 Points Plus for one serving based on 6 servings. Make sure you are using “Light Coconut Milk” and dried beans to calculate the points :)

  13. says

    Clipping this in Evernote! Always looking for delicious crockpot stews. The only problem is that I may be the only one in my family who likes food like this. Damn picky eaters!

  14. says

    Hey Alyssa! I’m catching up on my blog reading after getting back from vacation! This looks great…full of flavor and warming! I love Indian food but I’ve never done a homemade version of chana dal — bookmarking this!

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