Vegan Red Lentil Dahl (Cheap, Simple, Delicious)

$3.33 recipe / $0.83 serving

What’s rich in vitamins, high in protein and fiber, tastes delicious, and is extremely cheap?

Lentils! And what better way to enjoy them than in our vegan red lentil dahl recipe.

Let’s get to it!

Three Bowls of Vegan Red Lentil Dahl and Rice

Dahl, Dal, Daal, or Dhal?

Why make words easy when you can spell the same one 4 different ways? Whatever the spelling is, we do love a good lentil dahl! We’d also love to know which one of these spellings is correct.

In any case, we’re sure you know about our love for Indian food. And if you don’t, check out our curried chickpea salad post. This is one of the first recipes we made when we switched to a plant-based diet over 5 years ago. It’s been a staple ever since.

We’ve certainly experimented a lot with dahl recipes, so we already know you’re going to love this one. Red lentil dahl, or any type of dahl for that matter, is extremely light on the wallet, but rich in nutrients.

Spices, Red Lentils, Coconut Milk and Vegetables

Key Ingredients for Vegan Red Lentil Dahl

This recipe is packed to the brim with foods that have some pretty amazing effects on the body. Some of our favorites include:

  • Red lentils: careful not to confuse these with brown lentils, which take much longer to cook and have a grittier texture. Red lentils are extremely high in nutrients like protein, fiber, iron, and folate. Talk about an impressive legume. They also cook faster than other lentil varieties, so they’re perfect for a speedy dinner prep.
  • Turmeric: this ancient spice has been used in cooking and medicine for close to 4000 years. It contains the compound curcumin, which has known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This meal just keeps getting better.
  • Coconut milk: the creaminess of coconut milk helps tame all the spice in this dish. It’s not absolutely vital, but we find it helps tie everything together. And who doesn’t love some healthy fats?
  • Ginger: a close relative of turmeric, ginger has also been used for centuries to improve digestion and nausea, fight inflammation, and increase health overall. It is used in a lot of Indian cooking, and for good reason. It’s pungent and spicy, yet sweet and warming all at the same time.
Spices, Onion, Garlic, and Pepper in a Pan
Does anything smell better than sautéing onions, garlic, and spices?

How to Make Vegan Red Lentil Dahl

To begin, sauté onions and garlic in coconut oil until they are nice and fragrant. Next, add in the spices and cook a touch longer to release their flavors.

In the meantime, start cooking the rice in either water or vegetable broth. You can also add a little turmeric to the rice if you’re feeling a little extra.

The best thing to use for cooking rice is a pressure cooker. We have an Instant Pot, but there are a lot of other great choices out there. Regardless of brand though, pressure cookers are definitely worth the investment.

White Rice in an Instant Pot

Once the rice is cooking, you’ll be ready to add in the rest of the red lentil dahl ingredients. Mix everything together, cover, and simmer for around 20 minutes until the lentils cook.

Serve it with a side of rice, chopped cilantro, or lime!

Uncooked Vegan Red Lentil Dahl
Stir the lentils in, cover your pot, and simmer

How to Store Vegan Red Lentil Dahl

This is such a great meal to prep ahead because it stores extremely well. It will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, and up to 6 months in the freezer.

If you do have leftovers, they taste even better the next day when all the flavors have soaked in.

Cooked Vegan Red Lentil Dahl
You’ll end up with a thick consistency when it’s done

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This vegan red lentil dahl comes together so easily, it will surely become a staple in your house too. It’s:

  • Warming
  • Spicy
  • Comforting
  • Simple
  • Fiber-rich

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment, rate it, and tag us on Instagram with #brokebankvegan. Happy eating!

Three Bowls of Vegan Red Lentil Dahl

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Vegan Red Lentil Dahl

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Broke Bank Vegan Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


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This vegan red lentil dahl is rich in vitamins, high in protein and fiber, tastes delicious, and is extremely cheap. Did we mention how easy it is to make?


  • Curry
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil ($0.12 USD)

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced ($0.24 USD)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.12 USD)

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger ($0.03 USD)

  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced ($0.41 USD)

  • 1 28 fl. oz can diced tomatoes ($0.73 USD)

  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk ($0.27 USD)

  • 2 cups water ($0.00 USD)

  • 1 cup red lentils, uncooked ($0.51 USD)

  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar ($0.09 USD)

  • 2 tbsp red curry paste ($0.17 USD)

  • 1 tsp turmeric ($0.01 USD)

  • 1 tbsp cumin ($0.03 USD)

  • 1 tbsp garam masala ($0.07 USD)

  • 1 tbsp curry powder ($0.03 USD)

  • sea salt and pepper to taste ($0.02 USD)

  • For Serving optional
  • 2 1/4 cups cooked basmati rice ($0.33 USD)

  • lime wedges ($0.09 USD)

  • chopped cilantro ($0.06 USD)


  • Add coconut oil to a large skillet or pot, and heat on medium. Once heated, add in diced onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until turning translucent.
  • Next, add in garlic, ginger, bell peppers, curry paste, and other spices. Stir for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Rinse your rice and add it to a rice cooker or pressure cooker with appropriate amount of water. Start cooking.
  • Once the vegetables and spices are fragrant, add in diced tomatoes, coconut milk, water, and coconut sugar, mixing well. Bring to a low boil, add in lentils, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cook for approximately 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
  • Serve with a side of rice, cilantro, or lime wedges.


  • Opt to serve with brown rice for an even healthier alternative.
  • For a lower fat content, you can use lite coconut milk.
  • Keep in mind, all herbs & spices vary in their intensity and freshness. This is why it’s important to start slow and taste as you go.

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Nutrition Facts

4 servings per container

Serving Size1 servings

  • Amount Per ServingCalories402
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 10g 16%
    • Saturated Fat 3g 15%
  • Sodium 13mg 1%
  • Potassium 433mg 13%
  • Total Carbohydrate 59g 20%
    • Dietary Fiber 11g 44%
    • Sugars 14g
  • Protein 16g 32%

  • Vitamin A 28%
  • Vitamin C 52%
  • Calcium 4%
  • Iron 3%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Can I use other lentil varieties in this recipe?

Yes, you can use other lentil varieties in this dahl recipe. We recommend yellow, but you may be able to use green or brown lentils too. Keep in mind the consistency and overall cook time will vary.

Do I have to soak the lentils before cooking them?

No, it is not necessary to soak the lentils before cooking them. Just make sure to give them a good wash beforehand.

Is coconut milk necessary in this recipe?

No, coconut milk is not necessary in this lentil dahl recipe. You can replace it with water, but it will not be as creamy.

How can I make this dahl spicier?

To make this dahl spicier, you can add in cayenne or dried red pepper flakes.

1 thought on “Vegan Red Lentil Dahl (Cheap, Simple, Delicious)”

  1. So so yummy. Warm and spicy but not too hot. My son needed to add hot sauce which is his usual. We are not vegan but we love good healthy food.


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