This red lentil dal is a wonderful, warming bowl of food. This dish is incredibly filling food and nutrient-dense.
In the Indian subcontinent, dal (or dhal) means split pulses, like lentils and beans, and is also used as the name of soup made from these pulses. If you like Indian cuisine, you've got to try this recipe.
This dal recipe combines the traditional lentils, onions, tomatoes, and spices commonly used in dal. We've added a can of coconut milk to this red dal recipe making for an extra creamy dish.
It's a wonderful, warming dish - it's naturally vegan and gluten-free. This recipe makes at least 6 servings, so it's an excellent meal prep recipe and easy to reheat.
If you love the hearty dishes and warming flavors of Indian food, you're going to love this recipe.
Here's what you'll need to make this delicious Indian red dal recipe. Many of them are pantry staples.
- Whole Red Lentils
- Coconut Milk
- Vegetable Stock or Vegetable Broth
- Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Yellow Onion
- Garlic Cloves
- Fresh Ginger
- Fenugreek Seeds
- Ground Turmeric
- Cumin Seeds
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
Optional for serving - brown or white rice or naan, lemon juice, lime juice, chopped parsley, or fresh cilantro.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Heat a large or medium pot over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil.
Once it’s hot, add the chopped onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to become translucent.
Add the garlic and ginger and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
Add the fenugreek seeds, turmeric, cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes to the pot and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute to allow the spices to bloom.
Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, tomatoes, lentils, and salt to the pot and stir to combine.
Increase the heat and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low or medium heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and serve with rice or naan. Sprinkle optional cilantro on top.
More Vegan Meals
If you like this dal recipe, we think you'll enjoy these other vegan and vegetarian dinner options.
- The Best Vegan Lentil Soup - a hearty vegan soup with potatoes, carrots, and more!
- White Bean Soup Recipe - a quick and easy soup that's full of flavor and veggies.
- Roasted Chickpea Salad Recipe - a hearty salad with the crispiest chickpeas.
- Coconut Lentil Curry - a warming lentil dish that's an awesome weeknight meal.
- Vegan Sushi Recipe - a great way to enjoy sushi that's plant-based.
Substitutions & Variations
If you know how to make the recipe fit a certain diet, let the reader know here. Don't fake it - only provide guidance on topics you have actual experience with.
- Spices - you can also use curry powder or garam masala in dal - swap in an equal amount to replace the fenugreek, cumin seeds, and turmeric. You can also add ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds.
- Lentils - you can use green lentils instead of red lentils, but you'll need to add an additional cup of vegetable stock. You can use brown lentils as well - they won't need extra stock. Cooking time will vary if you change the type of lentils - brown cook quickly but green may need an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
- Vegetables - if you'd like to make this a heartier dish, you can add 1 ½ cups of diced sweet potatoes. Add them with the garlic and ginger.
The cooked dal will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container.
You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe bag or another container for up to 6 months.
Tips for Making this Recipe
Cooking Tips - Stir the dal occasionally while it simmers. If it's drying out too quickly, reduce the heat and add an additional ½ cup of stock.
Specialty Ingredients - Red lentils are available in most grocery stores, but if you can't find them you can use brown lentils interchangeably.
Recommended Tools - I highly recommend using a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot for this recipe.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Connect with us on Instagram and share your photos or leave us a rating.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch ginger, minced
- 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 (14.5 ounces) can coconut milk
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 (15 ounces) can diced tomatoes
- 2 ½ cups red lentils
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- optional - ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- for serving - rice or naan
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Once it’s hot, add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to become translucent.
- Add the garlic and ginger and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
- Add the fenugreek seeds, turmeric, cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes to the pot and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute to allow the spices to bloom.
- Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, tomatoes, lentils, and salt to the pot and stir to combine. Increase the heat and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve with rice or naan. Sprinkle optional cilantro on top.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1701mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 8gSugar: 4gProtein: 12g