This red lentil dahl is a quick and satisfying, comforting meal, perfect for busy weeknights. It’s made with ingredients that can be found in most pantries, uses one pot, is packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients, and is ready in under 30 minutes!

With a combination of red lentils, coconut milk, and several Indian spices, this dhal recipe is nourishing, comforting and budget friendly. 


1 1/2 cups (300 g) dry red lentils

1 large (200 g) carrot finely diced

1 small bell pepper

1 large onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 heaped tbsp fresh ginger minced

1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cups (720 ml) vegetable broth or water

1 cup (240 ml) canned coconut creme

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp curry powder

1/2 tbsp sweetener of choice

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp paprika

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/3 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)



Add a few handfuls of either into the dahl in the last couple of minutes, stirring until just wilted (or add to Instant Pot after cooking, then leave to rest with the lid on for 5 minutes).


½-1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes (or canned crushed tomatoes) would work. Alternatively, some tomato sauce/puree would be also fine.

Lime/ Lemon juice

Add a squeeze (or more) of lemon or lime juice to the lentil dal right before serving for a fantastic ‘finish’ to the dish.

Garam masala

A big pinch of garam masala will add extra flavor to the mild red lentil dish.

Curry leaf

Adding a curry leaf will add a subtle but excellent depth of flavor to the dhal.

Tarka/Tadka (aka tempering spices):

This can make a MASSIVE difference to the end flavor of the dal recipe. Made by tempering spices (you can use cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fresh garlic, and a pinch of chili powder) in oil and then drizzling it over the finished dahl.

Other vegetables

There are several veggies you could load this red lentil dahl with, including cauliflower, peas, zucchini, mushrooms, or eggplant.


1. Rinse lentils under running water.

2. Chop the onion, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, and carrot. Heat oil in a pot and sauté onion for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, carrot, and bell pepper.

3. Add all spices, sweetener, lentils, and vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

4. Finally, add coconut milk and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the desired thickness of the dahl is reached.

5. Season with black pepper and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

6. Serve warm with basmati rice, potatoes, or naan (flatbread) and garnish with fresh herbs.

Recipe source: