Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegan Sauces, Dressings, and Condiments/ Vegan Side Dishes

Red Lentil Dal

Red lentil dal

This recipe is for Red Lentil Dal—a kind of warm dip from Indian cuisine made of well-cooked legumes, is meant to be scooped up with fresh flatbreads such as chapatis or naan. Can’t find them? Use fresh pita instead. Tiny red lentils, available in natural food stores and imported food shops, cook to an appealing orange-gold color. 

Red Lentil Dal

Serves: 6 to 8


  • 1 cup raw red lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh or jarred ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • dash of nutmeg
  • salt, to taste


  1. Rinse the lentils and combine them with 3 cups of water in a large, saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are mushy, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, het the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden. Stir into the saucepan with the cooked lentils and the remaining ingredients. Simmer over very low heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. The texture should be kind of a cross between a very thick soup and a sauce. If need be, add a bit more water, but just a little at a time. If making ahead, let cool and store in a covered container. Reheat before serving, then transfer to a serving bowl, or serve straight from the saucepan.

Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 92; Total fat: 2g Protein: 5g; Carbs: 14g; Sodium: 2mg

red lentil dal and Basmati rice

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  • Reply
    Sarah Fournier
    June 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I just made this and the 4 cups of water is to much. I had to remove a cup of water when it was done because it was not a “thick soup” texture. Flavour is good though. Will make this again but with 3 cups of water intead of 4.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks, Sarah. I will re-test this with your suggestion of less water. I also don’t think it should take the lentils 40 minute to cook. I’ll make any adjustments needed once I see what had gone amiss.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Love this recipe. I think the water to lentil ratio is perfect. It seemed like it was going to be a little too water, but when it cooled a bit it was perfect. I cooked the lentils for slightly less than 40 mins. I made a double batch when it was done because we ate the first batch almost immediately. This is going to be staple in our house.

    • Reply
      November 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Kim. I love to garnish simple soups like this with wilted greens.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2019 at 5:22 am

    I make this all the time, its good at the end of your shoping week. I serve mine with rice. I also add some mild indian curry powder. It adds a little heat and flavor. Yogurt id sour cream is nice to finish it off.

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