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This creamy red lentil dal recipe is healthy, quick, simple, and also so easy to make! This Masoor dal curry is vegan, gluten-free, ready in 30 minutes so perfect for meal prep or a weeknight dinner!
This vegan red lentil dal recipe (aka Masoor dal curry) is perfect to enjoy by itself, with a side of rice, quinoa, or naan bread. It's comforting, filling, and also made with ingredients that you probably already have!
I love Indian food and any type of curry as you can see from my vegan chana masala, vegan tikka masala, vegan korma or Thai red curry so this lentil dahl recipe is another favorite. This curry is made in just one pot and also makes amazing leftovers.
Before we jump into the recipe, let's talk about how you can customize it and learn some tips.
What is Dal?
Dal (also spelled dhal, daal, dahl) refers to a type of dried split pea or lentil but doesn't mean a specific dish, it means legumes. Masoor dal translates as “red lentils” in Hindi so this recipe is made from gently cooking red lentils.
How to make the Vegan Red Lentil Dal Recipe
You can either use whole or split red lentils, I find split ones cook faster but they both do not need to be soaked. I don't recommend using green lentils since they don't have the same texture.
We will be using a can of coconut milk so you can choose to use full-fat or light. But keep in mind, if you use the light version the Masoor Dal may not be as creamy.
I like using yellow onion for this vegan red lentil dal but you can also use white or red. I find that yellow onions caramelize a lot better so it's perfect for this red lentil dal recipe.
This recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic but you can add less or more. When garlic cooks with the onions, it gives an amazing aroma to this Indian curry.
Fresh ginger really makes this dish so I don't recommend subbing for ground ginger for this red lentil dal recipe. Also, it is important to mince the ginger really well so it blends with the flavors.
Spices really make this dish so we will be adding a mixture of curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, paprika (I prefer smoked paprika), and cinnamon.
At the end of the cooking, adding a tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice gives that tangy flavor. You can also use lime juice if you prefer.
Maple Syrup (optional)
I like adding a dash of maple syrup so it can bring out the flavors. You can also use coconut sugar or another sweetener of choice or skip it.
I recommend garnishing it with chopped cilantro because it really gives that unique taste. You can also skip it if you like.
How to Make the Red Lentil Dal recipe (Masoor Dal Curry) Step by Step
- First, you will need to cook the onions until caramelized.
- Next, you will add the garlic, ginger, spices, salt, and saute for another minute until fragrant.
- And then we will add the lentils, water, coconut milk, and maple syrup (optional) and cook until lentils are soft. After it's cooked, we'll also be adding a tablespoon of lemon juice and give it a stir.
Tips & Variations
- If you use light coconut milk, the dish won't be as creamy so keep that in mind.
- Add chopped tomatoes and carrots if you like.
- Maple syrup gives a little sweetness but if you want it sweeter, you can add a little more. You can also add more lemon juice for citrusy flavor.
- If you like it to be spicy, you can add cayenne pepper.
- Always adjust to taste and add more salt if needed!
How to serve red lentil dal (dahl)
- Serve it with basmati rice or brown rice.
- You can also try it with my cilantro lime quinoa recipe!
- Try serving the red lentil dal with naan bread.
- You can also serve this dahl with a bed of greens such as arugula.
How to store this Indian curry
Refrigerator: You can store the dahl leftovers for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
Freezer: This vegan red lentil dal is freezer-friendly so it freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let it cool completely and then transfer it over to an airtight freezer-friendly container.
Reheat: If the red lentil dal leftovers were frozen, you'll need to let it thaw first. You can simply reheat on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through. Keep in mind, you may need to add a little water as needed.
This healthy recipe comes together so fast and it is very easy and customizable. It is also:
- Vegan & Gluten-free
- Hearty, Warming & Filling
- Flavorful & budget-friendly and made in just one pot
- Perfect for meal prep and freezer friendly
- Also so delicious!
More Vegan Soup & Stew recipes to try
- BUTTERNUT SQUASH CURRY (VEGAN & HEALTHY)
- EASY VEGAN CHILI RECIPE (HEALTHY)
- VEGAN POTATO LEEK SOUP RECIPE (HEALTHY & CREAMY)
- VEGAN SPLIT PEA SOUP (STOVETOP OR INSTANT POT)
- RED LENTIL SOUP RECIPE (STOVETOP OR INSTANT POT)
- CHANA MASALA RECIPE (EASY & VEGAN)
So did you make this? I’d love for you to leave a comment and rate the recipe. You can also share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest and tag me on Instagram using @avocadocentric or #avocadocentric! xo, SelinPrint
This creamy red lentil dal recipe is healthy, quick, simple, and so easy to make! This Masoor dal curry is vegan, gluten-free, ready in 30 minutes so perfect for meal prep or a weeknight dinner!
- 1 cup red lentils (rinsed)
- 1 14 ounce can of unsweetened canned coconut milk (full-fat or light)
- 3 cups of water
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp paprika (I prefer smoked paprika)
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp or more salt
- 1 tbsp oil (coconut, avocado or olive oil)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Dash of maple syrup (optional)
- Optional: garnish with chopped cilantro
- In a medium pot or saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. When it's hot, add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft and caramelized.
- Add the garlic, ginger, salt, and spices (curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, paprika, cinnamon) into the pan. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the lentils, coconut milk, water, maple syrup (optional) into the pan, and cook for 20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Stirring occasionally.
- When it's cooked, add the lemon juice and give it a stir. Serve and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
If you use light coconut milk, the dish won't be as creamy.
Add chopped tomatoes and carrots.
Maple syrup gives a little sweetness but if you want it sweeter, add a little more. Also add more lemon juice for citrusy flavor.
If you like it to be spicy, add cayenne pepper.
Always adjust to taste and add more salt if needed!
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 304
- Sugar: 4g
- Sodium: 305.4mg
- Fat: 12.2g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 38.6g
- Fiber: 6.9g
- Protein: 12.4g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: red lentil daal, red lentil dahl, masoor dal curry, Indian curry, lentil curry, Indian dal, lentil dal