Red Lentil Dahl (Easy Indian Recipe) (2024)

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This Easy Indian Red Lentil Dahl recipe is a must-try if you’re looking for a flavorful curry, soup, or stew dish, that’s vegan and protein-rich. It’s delicious, healthy and one of the best lentil dishes to warm you up in winter or for cold weather.

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You can’t go wrong with this Indian Lentil Dahl, it’s pretty easy to make and you can make various variations to fit your taste. This dish is also rich in micro- and macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein, so it nourishes your body perfectly. The ingredients are inexpensive and very simple. Let’s get started!

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What is Lentil Dahl

If India has a staple dish, it has to be Dahl (also spelled Daal, Dhal, or Dal). Whether you’re rich or poor, everybody eats this dish. While “Dahl” is a term used for dried, split pulses or legumes such as lentils, dried peas, and beans, it is also the of the dish itself – A flavorful curry or rather soup that is more similar to a thick stew. And though lentil dishes have been around for a long time in India, the history of daal dates far way back in a period in which lentils were probably a staple food all over South Asian countries.

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Lentil Dahl Recipe Variations

From ingredients to flavors, you can practically add your own twist to this recipe. While soft-boiled lentils give a wonderfully creamy, thick, soup-like consistency, many traditional Dahl recipes are also prepared with other split pulses such as beans, chickpeas, or peas. However, there are now a variety of newer recipe variations that include other spices, additional vegetables, and even meat or meat alternatives.

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Here are some of the most popular dal variationsyou could prepare this recipe with:

  • Chana Daal – are chickpeas that are cleaned, hulled, and split after harvesting. It’s a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic and Indian cuisine.
  • Urad Daal – or known as the “black gram” is a staple ingredient in East Indian recipes. It has high protein content and the primary ingredient in south Indian dosa and idli.
  • Panchratna Daal – means “five jewels” in Hindi/Urdu. Five varieties of daal are combined creating a distinct flavor.
  • Masoor Daal – is characterized by its red color, these are split red lentils that cook fast and don’t require pre-soaking. This is also what we use in today’s recipe.

Now if you’re interested in trying out another dahl recipe, you would love myYellow Lentil Dal! This Indian Lentil soup like today’s recipe is healthy and perfect for cold weather.

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How to make Indian Red Lentil Dahl

Craving for something healthy yet filling recipe? Let’s start making this lentil dahl!

First, in a skillet or saucepan, heat the coconut oil. Toss the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. After that, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute until fragrant. Lastly, add your spices and sauté for a few seconds to bring out the flavors.

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Rinse the lentils under cold running water in a fine-mashed sieve. Then toss them in the skillet with the onion mixture. Pour in the vegetable broth and stir, bring to a simmer. For 8-10 minutes, cook covered until the water is almost absorbed by the lentils. Add the coconut milk and strained tomatoes (if using), simmer for another 5-10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. (Tip: If the sauce is too thick or if you’d like to serve this Indian lentil dish as a soup, add a more broth or coconut milk until your desired consistency is reached.)

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Then, season with salt, pepper coconut sugar, and lime or lemon juice to taste. And for the final touch, garnish your Indian red lentil dahl with a swirl of non-dairy yogurt, freshly chopped parsley or coriander, and sesame seeds or other toppings you like. You can serve it over rice or with homemade vegan naan or aloo paratha oruse your Indian lentil curry as a filling for your favorite hearty pancake, crêpes, ortortilla recipe. Enjoy!

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Can you make it ahead?

Yes! This is also a fitting meal if you’re doing meal preps. Just make sure to use fresh ingredients to preserve the taste once you refrigerate or freeze them. When you’re ready toserve it, you can simply reheat it on the stove with a little additional water or warm it in the microwave.

Storage and freezing instructions

Got some leftovers or did you set aside some for later? Here’s how to store it:

  • Store in an airtight container and put inside the refrigerator, it will last for 3-5 days.
  • Want to keep them longer? Freeze it for future meals!

