This healthy, vegan Spicy Red Lentil Dal is a flavorful blend of red lentils, tomatoes, ginger and other Indian spices made in one pot and ready in about 30 minutes!
Cozy up with this quick and easy one pot red lentil dahl recipe made with red lentils (aka masoor dal), tomatoes, garlic, garlic, ginger and combination of warming spices. It makes a flavorful and hearty Indian dish that’s perfect for your next weeknight meal!
The ingredient list is pretty easy using common ingredients you may already have on hand. I encourage you to gather your ingredients, get in the kitchen and make yourself a batch because it’s pretty much the best lentil dal ever!
Dal is traditionally served over rice, but I LOVED it on a bed of arugula! The nutty flavor of this bitter green paired beautifully while adding freshness. And a squeeze of lemon adds a lovely brightness!
Happy chopping, dicing, cooking and most of all eating!
Ingredients You’ll Need
In this recipe, onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes are cooked until soft and simmered with red lentils and Indian spices creating a thick and hearty, vegan lentil stew.
Here is everything you’ll need:
- Red Lentils
- Onion – I’ve used two onions here, but feel free to use 1 instead.
- Tomatoes – fresh tomatoes are great, but canned are ok too for ease.
- Veg broth or water
How To Make Spicy Red Lentil Dal
Making lentil dal is super easy, requiring only a few steps. Here is a look at the steps with a few photos so you can see what to expect. For the full printable recipe, see the bottom of this post.
- In a heavy flat bottom pan, heat oil and saute the onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes, garlic, and ginger, cook for 4 minutes, or until tomatoes just start to break down and soften.
- Add the spices, cook 1 minute more. Your home will smell delicious at this point!
- Add the red lentils and liquids (shown above), bring to boil.
- Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until lentils are tender (shown below).
And that’s it, let the dal cool a few minutes to thicken and serve!
How To Store + Reheat Leftovers
- Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
- Freezer: This lentil dal is freezer friendly and freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link), leaving ½ inch for expansion. Let thaw before reheating. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags or containers.
- Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through, adding a little liquids as needed. Alternately, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 45 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm. It makes a great meal prep for the week with homemade Naan on the side for soaking up the juices.
What To Serve with Red Lentil Dal
This spicy lentil dahl is great all by itself, but can be made even better with a few of these delicious suggestions:
- Grain: Serve warm with basmati rice, jasmine rice, Cilantro Lime Rice, brown rice or quinoa.
- Lemon: For brightness, add a squeeze of lemon overtop.
- Greens: I especially love this dal with a handful of fresh bitter greens mixed it. Any leafy green such a spinach, arugula, or baby kale would nice.
- Herbs: A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is delicious too.
- Bread: And don’t forget the homemade Naan, it’s pillowy soft and perfect for scooping and swiping.
- Salad: Serve with a side Green Salad + Lemon Tahini Dressing.
More Easy Indian Recipes
- Chana Masala
- Chickpea Tikka Masala
- Curry Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Soup
- Curry Red Lentil Stew with Chickpeas & Kale
- Curry Roasted Cauliflower Quinoa Salad
If you try this easy lentil dahl recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.Print
SPICY RED LENTIL DAL
This easy red lentil dal is prepared with tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger and a combination of Indian spices like turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and cayenne. Quick, easy and perfect for a healthy weeknight meal!
- Prep Time: 5 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 - 6 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: simmer
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 cup red lentils (if using green/brown, see notes)
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or ¼ cup water
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ inch knob ginger (about 2 tablespoons), minced
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced or 1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes, with juices
- 1 heaping teaspoon EACH cumin, coriander + turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt, to taste
Saute: In dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium heat, add onions and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic and ginger, and cook 5 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break down.
Simmer: Add the lentils, liquids, and dry spices, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer at a gentle rolling boil for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, not mushy. Dal will thicken upon standing, add more liquids as needed.
Serve: Ladle into individual serving bowls as is. Or serve over a bed of arugula, white rice, brown rice, or this Cilantro Lime Rice. Top with a squeeze of lemon for brightness. It pairs great with a side of homemade Vegan Naan.
Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days, in a covered container.
I happen to love this with fresh greens, it adds so much freshness to the dish. Even if you serve this with a grain, fresh arugula or cilantro will do wonders.
If you happen to not have a spice or two you will still have a flavorful dish. Adjust ingredients to suit your taste.
Not a fan of spicy, feel free to omit the cayenne. It will still be delish!
I would really stick with red lentils, but you prefer green or brown lentils, cook about 45 minutes, or until tender.
If two medium onions are too much onion for you, one will do fine.
Keywords: Indian dahl recipe, red lentil dal
Updated: This Lentil Dahl was originally published in August 2012. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in January 2020.