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vegan dal with rice in a white bowl with a spoon on a marble countertop

Red Lentil Dal

This red lentil dal makes the perfect weeknight dinner for the whole family. It's healthy, filling, fragrant, and it comes together in only 25 minutes! 
Course Entrée
Cuisine Indian
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Sina


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • cooked basmati rice
  • naan bread
  • freshly chopped cilantro


  • Finely chop the onion and the garlic. Heat some oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes until it's translucent. 
  • Then add the ginger and the garlic and cook it for 30 seconds. Stir constantly. Then add the spices (cumin, curry powder, coriander, and garam masala) and cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant. 
  • Add the red lentils, the coconut milk, the vegetable broth, and the diced tomatoes and stir well. 
  • Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes without a lid. Stir a few times with wooden spoon during this time. 
  • Season with salt, pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Skip the red pepper flakes for a milder version. 
  • Serve with cooked rice, freshly chopped cilantro, and naan bread. 


  • Please don't cook the dal longer than 15-20 minutes. Otherwise the red lentils will become mushy. You want them just tender. 
  • I used freshly chopped ginger, but frozen ginger or ginger paste would also work if you're short on time. 
  • If you're cooking for kids, omit the red pepper flakes and reduce the cumin. Also make sure you're using mild curry powder. 
  • For even more nutrients, add freshly chopped spinach or baby spinach a minute before the cooking time is over. 
  • If you want to spice things up, you could sauté a small seeded and diced jalapeño together with the ginger and garlic.