Sign In
Sign Up Now

Red Lentil Dal

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
image for Recipe schema

Let Your Friends Try This Recipe!

Why we love it:

For a long time I thought “dal” meant lentil, but that’s incorrect. It can refer to the soup or dish made from a variety of split, dried pulses (lentils, mung beans, yellow or green split-peas) and it can refer to the ingredient. I looooove Indian restaurants and each has their own dal, it’s like a “house specialty” and you’ll catch me ordering it every time. This is my speedy white-lady red lentil dal. I love it because it’s fast, healthy, colorful, delicious and wonderful leftover and heated in the microwave.


  • 2 cups Red Lentils
  • 8 cups Water
  • 1 Yellow Onion (finely diced)
  • 2 Jalapeños (optional, minced)
  • 6 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil (or coconut oil is great)
  • 112 teaspoons Kosher Salt (more to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seed (whole - or 1/2 as much ground dried mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 12 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Roma Tomatos (chopped - or 2 Tablespoons tomato paste)
  • 3 Carrots
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided, optional)
  • 1 pound Sugar Snap Peas
  • 14 cup Plain Yogurt

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. LENTILS

    Combine the lentils and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, give it a stir, then turn the heat down to simmer. Skim off any foam that collects on top with a large spoon. Cook, partially covered, until the lentils are mostly tender, about 10 minutes.


    Meanwhile, chop! Finely chop the onion and jalapeño. Mince the garlic and ginger finely. In a large skillet, heat the oil then add all of these vegetables and a pinch of salt.

    Cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

  • 3. SPICES

    To this pan add the spices: garam masala, mustard seed, coriander, cumin, and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook for about a minute, then add the tomatoes (or tomato paste). Simmer for about 3-5 minutes.

  • 4. COMBINE

    You’re going to scrape the spice and onion mixture into the pot with the boiling lentils BUT you have to get the correct amount of water. If the lentils are tender by now and they are still underwater, drain enough off the top so that the lentils are higher than the water. If they are not yet tender, leave a thin layer of water on top (so drain less). If they’re tender and above the water line already, do nothing.

    *Basically, you don’t want it to be too soupy, the consistency should be thick enough that it’s mostly lentils and some broth.
    ** That said the dal at my favorite Indian restaurant has very brothy dal and it’s wonderful. So, don’t listen to me!

  • 5. CARROTS

    When you have a moment, scrub the carrots. Then roll cut them - slice off the end on an angle, then roll the carrot until the newly cut face is pointed up, then slice through that on an angle. Roll so that newly cut face is up, and slice again. Always cut through the plane created by your last cut. (Confused? Forget it then just slice 1-inch pieces!).

    Heat a sauté pan with ½ of the butter and add the carrots and a pinch of salt.

  • 6. PEAS

    Trim the peas if they need it. After carrots have sautéed for about 4 minutes, add the peas. Cook for about 2-4 minutes or until they’re done and bright green.

  • 7. SERVING

    Give your dal a final taste and add salt if needed. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter if desired. Plate dal and veggies on a plate or bowl if soupy-ier. Dollop with yogurt if you like.

Check out our new features!


    dollop with nut milk yogurt or omit
    served with a filet of fish, salmon skewers, or grilled shrimp
  • WATER:
    great made with stock
    split yellow mung beans are the best substitute but perhaps no easier to find. Other lentils and yellow split peas will work but take longer to cook
    use ½ teaspoon or less ground dried ginger
    omit or use serrano or a pinch of red pepper flakes
    an Indian style curry powder is different, but it’s not going to taste bad! Or, just more cumin, coriander, and add some turmeric powder, too)
    don’t have any? Use tomato paste, or in a pinch you can use chopped canned tomatoes
  • RICE:
    I love this with rice and will often serve it with some
    serve with chicken or beef skewers, sauté ground chicken or turkey with the onions for a complete mash up meal, serve with seared sausages
    will they try this? Some will, perhaps leave out the jalapeño if that’s a sticking point. Definitely serve with rice and perhaps add another veggie to the sauté. It’s good with fried egg on top, or find some store-bought naan and dip it in
Rate this recipe:
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Send us feedback

Meal Plans

save time and reduce food waste
Get Your First Meal Plan