Gluten-free, Soups, Stews and Sandwiches, Vegan/Vegetarian

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl

Loreto June 6, 2019

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Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl, an exotic comforting beautifully looking dish that will please the vegetarian or vegan people in your life, however, I know the meat eaters might develop a fondness for this one too!

Song of the day: “Feel” by Bombay Bicycle Club.

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-feature image

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl, a dish so full of flavor and richness you will find yourself cleaning the plate with the naan and looking to see if there is more in the serving dish!

Past life or not? That is the question.

Indian food, I have to say, is a favorite of mine. I love the spices, the richness, and the colorful way it presents itself. They say we eat with our eyes first then with our mouth. I totally agree and this Indian-inspired Dahl is just that, a visually stunning dish.

My first time eating Indian food was such an awakening experience. It seemed like a food that I had eaten before, however never in this lifetime, maybe in a past life. I do believe in past lives and I have to say when cooking Indian food, or experiencing the culture, I am always filled with delightful, joyful, warm, comforting feelings. Luckily for those who get to eat these recipes, because there is so much good energy in the dish that usually leaves them with a huge grin. Wonderful for me for having a good past life if it is indeed true.

My motto is, whatever floats your boat, and this Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl is definitely keeping my boat above water, lol! 

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-lentils in a bowl


There are many types of lentils in various colors, too many to mention, and I don’t want to find you nodding off as I explain all the different varieties and colors consequently having this vision of Charlie Brown’s teacher hearing that Blah Blah blah, lol. 

We used dried red organic lentils, but no need to soak them overnight. I love the meatiness of this legume, similarly, they are visually stunning! 

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-lentils in the wok

Easy Breezy………..

This is not a difficult recipe. The steps are as follows:

  • Firstly,  wash and rinse the lentils, and boil them till partially cooked.
  • Secondly,  get all those spices and onion flavors sauteing in the pan adding in the lentils to be infused with all that goodness.
  • Thirdly, add some vegetable stock, and finally, coconut milk simmering slowly waltzing so lovely in a flavor bliss.
  • Lastly, a quick taste for seasoning, and finally time to eat!

Let’s get that naan warmed up and the dipping begins.

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-prepping

Some helpful tips……..

  1. Indian food is about spices and elevating those flavors. By heating them up in the pan they do just that and when you start adding the other ingredients that menagerie of heaven just seeps and slowly caresses the ingredients with its exoticism!
  2. I usually by the naan from a vendor at our farmers market, however, I have made it homemade and used it here. I make a pizza like very stretchy dough, warm up a pizza stone on the BBQ  and stretch the dough placing it on the stone and minding it so it does not burn. It takes a few times to get it but I really loved how it turned out.

Maybe one day I can be taught how to make the traditional naan, maybe even dig a hole in the yard and construct a Tandoori oven, hence, all in the name of FOOD! 

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-dahl in the black pot

Kitchen Aromas………..

Maybe I am always repeating myself, however, the smells emanating from the kitchen are heavenly. I always tell Nicoletta that the day after, in the morning when we wake up and start our way to the main floor, we are hit with this aroma of a restaurant. Well, we could be a restaurant with the way our kitchen is always bustling!

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-pinterest image

So Ready to Eat!

This Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl has my mouth watering and my senses in a frenzy of extreme hunger. The naan is nice and warm and it feels so wonderful to the touch as you feel that texture of this wonderful bread. Similarly that richness of the dahl enticing my naan into its depths, finding its resting place in my mouth. 

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-dipping the naan in the dahl

Flavor, Flavor…………….

Those spices and textures are just swirling in my mouth, each coming forward and falling back as another comes through. The lentils nice and tender, with slight al dente notes delivering delightful sensations on my palate.

The naan sops up all those juices and bite after bite I am left with such wonderful memories of times past and new ones created at this moment!

It is not too hot on the spicy scale, and I know my Indian friends would say it is very mild, however, Nicoletta cannot do too spicy and that is what cooking is all about, doing it for the ones you love.

