This delicious red lentil dal is high in protein, perfectly spiced and highly flavorful. It’s also ready in 30 minutes, perfect for easy weeknight meals.
When you want something super healthy and high in protein that still easily fits into the realm of comfort food, then you want some red lentil dal, also known as red lentil dahl.
Whether you call it dal or dahl this spicy, creamy and comforting meal is exactly what you want for an easy and delicious dinner.
It’s similar to our vegan lentil curry, but it cooks up even faster since it uses red lentils which cook up really quick. So this is a very fast dinner option that comes together in around 30 minutes, tastes wonderful and also keeps very well, so make a big pot.
It’s a fabulous mix of spices, coconut milk, red lentils and vegetable broth that simmers away until you’re left with a fragrant and delicious meal.
And if you love easy and delicious recipes that are ready in 30 minutes or less, then you’ll also love our vegan chana masala.
How To Make Lentil Dal
You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.
- Add olive oil to a pot along with chopped onions, crushed garlic and minced ginger and sauté until the onions are softened.
- Add in turmeric, coriander powder, cinnamon, curry powder and dried red lentils and sauté the lentils in the spices briefly.
- Add chopped tomato, vegetable stock and coconut milk and mix in.
- Bring it to a simmer and then turn down the heat and cover the pot and leave to simmer, checking it and stirring regularly, until the lentils are cooked. Keep an eye out as they cook fast.
- Add coconut sugar (for flavor balance) and salt and pepper to taste.
Don’t over-cook it. This is the most important tip because not only do red lentils cook fast, they also go from perfectly cooked to over-cooked mush very fast. So if you leave it just a few minutes longer then you should, it will be more like a lentil mash than a lentil dal.
The lentils take around 10-15 minutes to cook from the moment the pot reaches a simmer. So it’s really super fast.
Use canned full fat unsweetened coconut milk. This is crucial to a wonderfully rich dal with a perfect blend of flavors.
Coconut sugar is for flavor balance only, it does not make the recipe sweet. You can substitute it for brown sugar if you prefer.
We used dried red lentils which works wonderfully in this dal. They cook really fast and also have a lovely yellow/orange color when cooked. You can use dried red lentils or dried split red lentils.
Serve it with rice (we used basmati rice), some crispy poppadoms on the side and some fresh chopped cilantro. A swirl of coconut milk or coconut cream is an optional topping as well.
Storing and Freezing
This lentil dal also keeps beautifully in the fridge for 4-5 days, so if you have leftovers it’s ideal for lunch the next day and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove.
It’s also freezer friendly if you’d like to freeze some.
More Lentil Recipes
- Lentil Bolognese
- Vegan Lentil Curry
- Vegan Lentil Soup (Middle Eastern Style)
- Vegan Sloppy Joes
- Vegan Bolognese
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!
Red Lentil Dal
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion White, Yellow or Brown, chopped
- 1 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
- 1 tsp Minced Ginger
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Curry Powder Mild or Spicy
- 2 cups Dried Red Lentils (400g)
- 14 ounces Canned Chopped Tomato (400g)
- 3 cups Vegetable Stock (720ml) or Broth
- 14 ounces Canned Coconut Milk (400ml) Full Fat, Unsweetened
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For Serving (Optional):
- Basmati Rice
- Fresh Chopped Cilantro
- Add the olive oil to a pot along with the chopped onions, crushed garlic and minced ginger and sauté until the onions are softened.
- Add the turmeric, coriander powder, cinnamon, curry powder and red lentils and sauté the lentils in the spices briefly and then add the canned chopped tomato, vegetable stock and coconut milk.
- Bring it to a simmer and then turn down the heat and cover the pot and leave to simmer, checking it and stirring regularly, until the lentils are cooked. Keep an eye out as they cook fast*.
- Add in some coconut sugar (for flavor balance) and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with basmati rice and fresh chopped cilantro with some poppadoms on the side (optional).
- The coconut sugar can be replaced with light brown sugar or other sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar on hand. This is just for flavor balance and doesn’t make the dish sweet, however you can also omit it if you prefer.
- Be very careful not to over-cook your lentils. Red lentils cook so fast and just a few extra minutes can take them from perfectly cooked to over-cooked mush. They take about 10-15 minutes to cook from the point that the pot has come to a simmer.
- Nutritional information is for the dal only and excludes rice.
- Keep leftovers stored in the fridge in a covered container for 4-5 days. It is also freezer friendly.
- This recipe was first published in January 2018.