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 652 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)


Is red lentils the same as dhal? ›

Yes, masoor dal and split red lentils are the same thing, though masoor dal commonly refers to Indian-spiced red lentils specifically, like this dish. Here, our red lentils are enlivened with cumin, fennel, and turmeric and perfumed with garlic, ginger, and chiles.

What to eat with red lentil Dahl? ›

Dahl: The best side dishes to make a meal
  1. Naan bread. We love to eat our hearty dahl for lunch or a light dinner with just Naan bread. ...
  2. Roasted cauliflower. Nothing beats gently spiced and roasted cauliflower served alongside Dahl. ...
  3. Make a veg stew. ...
  4. Stuffed peppers. ...
  5. Bombay potatoes. ...
  6. Onion Bhajis.
Feb 6, 2023

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

What is the Indian name for red lentil dal? ›

Masoor (also known as red lentil, Hindi: masoor, Gujarati: masoor) is a brown skinned lentil that is orange on the inside. Masoor dal has a pleasant earthy flavor and is very common in Northern India. It is commonly used to make dal, soups and stews.

Which lentils are best for dal? ›

Best lentils for Dal– This recipe calls for Channa Dal which is a type of yellow lentils which provides an ideal texture for this Dahl. I was astonished to discover it's sold at Coles supermarket (international section). Yellow split peas is a terrific substitution though the cook times do differ (see recipe notes).

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.

Is red lentil dal good for weight loss? ›

Another superfood for diabetics and heart patients is toor dal. In North Indian homes, red dal, also known as masoor dal, is a mainstay. Masoor dal has unparalleled potential as a fat-loss aid. Masoor dal is a nutritional powerhouse that can provide all the nutrients needed for a full meal in just one bowl.

Do you need to soak lentils for dhal? ›

You don't absolutely have to soak the red lentils but from what I have read, if you soak them and drain the water, it helps to remove some of the phytic acid which makes them easier to digest. Doing so reduces the cooking time, as well!

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.

Can I eat red lentils daily? ›

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.

Is it okay to eat red lentils everyday? ›

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.

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!

How do you know when dal is done? ›

To cook in pressure cooker or instant pot, you don't need to soak as it cooks very well under pressure. How do you know when dal is cooked? Dal when perfectly cooked becomes mushy and won't hold shape. Mash a few lentils in between your thumb and forefinger to know if they are really well done and mushy.

Why is my dahl bland? ›

Be generous with the salt. If your dal tastes bland, it likely needs a sprinkle of salt.

What is the difference between lentils and Dahl? ›

Though often translated as lentils, dals are actually any split pulses (legumes). A pulse refers to the dry, edible seed of the pod. This includes beans, lentils, peas, and other little seeds in lentils or beans. So, any split legume is considered a dal in Indian culture.

What is another name for red lentils? ›

Red Lentils (Masoor Dal) can be used instead of Petite yellow lentils (Mung Dal). Mung Dal will take a few minutes longer to cook through. Mung Beans and Lentils can also be used interchangeably.

What is a substitute for red lentils in dhal? ›

Here are a few alternatives that you can use for a similar consistency in a dahl dish:
  1. Yellow split peas: They have a similar texture and cook in a similar amount of time as red lentils.
  2. Chana dal: This is a type of split chickpea that has a slightly nutty flavor and holds its shape well after cooking.
Jun 19, 2013

What is another name for dhal? ›

Lentils are a staple ingredient in cuisines from the Indian subcontinent. Clockwise from upper right: split red lentils, common green whole lentils, and Le Puy lentils. Whole lentils have their outer coats visible.
Alternative namesDaal, dail, dahl, pappu, ooti
Region or stateIndian subcontinent
2 more rows

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