Red Lentil Dal is the perfect plant-based Indian meal! Rich, fragrant, and packed with protein for a meal you can feel good about.
Guys, we made it. This red lentil dal is the sixth Indian recipe in a row I’ve shared here on the blog.
If you’re like me, you’ve been loving these recipes and hopefully adding them into your upcoming meal plans.
However, if you’re not a fan of Indian food (howwww???), please accept my apologies for the recent bombardment of deliciously spiced dishes and know that we will soon return to regular (aka, varied) programming.
Okay, now about this recipe.
Dal (sometimes spelled ‘dhal’ or ‘dahl’) is one of my very favorite Indian dishes because of how quickly it is made.
A red lentil dal cooks really fast, so this whole recipe is done in 30 minutes start-to-finish.
Red lentils look more orange than red after the cook, especially with the addition of turmeric.
I use Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentils which are grown right here in the Pacific Northwest.
There are a few different ways that people make dal, but my favorite way to is temper the spices and aromatics in oil.
I used to make my red lentil dal by just chucking everything in the same pot, and while it’s still tasty that way, it doesn’t come close to flavor of the tempered version.
If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, don’t worry. Just read on.
Basically, all you have to do is put some lentils and water in a pot, then fry the rest of the ingredients in oil while the lentils cook.
The hot oil helps release all of the wonderful fragrance and flavor from the garlic, ginger, and spices (tempering!).
The tempered oil and aromatics are then added to the lentils at the last minute (along with some lemon juice) so the flavor stays bright and fresh.
If you have any leftovers, save them in the freezer.
I store mine right next to my frozen naan from Trader Joe’s – perfect for an impromptu Indian lunch!
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Here’s Your Recipe!
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 green chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced (serrano for spicy, jalapeno for more mild)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- Juice of one half a lemon
- Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
- Place the rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan along with 3 cups of room temperature water. Turn the heat to medium and allow the lentils to cook for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick; cook for 60 to 90 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the onion, green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turning translucent.
- Add the turmeric, cardamom, paprika, salt, and tomato to the pan. Cook until the tomato begins to fall apart, about 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- Once the lentils are cooked, drain off any excess water. Stir the spiced onion mixture into the pot of lentils. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed.
- Garnish with cilantro; serve with basmati rice and naan.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1/4th the recipe
Amount Per ServingCalories 168 Total Fat 4g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 3g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 557mg Carbohydrates 29g Fiber 6g Sugar 13g Protein 6g
The wonderful people over at Bob’s Red Mill were kind enough to sponsor this recipe. I love supporting local companies!