Easy Red Lentil Dahl is a perfect one pot plant based dish - tasty, healthy and ready in under 20 minutes. Red lentils are cooked with spices in this traditional Indian favorite, which is packed full of protein. Served with rice, it's a great addition to your meal rotation for busy weeknights. It's also naturally gluten free, dairy free and vegan.
If you're a fan of Indian food, a simple Dahl is a great recipe to cook at home. It's also an ideal meat free meal to introduce into your weekly dinners.
It really is a prep and forget dish - and will simmer away on the stove until you're ready to eat.
It's perfect served alone. Or if you have the time to take it to the next level you can add some toppings. Crispy fried shallots or onions add some delicious crunch. Plus jalapeños for more heat and cool yoghurt for freshness.
Why you should make this Easy Red Lentil Dahl
- Dahl is one of the easiest, hands off recipes you can make. You literally throw everything in a pot and you're done.
- Currys often taste better a day or two after they're made. Perfect for meal prep - one pan of this will keep you in lunches or dinners for all week.
- A great make ahead dish, this easy red lentil dhal can also be doubled up to serve a large group. Or serve half the pot for dinner and freeze the rest for later.
- By making this spicy red lentil dhal recipe at home you have full control over the ingredients. Which is a lot healthier than takeaway.
- For the budget conscious, this recipe uses inexpensive ingredients pantry staples you may already have in the kitchen.
What is Dahl?
Dahl - which can also be spelt Dhal, Daal and Dal - is the the word for split pulses and the term for a thick purée or soup made from beans or lentils. Lentil dal therefore, means soup made of lentils.
How to Make Easy Red Lentil Dahl
Find a full printable recipe card with measurements below.
There are a million different recipes for Dahl but this is a very pared back low maintenance version.
It could not be more simple. Place all the ingredients into a large pot.
Bring everything to a boil then turn down to a low simmer. Stir occasionally to stop the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the dhal has thickened.
Season to taste and serve with your choice of toppings, if desired.
Tips For Making Best Easy Red Lentil Dahl
- The consistency of Dahl should be neither too thin or too thick! If it is too thick feel free to add a little more water. If too thin then simmer a little longer.
- No red lentils? No problem. You can substitute with green lentils, yellow lentils or brown lentils instead. Just add a little extra cooking time to ensure they are soft.
How To Serve Easy Red Lentil Dahl
It's delicious alone or with steamed brown rice and some fresh cilantro/coriander. Don't forget the naan bread for mopping up those juices.
Alternatively if you want to make more of a meal of this dish, its lovely served over a baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
If you're looking to lighten things up you can stir some spinach through your dhal until it's just wilted before eating. It's also great with a fried egg on top for a more substantial protein based meal.
Can I re-heat/freeze Dahl?
Yes you absolutely can! Dhal will keep in your fridge in an airtight container for 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months.
To re-heat from frozen defrost thoroughly overnight in the fridge first. Place dhal in a medium saucepan and heat over a medium low heat for around 10 minutes. Stir the dhal occasionally until it is piping hot. Stir in a tablespoon or two of water if the dhal has become too thick.
Variations of Easy Red Lentil Dahl
- Feel free to use any type of curry powder. And you can make this dahl as mild or as hot as you like. Feel free to add extra chili powder and hot sauce according to your taste.
- For a Thai twist, try adding a tablespoon of Thai green curry paste instead of curry powder. Also substitute a cup of water for a cup of coconut water instead. For another great dish with similar flavors, try my Thai Curry Squash & Lentil Soup.
- Topping with crispy shallots? You can substitute shallots with a yellow onions or red onions instead.
- Add some extra vegetables to this easy dhal. Wilt through some spinach leaves (frozen spinach will work here too).
- Serving vegan diners? Top with a spoon of vegan coconut yogurt.
- For extra richness, stir through 1 cup of coconut milk or light coconut milk before serving.
Pin This Easy Red Lentil Dahl Recipe For Later
What Do You Think?!
I'd love to know what you think about this recipe! I'd be so grateful if you scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave a star rating and comment.
More Easy Recipe Ideas
Easy Red Lentil Dahl
- 2 cups Red Lentils
- 2 inch Fresh Ginger - peeled and finely grated
- 2 cloves Fresh Garlic - peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Chili Powder - optional
- 5 cups Water or Vegetable Broth - depending on how soupy you like your dhal
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper - to taste
- 2 tbsp Butter, Ghee or Vegetable oil
- 2 Shallots - or an onion, any kind, thinly sliced
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper - thinly sliced
- Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)
- Rinse the lentils carefully under running water.
- Place all of the dahl ingredients including the lentils in a large saucepan.
- Bring the pot to a boil on a medium-high heat, then turn it down to a simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent anything sticking on the bottom. Taste and season as you go.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the dhal has thickened. Taste and season again before serving. Add more water if you want a thinner dhal.
- Meanwhile if you're adding the shallots as an optional topping, fry them in a frying pan with the butter, ghee or oil. Cook on a medium low heat stirring occasionally, until golden brown, around 10 minutes.
- Serve the dahl. Optionally top with the golden shallots, thin sliced jalapeno and fresh cilantro/coriander.
This recipe has been shared with the #cookblogshare community, hosted this week by Louise at A Strong Coffee