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  • Writer's pictureDr. Hansra

Boost your health & lose weight with easy to make Indian style split pea soup

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

Indian style split pea soup or "dal" is a staple of Indian cuisine. As a child I grew up eating this flavorful soup but as an adult I now realize how healthy dal actually is. Furthermore, it is so easy to make: simply put a couple simple ingredients in a crock pot and forget about it. A few hours later you have a masterful delight! Dal is low in calories (1), high in plant based protein (1), fiber (1), and vitamins and minerals (1) making it an ideal food to boost your health in a variety of ways.


  1. Ground roasted cumin, 1 Tbsp. (15ml)

  2. Onion, 1 medium chopped

  3. Garlic, 1 large clove

  4. Yellow split pea*, 2 cups

  5. Water, 10 cups (1: 5 pea: water ratio)

  6. Olive oil (2 Tbsp. 30 ml)

  7. Salt, 1 Tbsp. (15ml)

  8. Ground turmeric 1 Tbsp. (15ml)

  9. Optional: cumin seeds 1 Tsp. (5ml)

  10. Optional: pepper sauce 1-2 Tbs. (5-10ml)

*Works well with green split peas or any dried lentils as well!

"Learn how to make a wide variety of functional plant based dishes so you don't get bored with eating the same things and fall off your diet plan" - Dr. Damien Hansra MD

Instructions using a crockpot

  1. Place peas, water, turmeric, ground cumin, salt in a crockpot*

  2. Place on high heat for 4 hours

  3. After 4 hours use a whisk to break down any remaining peas until the mixture becomes smooth and homogeneous (it shouldn't be lumpy)

  4. In a separate pan on medium heat place oil, cumin seeds (optional), garlic, and onion and cook down for about 7-10 minutes until garlic and onions start to slightly brown.

  5. Add the onion, garlic, cumin seed, oil mixture to the soup and stir.

*Crockpot is easiest and delivers a smooth texture compared to traditional oven top. You also don't need to pre-soak the peas.

Instructions using traditional stove top

  1. Place split peas in water and leave overnight for 12 hours

  2. Drain overnight water from the split peas and re-wash the dried peas

  3. Place peas, water, turmeric, ground cumin, salt in a large pot

  4. Bring the mixture to a boil then place on low heat to let simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours until all the peas are dissolved (use a whisk to break down any remaining peas)

  5. In a separate pan on medium heat place oil, cumin seeds (optional), garlic, and onion and cook down for about 7-10 minutes until garlic and onions start to slightly brown.

  6. Add the onion, garlic, cumin seed, oil mixture to the soup and stir.

"Incorporate a wide variety of beneficial spices in your diet to boost health" - Dr. Damien Hansra MD

What's the bottom line?

Pulses are a type of leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, lentils, and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses. Consumption of pulses including yellow split peas (Pisum sativum L.) is associated with a variety of health benefits (2) including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (3-5), lower cholesterol (3-5), lower risk of obesity (3, 6, 7), and lower risk of certain cancers (3, 8-10). Yellow peas are also very inexpensive and easy to prepare making them an ideal functional food.

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) seeds are used whole or ground in many cuisines found predominantly in Asia and Middle Eastern countries (11). Cumin has been shown to reduce cholesterol (12), improve diabetic parameters (13, 14, 15), and reduce inflammation (13), reduce obesity (12,14,15) in some human studies.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn) is a spice that has long been used for its medicinal properties and is a major source of the polyphenol curcumin (16, 17). Curcumin has exhibited anticancer and inflammatory properties in many laboratory studies (17). Curcumin has been found in numerous clinical trials to safely and effectively treat arthritis (18,19) which is likely the result of curcumin's potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (20). In addition to arthritis, other potential benefits of curcumin include metabolic syndrome (21), high cholesterol (21), anxiety (21), cancers (22), digestive disorders (22), other inflammatory disorders (21,22). Curcumin has been designated by the FDA as "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS) (23). Some studies have shown safety in humans at doses up to 12 g/day (23). Of note, different types of curcumin preparations are being sold due to increased rates of absorption and therefore increased potential benefits. Two popular formulations shown to increase absorption are curcumin with black pepper and curcumin with phospholipids (also known as phytosome) (22).

Dal is not only great for your health, cheap, and easy to make, but also dal is a great way to keep you hydrated and lose weight. Dal is low in calories (about 200 calories per serving) but has a high water content ( 5 x more water than peas ) so it keeps you full longer with minimal calories. Furthermore, dal keeps you full due to relatively high protein and fiber content which keeps away unwanted cravings.

