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Samah Dada makes the 'best dal ever' and 2 comforting vegan desserts

This dal is my favorite — it's comforting, hearty and the perfect weeknight companion.
/ Source: TODAY

Samah Dada, star of TODAY All Day's #Cooking and author of "Love to Cook It: 100 Plant-Based Recipes for Everyone at Your Table," is cooking up some of her favorite, comforting vegan and gluten-free recipes. She shows us how to make the "best dal ever," pretzel-studded tahini cookies and chocolaty peanut butter-caramel bars finished with flaky sea salt.

The Best Dal Ever

Dal was always on the table when I was growing up, thanks to my mom. I wanted to create my own signature dal recipe, and this is it! It's creamy and rich from the coconut milk, and tangy from the lemon juice. The tomatoes add sweetness and I love adding a bit of sneaky spinach to add some greens to my day. This dal is my favorite — it's comforting, hearty and the perfect weeknight companion.

Pretzel Tahini Cookies

Peanut butter-filled pretzels absorbed my youth, so it felt only right that I pay homage to them with a twist — that twist being tahini! These cookies fall closer to the cake side of the spectrum than the cookie side, which I absolutely adore — especially when contrasted by salty, crunchy pretzels. The sweetness from the coconut sugar and maple, earthiness from the tahini and salty pretzels create the most magical combination that will keep you coming back for more.

Salted Peanut Butter-Caramel Bars

This is my dream dessert. In these Salted Peanut Butter Caramel Bars, peanut butter is used along with Medjool dates and coconut sugar to create a silky and delicious date caramel that rests on a shortbread crust. To top everything all off — how could I forget it? — chocolate! A dark chocolate coating brings both the crisp shortbread layer and caramel layer together to create a bar that will probably visit you in your dreams. While this dessert is decadent, every single layer uses all real ingredients, also making it perfectly acceptable afternoon sweet treat whenever you need a pick-me-up.

If you like those gluten-free recipes, you should also try these: