A table with a large dish of red lentil dahl, with a plate of poppadoms, dish of rice and a plate served with dal, rice and spinach. A quick curry that's vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.
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5 from 124 votes

Red Lentil Dahl

This quick and easy red lentil dahl is packed with flavour, but is super-simple to make. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Meals
Cuisine: Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 293kcal
Author: Kate Hackworthy | Veggie Desserts

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 onions diced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • ½ finely chopped red chilli (or 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils, uncooked (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can (14oz/400ml) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (14oz/400ml) coconut milk
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable broth/stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach washed

Instructions

Stovetop One-Pot Lentil Dahl

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and red chilli and cook for a few minutes.
  • Grind the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds lightly in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan, along with the turmeric and garam masala and cook for 1 minute. 
  • Add the lentils, tomatoes with their juice, coconut milk and broth/stock, then stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a medium/low heat for 15-20 minutes until reduced and thick. If you have time, you can leave it a little longer on a very low heat for even more flavor (just stir often and check it doesn't scorch on the bottom of the pan).
    Taste and add more chilli if desired. 
  • Stir in the lemon juice and spinach until it wilts. 
  • Serve warm with rice, naan bread or poppadoms.

Instant Pot Lentil Dahl

  • Set the Instant Pot to 'saute' setting and heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes until it gets soft but not browned.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and red chilli and cook for a minute, then turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Grind the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds lightly in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan, along with the turmeric and garam masala and cook, stirring, for 1 minute (there will be enough heat left in the Instant Pot to do this). 
  • Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk and broth/stock.
  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot, close the steam vent and set to Manual (Pressure Cook)/High Pressure pressure using the manual setting, then set the time to 8 minutes. 
    After the time is up, wait for 10 minutes and then carefully use the quick release valve to release remaining pressure, or let the pressure release naturally. 

    Stir in the lemon juice and the spinach until it wilts and serve! 

Slow Cooker Lentil Dahl Recipe

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and red chilli and cook for a few minutes.
  • Grind the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds lightly in a pestle and mortar, then add to the frying pan, along with the turmeric and garam masala and cook for 1 minute. 
  • Add the onion mixture to the bowl of the slow cooker, along with the lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk and broth/stock. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  • Taste and cook longer if necessary for the lentils to be lovely and soft. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice and spinach. 

Video

Notes

  • This dhal is vegan and gluten free
  • The squeeze of lemon really freshens the dal so try not to omit it
  • Freezable - just let it cool completely and then freeze. Defrost and reheat. I freeze this often and it's a staple in my freezer for quick, hearty nourishing meals. 
  • No need to cook the red lentils first. Just rinse the dried red lentils before adding to the pan. 
  • This is a great vegan potluck food and is always a crowd pleaser!

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 733mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1245IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 6.1mg