If I was making it for my Indian friends an addition of some chilies would be necessary!

Final Thoughts………… 

Food is very important to us. It nourishes us, it is a way of getting people together and it closes the boundary of borders from near to far. If Indian food is a favorite, Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl is a perfect meal to be planning! 

I sure do hope you get to try it!


Song of the day: “Feel” by Bombay Bicycle Club.

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl-feature image

Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl

  • Author: Loreto and Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x
  • Category: Main, Vegetarian
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Indian-inspired


Indian-inspired Red Lentil Dahl, an exotic dish packed with flavorful spices and sensual textures leaving you looking for more as the little bit left in your bowl is taken by the warm naan in your hands!


  • 3/4 cup (200 ml) dried red organic lentils
  • 34 cups of water, for the dried lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • dash white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 23 cups of vegetable stock, enough to cover the lentils in the pan (you might not use it all)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp chopped chive, for the topping
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley, for the topping


  1. Wash the dried lentils and place them in a pot with 3-4 cups of water. Cook over low-medium heat for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Fry the unpeeled garlic cloves in a pan with a drizzle of oil. Once golden, peel them, remove the core (or gem) and mash them with a fork and a touch of salt.
  3. Add four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the pan, place the mashed garlic and add the spices: ginger, paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon. Stir, add the finely sliced ​​onion, and saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Dice the tomato, chop the celery and carrot. Then, add them to the pan. Stir, and add the lentils too. Toast everything for a few minutes by raising the heat and then cover the lentils with the hot vegetable stock. (It is important to pour it hot so as not to block the cooking of the lentils).
  5. Lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk, and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the lentils are soft, adding hot broth, if necessary.
  6. After this time, turn off the heat, and add the lemon juice.
  7. Place two ladles of cooked lentils in a blender and puree them.
  8. Add the puree to the pot with the lentils and, just before serving, add the chopped chives and parsley.
  9. Serve it hot with naan or basmati rice.


If you use pre-cooked canned lentils, the cooking time is shorter and you can skip step number 1.

If you like it spicier, feel free to add garam masala and/or chilies.

You can pair dahl with naan or rice.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Kylie | Midwest Foodie June 10, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I am obsessed with Indian cuisine but have NEVER tried dahl. This recipe is making my mouth water and I’m adding to my meal prep list for next week! Thanks for sharing!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 16, 2019 at 6:30 am

      Hi Kylie, I am totally with you on the obsession with Indian cuisine. You are going to love this dahl, subtle spices and rich flavors adding in the texture of the lentils and you comfort and enlightenment all in one dish, lol.
      Have fun cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Gloria | Homemade & Yummy June 10, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    I love experimenting with Indian food. Love all the spices in this recipe. I know this would be a hit in our house. Leftovers would be awesome too, since these types of dishes are even better the next day.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 16, 2019 at 6:34 am

      You are so right about foods like this the next day I took it for lunch everyone that came through my office commented on the delicious aroma and asked where I got the food. Well I wasted no time in telling them that we made it home made! We are food bloggers have to always promote, lol. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      Much appreciated!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marilena June 11, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Made this lovely soup and it tasted great! Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 12, 2019 at 6:59 am

      Thank you so much for your feedback! We’re so happy you liked this Dahl.

  • Avatar
    Reply Anna June 13, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Indian food is literally one of my favourite! All these flavours and spices! And dahl is among my favourite meals, it’s so cozy and satisfying! Your version looks and sounds fantastic, gonna have to try it very soon!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 13, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you Anna, Indian food is also one of our favorites and anything with lentils is always welcome in our kitchen. Can’t wait for you to try this one!
      Happy Indian cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise June 13, 2019 at 5:52 am

    This looks delicious, creamy and so satisfying! It would be a delicious and comforting meal for sure.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 13, 2019 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Denise, the aroma and the flavors and textures has me wanting this dish time and again!

