Rice bear under a blanket of dal

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Vegan Dal Blanket covering a blue rice bear

Dal is an easy gluten-free vegan meal you can make with pantry staples. We often serve it with rice, so if you have extra time, you can naturally color your rice with butterfly pea flowers and shape your rice into a cute bear. Your family and instagram followers will love this cute and fun version of traditional dahl and rice.

This recipe makes 8 servings.

Table of Contents

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♫ Listening to ♫

Ouija by Graveyard Club

Do you ever find yourself clutching your warm cup of coffee or tea and wishing you could jump into it to warm up? This is basically a daily occurrence for me in the winter. These rice bears snuggling under their dal blankies are my way of projecting myself into the warmth of my supper.

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Ingredients for Vegan Dal

(jump to the substitutions section to see ingredient details and suggestions for substitutions)

  • 2 yellow onions
  • olive oil (omit if you avoid oil)
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

How to Make Vegan Dal

Sauté onions in oil until soft. Turn to low.

Cook the lentils in water until soft.

Add the lentils to the onions, and add the spices and lemon juice.

Mix well and leave on low heat until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Blue Rice

(jump to the substitutions section to see ingredient details and suggestions for substitutions)

  • 4 cups water
  • small handful of butterfly pea flowers
  • 2 cups bamboo rice

How to Make Blue Rice Bears

Boil the dried butterfly pea flowers in the water for 5 minutes.

Strain the liquid so there are no butterfly pea flower remnants left in it.

Cook the rice in the blue flower-infused water.

Cool the rice enough so you can touch it.

Shape the bear body using a piece of plastic wrap so the rice doesn’t stick to your hands while you shape it.

Spoon the dal into shallow bowls before placing bear body into the dal.

Vegan Blue Rice Bear in Dal

If you want to have a whole bear-themed meal, you can add a side of yam teddy tots. Then for dessert, make these super easy cinnamon roll bears from a can of vegan cinnamon rolls.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Onions: I always use yellow onions because they’re my favorite, but you can use white onions if needed.
  • Oil: Instead of olive oil, you can use safflower, sunflower, avocado, or coconut oil. Other acceptable oils are vegetable oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oil.
  • Red Lentils: There are many kinds of lentils in the lentil world. Red, yellow, green, french, and black. Red lentils is what I use because it’s easy to find. If you can find yellow mung dal, you can use that instead. If you end up buying red lentils and you have some leftover from making this, you can try this Lebanese lentil soup next.
  • Salt: I always use pink sea salt because it has lots of trace minerals in it. You can use whatever salt you have though.
  • Curry Powder: I buy curry powder instead of curry paste because it’s easy to find and I don’t cook a lot of Indian food (except for my chana masala, which doesn’t have curry). However, you can use curry paste instead. If you do have curry powder, you can also use it to make my Kara Kuzhambu.
  • Turmeric: I think you can use fresh turmeric in place of the powdered turmeric, but I haven’t ever tried. I buy turmeric powder because it’s easy to find and lasts a while. If you do have some have turmeric powder that is getting old, you can use it to make my vegan air fryer omelettes.
  • Lemon Juice: Replace the lemon juice in this recipe with lime juice if needed. My neighbor has a lime tree that hangs over my fence and gives me a lot of limes, so I often use lemon and lime interchangeably.
  • Butterfly Pea Flowers: You can use butterfly pea flower powder in place of the butterfly pea flowers. You can also omit this ingredient, but then your rice bear will be white instead of blue.
  • Bamboo Rice: I love bamboo rice because it’s infused with bamboo extract which is actually really good for you. However, I know this ingredient can be hard for find. White sushi rice is a perfect substitute.

Vegan Blue Rice Bear in Dal

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings: 8
  • Calories per serving: 361
  • Protein per serving: 16g
  • Calcium per serving: 37mg
  • Iron per serving: 4mg
  • Potassium per serving: 393mg
  • Total Fat per serving: 2g
  • Total Cholesterol per serving: 0
  • Sodium per serving: 300mg
  • Zinc per serving: 2mg
  • Sugars per serving: 2g
  • Total Carbohydrates per serving: 70g
  • Total Dietary Fiber per serving: 7g
  • Total Folate per serving: 106mcg

Comments or Questions?

If you make this recipe, I would love it if you’d snap a pic, post to instagram, and tag me @vegandollhouse. It seriously makes my day/week/month!

Please message me (instagram or email) if you have any questions or feedback about the recipe.


* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook. I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to buy only organic ingredients. So, I only specify organic on the ingredients that matter: when buying the organic (or non-GMO) version is the only way to ensure that an item is vegan.

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Too cute!
veganinbrighton -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

How utterly gorgeous is this little bear, you kind of don't want to actually eat him! My son would love this, he likes me to make fruit faces for him all the time so a savoury idea is great.
Rebecca Smith -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've never heard of those blue butterfly pea flowers before - fascinating!
Mandy Maz -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Oh wow that is so cute, but I am not sure I could eat it, it looks so cute! The vegan dal sounds delicious.
Kirsty Phillipson-Lowe -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