Golden Red Lentil Dal with Spinach: Sunshine in a Bowl

This Red Lentil Dal is a vibrant combination of golden red lentils (masoor dal), and fresh spinach simmered together in warm spices for a quick, easy weeknight meal. It is a vegan, hearty, and satisfying dish, perfect for busy schedules. Whip up this one-pot wonder in under an hour and enjoy a comforting and nourishing dinner.

Red lentil dal in a white bowl.

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This Red Lentil Dal recipe is a fantastic option for a quick and easy weeknight meal packed with flavor. Golden lentils provide a hearty base, simmered with fresh spinach, for a vibrant and satisfying dish.

Warming spices add a touch of depth to the flavor profile, while the spinach brightens it with a fresh note. This vegan recipe requires minimal prep work and cooks in a single pot, minimizing cleanup.

It is a perfect addition to your weeknight dinner routine. Pair it with fluffy rice or warm naan bread for a complete and comforting meal.

Ingredients

Red Lentils: While brown or green lentils can be substituted, red lentils cook the fastest, making them ideal for this quick and easy recipe. They also break down slightly during cooking, lending a creamy texture to the dal.

Onion & Garlic: These aromatics form the flavorful base of the dish. Sautéing them until softened allows their natural sweetness and savory notes to bloom.

Tomatoes: Canned tomatoes add a touch of acidity and richness to the dal. Fire-roasted tomatoes can be used for a deeper flavor.

Spice Blend: Combine ground cumin, ground coriander, and turmeric to create a warm and aromatic spice base. I like to add garam masala towards the end of the cooking to add a touch of complexity and fragrance.

Baby Spinach: Fresh spinach adds a vibrant pop of color and a welcome freshness to the dish.

See the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Step-by-step Instructions

Sauted onion and garlic in the pot.

Step 1: Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the onions soften.

Tomato and spices cooked with onions in the pot.

Step 2: Add tomatoes, salt, and powdered spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder). Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften.

Red lentils and water added to the onion-tomato masala in the pot.

Step 3: Add the rinsed red lentils and water. Mix well and bring it to a boil.

Cooked red lentils in the pot.

Step 4: Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Spinach added to the cooked dal.

Step 5: Stir in spinach and garam masala. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t overcook the lentils. Red lentils cook relatively quickly, so keep an eye on them to prevent them from turning mushy. Cook them just until they are tender but still hold their shape.
  • Add the baby spinach towards the end of cooking to preserve its vibrant color and freshness. It only needs a couple of minutes to wilt into the dal.
  • For a creamier dal, mash some of the cooked dal against the pot’s side with a spoon. Alternatively, add a splash of coconut milk or cashew cream for a richer texture.

Serving Suggestions

Pair this red lentil dal with steamed rice or bread for a satisfying meal. Before serving, garnish with fresh cilantro, sliced green chilies, or yogurt.

For an extra kick, serve it alongside Indian pickles or chutneys. For a complete meal, accompany the dal with other Indian dishes, such as vegetable curry or tandoori chicken.

Discover the variety of lentils in this Types of Lentils guide and find the perfect one for your next delicious recipe.

Storage Tips

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Reheat on the stovetop, adding some water or vegetable broth if needed to maintain the desired consistency.

You can freeze the dal for longer storage. Frozen dal will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating gently on the stovetop.

A bowl of red lentil dal placed on a white plate.

More Red Lentil Recipes

  1. This flavorful lentil, pea, and potato curry is perfect served over rice or with these red lentil pancakes. For a lighter option, try this vegetable lentil curry.
  2. Looking for a protein-rich alternative? Try this flavorful chicken lentil curry.
  3. These flavorful red lentil fritters are a great snack or appetizer on their own.
  4. This comforting tomato lentil soup is packed with protein and flavor. You can add a crispy touch with red lentil fritters as croutons or a savory garnish.
  5. Spice up your breakfast routine with this Savory Red Lentil Granola! Packed with goodness and crunch, it’s the perfect way to kickstart your day

If you tried this Red Lentil Dal Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

Red lentil dal served with rice and raita.

Red Lentil Dal with Spinach

This Red Lentil Dal is a vibrant combination of golden red lentils (masoor dal), and fresh spinach simmered together in warm spices for a quick, easy weeknight meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Shilpa Kerur

Equipment

  • Large pot

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the onions soften.
  • Add tomatoes, salt, and powdered spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder). Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften.
  • Add the rinsed red lentils and water. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  • Stir in spinach and garam masala. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice.

Notes

  • Don’t overcook the lentils. Red lentils cook relatively quickly, so keep an eye on them to prevent them from turning mushy. Cook them just until they are tender but still hold their shape.
  • Add the baby spinach towards the end of cooking to preserve its vibrant color and freshness. It only needs a couple of minutes to wilt into the dal.
  • For a creamier dal, mash some of the cooked dal against the pot’s side with a spoon. Alternatively, add a splash of coconut milk or cashew cream for a richer texture.

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 609mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 803IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 4mg
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Red lentil dal Pinterest image.

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4 Comments

  1. Yes, this can be done in a slow cooker. Make the onion-tomato base in a frying pan and transfer it to the slow cooker along with red lentils and water. Set the slow cooker at high for 3.5-4 hours. The qunatities of ingredients will remain the same. Hope this helps! I’d love to know your feedback once you try it out.
    – Shilpa

5 from 1 vote

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