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Pot filled with vegan dhal recipe

Easy Red Lentil Dhal

A hearty vegan red lentil dhal recipe with spinach and tomato. The savoury and aromatic dhal is adapted to make it easy to prepare on the fly without losing authenticity.
5 from 1 vote
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indian


  • Large pot
  • Small frying pan
  • Blender or potato masher (to puree tomatoes)


  • 1.5 tbsp oil choose neutral flavoured oil
  • 1 tsp garam masala curry powder works too
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1-2 green chillies optional
  • 2 cups red lentils thoroughly washed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (796 ml) diced tomatoes *The equivalent in fresh tomatoes also works
  • 2 handfuls spinach chopped


  • 2 tbsp oil choose neutral flavoured oil
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1.5 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds


  • Add oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add garam masala, turmeric, coriander powder and cumin seeds. [Don't include tempering spices which will be added at the end.] Toast spices over medium heat until they are aromatic, about one minute. Add a little water to deglaze.
  • Add onion, garlic, ginger and chillies, sauté for a few minutes until softened.
  • Mix in red lentils until well incorporated. Add vegetable broth, cover and let simmer for five to ten minutes.
  • Separate the can of diced tomatoes in two and puree or crush one half. This step allows you to have half pureed/half chunky. If you don't like chunks, puree the full can or buy tomato already pureed. Add all of the tomatoes to the pot, cover and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

Prepare the tempering:

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a small frying pan. Add curry leaves, garlic, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Cook until the spices start to brown and mustard seeds pop. Add to the dhal and let simmer for five more minutes.
  • If the dhal is running thick, add two to three cups of water. Stir in spinach and lemon juice.
Keyword Lentils, vegan
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