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 lentil stew.
Here is everything you’ll need:
- Red Lentils
- Veg broth or water
All in all, the recipe is perfect, not overly spicy with nice hints of cinnamon, cumin and ginger. If you don’t like it spicy, by all means omit the cayenne.
How To Make Spicy Red Lentil Dal
- Rinse the lentils and remove any odd or discolored pieces.
- In a heavy flat bottom pan, heat oil and saute the onion, garlic and ginger for 10 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break down and soften.
- Add red lentils, spices and water.
- Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
How To Store 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 1/2 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.
This spicy lentil dal 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 dal 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: Vegan, Indian
- 1 cup red lentils (if using green/brown, see notes)
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or 3 tablespoons water (for water saute)
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced or 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon mineral salt, or to taste
In dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium heat, add onions, ginger and garlic, saute until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break down.
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.
Serve over arugula, brown rice, vegan naan bread or as is with some of your favorite bread.
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: lentil dal recipe, red lentil dal, vegan 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.