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!
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.
🍲 Key ingredients
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.
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.
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!
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.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Leave out the bell pepper
- Mix less dahl in with more rice to conserve the recipe
- Skip the curry paste
🍴 Tasting notes
This vegan red lentil dahl comes together so easily, it will surely become a staple in your house too. It's:
If you try this recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Vegan Red Lentil Dahl
- Large pot
- Chef knife
- Pressure cooker
- 1 tbsp coconut oil ($0.12)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced ($0.24)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.12)
- 1 tbsp grated ginger ($0.03)
- ½ medium bell pepper, diced ($0.41)
- 28 oz diced tomatoes ($0.73)
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk ($0.27)
- 2 cups water ($0.00)
- 1 cup red lentils, uncooked ($0.51)
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar ($0.09)
- 2 tbsp red curry paste ($0.17)
- 1 tsp turmeric ($0.01)
- 1 tbsp cumin ($0.03)
- 1 tbsp garam masala ($0.07)
- 1 tbsp curry powder ($0.03)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste ($0.02)
For Serving optional
- 2 ¼ cups cooked basmati rice ($0.33)
- Lime wedges ($0.09)
- Chopped cilantro ($0.06)
- 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 the 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.
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.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more Indian inspired recipes, check out our:
- Yellow split pea dal to test out whether you're on team lentil or team split pea.
- Easy baingan bharta because if you're not cooking with eggplant yet, we'll show you how!
- Chana masala for a chickpea dish that's exploding with flavor.
- Curried chickpea salad if you want to take your chickpea salad to another level, Indian style.
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.
No, it is not necessary to soak the lentils before cooking them. Just make sure to give them a good wash beforehand.
No, coconut milk is not necessary for this lentil dahl recipe. You can replace it with water, but it will not be as creamy.
To make this dahl spicier, you can add in cayenne or dried red pepper flakes.