Spicy Lentil Dahl



Indian food has been on my weekly meal plan ever since my college years when I was first introduced to it.  With the existence of many vegan Indian spice stores and fast food establishments in Los Angeles, my transition to veganism while still maintaining my weekly Indian food fix wasn’t all too difficult.

Indian dishes contain a lot of warming spices.  They also contain spices and herbs that are health-promoting and contain disease preventing properties.  For instance, many Indian dishes contain turmeric.  Ingesting turmeric helps make the skin glowing and beautiful.  Not only that, the primary active ingredient in turmeric is Curcumin, which is currently being studied and evaluated in clinical trials for treating cancer.  It is also believed that turmeric may have benefits to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.  There are much more health benefits of turmeric.  For more information, check out this link–http://www.spreadhealthfoods.com/.

Quick tip for buying spices—buy your spices at an Indian spice store.  They have an abundance of spices and are typically cheaper than the supermarket chains or health food stores. I have found that some of them even claim to be “organic”.


Spicy Red Lentil Dahl

Servings: 2-4

Time: 1 hour

Brief: This red lentil dahl is a staple and favorite in the Ardestani household.  It is healthy, easy to make, warming, and oh-so delicious!




1 cup white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 inch ginger, finely minced or grated

4 cup vegetable stock

1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)

3/4 tsp sea salt (to taste)

2 Tbsp tomato paste or, alternatively, 4 Tbsp marinara sauce



1. Add onion, garlic, and ginger into a medium-sized saucepan, and place over medium heat.  Oil isn’t necessary since the liquid in the vegetables will help cook them.  If the vegetables start to stick to the pan, add a splash or 2 of vegetable stock.  Cook and stir often until the onions are translucent for about 6 minutes.

2. Stirring constantly, add vegetable stock, lentils, spices, and salt. Bring to a low boil.  Then turn down the heat to low, cover, and let the stew simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are very tender.

3. Stir in the tomato paste or marinara until well combined.  Cook several minutes more or until the soup is desired temperature and consistency, adding more stock or water to the dahl if needed.

4. Serve hot with quinoa, rice, naan, chapati, or enjoy it as a soup.


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6 Thoughts on “Spicy Lentil Dahl

  1. Dina Hermosillo-Burrus on November 26, 2013 at 10:55 am said:

    Omg….This dish was SO DELICIOUS! It came out so perfect! We actually ran out of veggie broth so I used water but O-M-G… I am totally speechless, as I cannot believe this Indian dish was made in my home and so healthy! SERIOUSLY! You are an amazing chef girl. I sent my friends the link and cannot wait for them to make it. THANK YOU so much for posting all of your yummy recipes and for helping us moms/dads make cooking/baking so fun and delicious

  2. Hi Dina,

    Thank you for your kind words! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy this dish. It is actually one of my favorites. So easy yet so flavorful. :)

    You just made my day! Thank you for the referrals and for trying so many of my recipes. I truly appreciate it.

    All The Best,


  3. Mackenzie Grove on August 9, 2014 at 11:01 am said:

    This looks delicious! Would it work the same with brown lentils? That’s all I have at the moment.

  4. Hi Mackenzie!

    Sorry for the delayed response! Yes, you can use brown lentils for this recipe, too! I hope you enjoy it!

    All The Best,


  5. I’ve always found a lot of bad reasons not to cook some dahl (too long, too complicated, too many ingredients, better at the restaurant, blahblahblah) even if it’s it’s one of my favourite dishes… and I stumbled upon your recipe….
    I just gave it a try, and served it with quinoa + fresh cilantro on top…. my man says it’s Dahlicious, and I approve both the deliciouness + new adjective to rate Dahl!
    I used only 1 clove of garlic and 1/4 tsp of cayenne: I’m already on fire! As I’m curious and adventurous, I will use more garlic next time, but remain quiet with the cayenne… And, as it’s the perfect dish to survive the way too early signs of winter in Montréal, it will be pretty soon!

  6. Hi Celia,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this recipe. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review, and I love your rating of this recipe! “Dahlicious” is so genius and such a compliment. I’m so happy to hear you two enjoyed this very much!


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