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Tips for making the best Lentil Dahl

Want to make the best lentil dahl? Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Which lentils?– make sure to use fresh/new and high-quality lentils. This is an essential ingredient so this will affect the taste of the recipe. Basically you can use any kind of lentils you like. However, keep in mind that you may have to adjust the cooking time, as it can vary depending on the type. It is best to simply check the instructions on the package.
  • Rinse – get rid of any husks or other debris before cooking your lentil dal.
  • Timing is everything – cook the lentils until soft but not for too long or they will get mushy.
  • Fresh ingredients – using fresh lemon juice, flavorful tomatoes, organic coconut milk, and high-quality seasonings can make a huge difference in taste.

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This Indian Red Lentil Dahl Recipe is:

  • Vegan, Plant-based
  • Gluten-free
  • Diary-free (lactose-free)
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Satisfying
  • Protein-Rich
  • Flavorful
  • Creamy
  • Comforting
  • So delicious
  • The perfect vegan weeknight dinner!

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Did you enjoy this recipe?

If you loved this recipe, you might want to try these Indian inspired recipes:

  • Vegan Black Lentil Curry
  • Lentil Meatballs in Indian Curry Sauce
  • Aloo Paratha
  • Indian Chickpea Curry

If you try this Vegan Red Lentil Dahl recipe, please leave a comment and a rating on how you liked it! And if you take a picture of your Indian lentil curry soup and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka, because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking!

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Indian Red Lentil Dahl

Author: Bianca Zapatka

This Easy Indian Red Lentil Dahl is a must-try if you’re looking for a flavorful curry, soup, or stew recipe. It’s delicious, healthy and one of the best lentil dishes to warm you up in winter or for cold weather.

4.99 von 648 Bewertungen

Print Pin Review

Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 20 minutes mins

Course Lunch & Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup

Cuisine Indian

Servings 4 Servings

Calories 458 kcal


For the Dahl

  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil or other neutral oil for frying
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp ginger minced (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red paprika powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala or other curry powder to taste
  • 1 ⅔ cups (300 g) dry red lentils
  • 3 ¼ cups (780 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) strained tomatoes or chopped tomatoes, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar or to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp lime or lemon juice or to taste

To serve (optional)


  • *Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step photos above for visual instruction!

  • Heat the coconut oil in a skillet or saucepan. Add the chopped onions, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Then add the garlic and ginger sauté for another minute until fragrant. Lastly, add the spices, and sauté for a few seconds to unfold flavors.

  • Place the lentils in a fine-mashed sieve and rinse until cold running water. Then add them to the onion mixture in the skillet. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Cook covered for 8-10 minutes, or until the lentils have absorbed most of the liquid.

  • Add the coconut milk and strained tomatoes (if using) and simmer another 5-10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. (If the sauce is too thick, add a little more broth or coconut milk, until the desired consistency is reached). Season with salt, pepper, coconut sugar, and lime juice to taste.

  • Garnish your dahl with a swirl of non-dairy yogurt, fresh chopped parsley or coriander, and sesame seeds or other toppings you like. Serve over rice or with homemade vegan naan or aloo paratha or use it as a filling for your favorite heartypancake,crêpes, ortortilla recipe. Enjoy!


  • Storage & freezing: Store leftover dahl in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days or freeze for the future.
  • Nutrition information doesn't include rice.
  • Please read my blog post for tips, recipe variations, and further information.


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 799mg | Potassium: 1122mg | Fiber: 25g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 777IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 9mg

Nutrition is calculated automatically and should be used as estimate.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @biancazapatka or tag #biancazapatka!


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Red Lentil Dahl (Easy Indian Recipe) (2024)


What to eat with red lentil Dahl? ›

Serve the red lentil dal in bowls with cooked brown or basmati rice and fresh naan bread on the side. Enjoy!

How healthy is red lentil Dahl? ›

Dhal is an excellent source of iron and fibre, and a good source of protein, for vegetarians. Red lentil dahl is full of flavour and this version is also packed with vegetables, making it the perfect healthy comfort food.

How do you thicken lentil dahl? ›

  1. To thicken the dal you could try simmering it down further for some time.
  2. or add slurry made of besan and water , or corn flour and water make sure to cook it out and adjust salt.
  3. alternatively you could add some potatoes to dal and mash them lightly; they tend to absorb water.
Nov 2, 2020

Do red lentils need to be soaked? ›

Lentils to do not require soaking like other pulses. Rinse your lentils with fresh water before boiling to remove any dust or debris. Cook on a stovetop, using 3 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc) to 1 cup of dry lentils.

