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Explore the flavors of India with this comforting Red Lentil Dal Recipe! Discover a vegan, protein-rich dish full of aromatic spices, creamy texture, and health benefits. Perfect for warming your soul any day.

indian red lentil dal served with naan bread
Table of Contents

Red Lentil Dal, also known as Masoor Dal, is a classic and popular Indian recipe. It’s a comforting, satisfying dish packed with plant-based nutrients, offering a warm embrace to both your body and soul.

Why You’ll Love This Dal


  • FULL OF FLAVOR & TEXTURE: This red lentil curry is perfectly seasoned with a fresh citrusy note and has a wonderful creamy texture thanks to the cooked lentils.
  • HEALTHY & VEGAN: Packed with plant-based proteins and fibers!
  • COMFORTING WARMTH: Its warming spices make this dish particularly comforting in winter, warming you up from the inside.

Dal is one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine, typically made by simmering legumes with warming spices, creamy coconut milk, and aromatic tomatoes until they reach a mushy consistency. It’s served as a main dish with rice or Naan bread, or as a side dish.

red lentil dal in a skillet topped with cilantro

There are many types of dal, and in this post, you’ll learn how to prepare a delicious Red Lentil Dal recipe. Masoor Dal, the Indian name for this dish, is one of the most popular and well-known Indian dal variations. In Hindi, Masoor Dal translates to “red split lentils.”

Lentils are an essential part of Indian cuisine, especially since a large part of the Indian population is vegetarian. 100g of lentils contain 24g of protein and 17g of fiber, making them a plant-based superfood.

Different Indian Dal Varieties

  • Chana Dal: Peeled and split chickpeas.
  • Masoor Dal: Peeled and split red lentils.
  • Moong Dal: Peeled and split mung beans (resemble yellow lentils in appearance).
  • Urad Dal: Peeled and split urad beans.
  • Toor Dal: Peeled and split pigeon peas.

Ingredients

See recipe card for quantities.

  • Red Lentils – The main ingredient. For dal, “Red Split Lentils” are used. They almost disintegrate into a mush when cooked.
  • Tomatoes – Canned chopped tomatoes add more flavor. Also works with canned peeled or crushed tomatoes.
  • Coconut Milk – Not used in authentic Dal, but adds incredible creaminess.
  • Vegetable Broth – Is needed to cook the lentils.
  • Olive Oil – Or ghee for sautéing.
  • Onion, Garlic, Ginger – For added flavor.
  • Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Pepper – These ground spices provide the Indian flavor.
  • Lemon – A splash of lemon juice and grated peel adds incredible freshness and a delightful citrus note! Works too with lime juice!
  • Optional for Serving – Fresh coriander, Naan bread, rice, plain dairy-free yogurt!
Red Lentil Dal Ingredients

👩‍🍳 Step-by-Step Visual Guide

For first-timers, I’ve created a visual guide with step-by-step pictures. Check out the masoor dal recipe video to see how easy it is!

  • Rinse red lentils in a sieve under cold running water.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Red Lentil Dal Recipe Step 1-2
  • Stir in red lentils and chopped tomatoes.
  • Deglaze with vegetable broth and coconut milk. Simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Add grated lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes until the dal reaches your desired consistency.
Red Lentil Dal Recipe Step 3-5
  • Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro (optional). Pairs well with warm Naan bread, Indian saffron rice, or basmati rice. I love to add a dollop of dairy-free yogurt.
masoor dal served in a skillet

Variations

  • Extra Vegetables – If you want to add some veggies to your Dal, try sautéing two diced carrots with the onions. It’s super tasty and adds extra vitamins.
  • Spinach – Feel free to stir in some roughly chopped spinach during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Fresh Tomatoes – Instead of canned chopped tomatoes, you can also use ripe, fresh tomatoes for this recipe.
  • Yellow Lentil Dal – Use yellow lentils to make a Yellow Lentil Dal (Dal Tadka)!

FAQs

No, red lentils don’t need to be soaked beforehand. Their long cooking time almost turns them into mush. Just rinse them under cold water to remove any impurities before cooking.

This recipe works well with either red or yellow lentils. Other lentils have a longer cooking time, so it’s best to stick to these two types.

No, it’s important to use dry lentils, as canned ones will cook too much and turn mushy.

🫙 Storage Instructions

Store leftovers in Tupperware in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the microwave or in a frying pan with a splash of water!

More Indian Recipes

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📖 Recipe

rote linsen dal in einer pfanne mit koriander dekoriert

Red Lentil Dal (Masoor Dal)

Explore the flavors of India with this comforting Red Lentil Dal Recipe! Discover a vegan, protein-rich dish full of aromatic spices, creamy texture, and health benefits. Perfect for warming your soul any day.
Author : Aline Cueni
5 from 1 vote

Click on the stars to leave a vote!

Prep Time :5 minutes
Cook Time :45 minutes
Total Time :50 minutes
Servings : 4
Calories : 344kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 inch piece ginger minced (2 tbsp)
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or more
  • 1 cup (200 g) dried red lentils
  • 1 x 14 oz can (400 g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable broth
  • ½ lemon juice & grated zest
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions
 

  • Rinse red lentils in a sieve under cold running water.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in red lentils and chopped tomatoes.
  • Deglaze with vegetable broth and coconut milk. Simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Add grated lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes until the Dal reaches your desired consistency.
  • Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh coriander (optional). Pairs well with warm Naan bread, Indian saffron rice, or jasmine rice. I love to add a dollop of dairy-free yogurt.

Notes

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Stays fresh for 3 days.
If you don’t like it spicy, omit the cayenne pepper. You can also reduce the amount of ginger and garlic, making the Dal milder in taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 539mg | Potassium: 932mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1169IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 7mg

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