  • Avatar
    Reply Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen June 13, 2019 at 8:11 am

    I’m such a huge dahl fan, but usually use green lentils so will have to give yours a go! This looks so full of flavor!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 13, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you Carrie. I love all lentils, and these red lentils are the bomb and offer a lovely texture and such flavor and color that make it so enticing!

  • Avatar
    Reply Den June 14, 2019 at 5:34 am

    Hi, l’m a bit confused, you say to cook the red lentils for 30 minutes but then cook again for 15 minutes and Len a further 15 minutes, afraid I think they will be mush by then,

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 14, 2019 at 7:02 am

      Hi Dan, we used dried lentils, and we did not soak them. You need the first 30 minutes to make them a little softer, but they are still not cooked and the other 15 + 15 minutes to cook them all the way through. Ours, after that whole time were still al dente. If you use the precooked ones in the can, of course reduce the time. We wrote in the notes to skip the first point (the first 30 minutes). Hope it’s less confusing, now.

  • Avatar
    Reply Amanda Mason June 14, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I’m loving all these ingredients and I so agree with you…this looks like the most comforting dish!! I can’t honestly say I’ve ever had Indian food but it’s time for me to venture out – hence me landing on your recipe. I’m so giving this a try!!! Looks so amazing!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 16, 2019 at 6:24 am

      Hi Amanda, thank you so much! It makes us quite happy to feel your passion to venture into another culture and experience the food. You are going to love this dish, It is toned down a bit as Indian food is more spicy, however we want to entice you not scare you away. Have fun making Indian food. You are going to love the aroma in your kitchen and house.

  • Avatar
    Reply Vanessa June 15, 2019 at 5:44 am

    This looks amazing, and the way you describe it makes my mouth water! I haven’t made Dahl in ages, but you’ve just inspired me to do so again xo

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 16, 2019 at 6:20 am

      Hi Vanesa, thanks that what we aspire to do, inspire people to try different things while at the same time have fun doing it. We were so happy to hear that you want to make the dahl and I love writing about food flavors and textures, so much fun!
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marisa F. Stewart June 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    We love spicy and exotic foods plus the whole experimenting me different cuisines. The food is beautiful and it just begs to be eaten. The weather has turned cool again and the dahl would be perfect. I’d really like to make more Indian food.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 16, 2019 at 6:17 am

      Thank you Marisa. It is beautiful to experience culture through food and learn different uses of techniques and ingredients. Indian food has no shortage of flavors and spices, plus the colors absolutely stunning!
      Have a great Sunday!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathryn June 16, 2019 at 8:09 am

    I rarely cook lentils, or Indian food for that matter, at home. Going to have to use this recipe to change that!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 24, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Thank you So glad we have peaked your interest in lentils. I absolutely love them and they are so good for you!
      Happy Indian cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life June 16, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    This whole dish sounds amazing! I love lentils but I rarely cook with them simply because I don’t have a lot of recipes that call for them. I’m definitely going to have to add this one to my recipe box.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 24, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Claire, so glad that you are on board the Indian inspired train. I think you are going to love the aroma and flavors of this dish. Let us know how you made out. Would love to hear about it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jo June 16, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    I est dhal almost all days of the week, yes almost all days and that is my love for dhal. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Red lentils dhal looks so delicious!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 24, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Jo, that is wonderful that you enjoy dahl so much. The red lentils are wonderful and really add a superb flavor and texture to the mix.
      Have a wonderful cooking week!

  • Avatar
    Reply Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness June 17, 2019 at 7:12 am

    I always get so scared away by the long list of ingredients in Indian food. But when it looks this good, I should just buy the spices required!

  • Loreto
    Reply Loreto June 24, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Cathleen, I know seems complicated and long winded, however the spices last a very long time and when you get the knack of using them they appear weekly in your repertoire!
    Thank you for checking it out!
    Happy spice shopping and cooking!

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