What vegetables go well with dhal? ›

When it comes to what goes with dal, roasted vegetables are always a great choice for a side dish! You can use any veggies you prefer or have on hand, but this recipe uses sweet and regular potato, zucchini, eggplant, garlic, tomato, green beans, and onions for a varied and delicious taste.

What do you put with dahl? ›

We love to eat our hearty dahl for lunch or a light dinner with just Naan bread. This light and pillowy bread is just perfect to dip into the soupy texture. Nothing beats gently spiced and roasted cauliflower served alongside Dahl. In fact, any roasted veg will work.

Which color lentil is healthiest? ›

Black Lentils (Beluga lentils)

Best of all, black lentils are the most nutritious variety of lentils, boasting the highest amount of protein, plus high levels of calcium, potassium, and iron.

Is it okay to eat red lentils everyday? ›

Most people can enjoy lentils as part of their regular diet without any concern. But lentils also contain natural compounds called anti-nutrients. These substances bind with nutrients like iron and zinc, making them harder for our bodies to absorb. Soaking and cooking lentils can help reduce this effect.

Can I eat red lentils daily? ›

Eating lentils every day is generally not harmful and can actually be beneficial for your health. Lentils are a good source of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in fat and calories, making them a great food to include in a healthy and balanced diet.

What can you add to lentils to make them taste better? ›

You can also add salt, aromatics like a halved onion, herbs, and spices to the pot before the lentils and the water, like beans, or wait until they're done cooking to flavor them.

Why does my dahl taste bland? ›

Salt is one of the most important things you must get right when making your daal. People often ask me why their daal doesn't taste as good as it could and it's usually because they didn't add enough salt (or they skip the tarka!

Should you soak lentils before making dahl? ›

Let the dal remain soaked for 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the type of dal. Split pulses can be soaked for 30 minutes or 1 hour and whole pulses should be soaked for 2 hours. This will not only break down complex carbs but will also cut down cooking time. Again wash 3-4 times before using.

What happens if you don't rinse lentils? ›

Rinsing lentils will allow you to get rid of any accumulated dust, dirt, small rocks, twigs and possibly bugs that have come along for the ride: you don't want any of that in your food! None of this will hurt you however.

Can you overcook red lentils? ›

Cook red lentils for about 6-8 minutes if you'd like them to still be a little firm and tender and for 10 minutes or longer if you prefer them to go soft and mushy.

How do you get rid of gas in lentils? ›

Soak and Rinse Legumes: Before cooking legumes, soak them in water for several hours or overnight. This helps soften the legumes and removes some of the complex sugars that can contribute to gas production. Rinse the soaked legumes thoroughly before cooking.

What do you pair lentils with? ›

If you have a few root vegetables hanging out in your fridge, those are also great with lentils, like in this warm lentil and root vegetable salad with parsnips and carrots. Lentils are particularly nice with cheese, as in this grilled halloumi and lentil salad.

What is the best thing to eat with lentils? ›

Here are some good food combinations with lentils:
  • Rice and Lentils (Khichdi): A classic combination in many cuisines, khichdi is a comforting dish made by cooking lentils and rice together. ...
  • Lentil Soup with Vegetables: Lentils pair well with a variety of vegetables like carrots, celery, tomatoes, and spinach.
Jul 12, 2023

Is red lentil Dahl good for weight loss? ›

Dal for Weight Loss: An Overview

Additionally, lentils are low in calories and fat, making them ideal for weight loss. The calorie content of dal can depend on its preparation. For example, adding fats like ghee or oil or high-calorie ingredients such as coconut milk or cream can increase the calorie content.

Does broccoli go with red lentils? ›

Red Lentil Dhal is an Indian staple made from split pulses, it's healthy, tasty and very cheap. It's also easy to make and prepared in less than 30 minutes. Red Lentil Dahl With Broccoli has become one of my go-to dishes whenever I am short on time. I find it to be an incredibly warming, comforting and fragrant dish.

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