"Substituting high water content nutrient rich soups for some meals will keep you hydrated, nourished, and keep you on track with your weight loss goals." - Dr. Damien Hansra MD

Remember: The little things add up to something big when trying to achieve your health goals including weight loss. Substituting high water content soups for regular meals will keep you hydrated, nourished, and keep you on track with your health goals. Dal is a great meal to incorporate into your diet with numerous potential health benefits. Go ahead and try it!

Stay tuned on more ways to get healthy at:


  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural research service. Yellow split peas. Accessed 10/25/20.

  2. Dahl WJ, Foster LM, Tyler RT. Review of the health benefits of peas (Pisum sativum L.). Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 1:S3-10.

  3. Singh B, Singh JP, Shevkani K, Singh N, Kaur A. Bioactive constituents in pulses and their health benefits. J Food Sci Technol. 2017;54(4):858-870. doi:10.1007/s13197-016-2391-9.

  4. Anderson JW, Major AW. Pulses and lipaemia, short- and long-term effect: potential in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Br J Nutr. 2002 Dec;88 Suppl 3:S263-71.

  5. Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, Loria C, Vupputuri S, Myers L, Whelton PK. Arch Intern Med. 2001 Nov 26; 161(21):2573-8.

  6. Marinangeli CP, Jones PJ. Pulse grain consumption and obesity: effects on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, body composition, fat deposition and satiety. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 1:S46-51.

  7. McCrory MA, Hamaker BR, Lovejoy JC, Eichelsdoerfer PE. Pulse consumption, satiety, and weight management. Advances in Nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). 2010 Nov;1(1):17-30.

  8. Adebamowo CA, Cho E, Sampson L, Katan MB, Spiegelman D, Willett WC, Holmes MD. Dietary flavonols and flavonol-rich foods intake and the risk of breast cancer. Int J Cancer. 2005 Apr 20;114(4):628-33.

  9. Haydé VC, Ramón GG, Lorenzo GO, Dave OB, Rosalía RC, Paul W, Guadalupe LP. Non-digestible fraction of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) modulates signalling pathway genes at an early stage of colon cancer in Sprague-Dawley rats. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 1:S145-54.

  10. Campos-Vega R, Oomah BD, Loarca-Piña G, Vergara-Castañeda HA. Common Beans and Their Non-Digestible Fraction: Cancer Inhibitory Activity-An Overview. Foods. 2013 Aug 2;2(3):374-392.

  11. Wikipedia. Cumin. Accessed 10/26/20.

  12. Zare R, Heshmati F, Fallahzadeh H, Nadjarzadeh A. Effect of cumin powder on body composition and lipid profile in overweight and obese women. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Nov;20(4):297-301.

  13. Jafari S, Sattari R, Ghavamzadeh S. Evaluation the effect of 50 and 100 mg doses of Cuminum cyminum essential oil on glycemic indices, insulin resistance and serum inflammatory factors on patients with diabetes type II: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Tradit Complement Med. 2016;7(3):332-338. Published 2016 Dec 21.

  14. Taghizadeh M, Memarzadeh MR, Asemi Z, Esmaillzadeh A. Effect of the cumin cyminum L. Intake on Weight Loss, Metabolic Profiles and Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress in Overweight Subjects: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;66(2-3):117-24.

  15. Taghizadeh M, Memarzadeh MR, Abedi F, Sharifi N, Karamali F, Fakhrieh Kashan Z, Asemi Z. The Effect of Cumin cyminum L. Plus Lime Administration on Weight Loss and Metabolic Status in Overweight Subjects: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2016 May 23;18(8):e34212.

  16. Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017;6(10):92. Published 2017 Oct 22.

  17. Anand P, Thomas SG, Kunnumakkara AB et al., “Biological activities of curcumin and its analogues (Congeners) made by man and Mother Nature,” Biochemical Pharmacology, vol. 76, no. 11, pp. 1590–1611, 2008.

  18. Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. K Med Food. 2016 Aug 1; 19(8): 717-729.

  19. Shep D, Khanwelkar C, Gade P. et al. Safety and efficacy of curcumin versus diclofenac in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized open-label parallel-arm study. Trials 20, 214 (2019).

  20. Tabrizi R, et al. The effects of curcumin-containing supplements on biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytother Res. 2019 Feb;33(2):253-262.

  21. Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of its' Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017 Oct 22;6(10).

  22. Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma longa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Research. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53.

  23. Gupta SC, Patchva S Aggarwal BB. Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. AAPS J. 2013 Jan; 15(1): 195-218.


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