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Red Lentil Dhal

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

This simple recipe is one of my favorite things to make for dinner! It’s creamy from the coconut milk, loaded with veggies of your choice and delightfully spiced. 

So, what is the benefit eating red lentils? Lentils are a small but nutritionally might member of the legume family! Lentils are packed full with fiber, both soluble and insolube. Soluble finer forms a gel-like substance that cruises through the GI snaring bile (which contains cholesterol) and escorts it our of the body. Whilst insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation and alleviates IBS & prevents other digestive disorders. 

Lentils provide slow burning complex carbohydrates, and  they can increase your energy by replenishing your iron stores. This is lovely for women who are on their cycle. not only will your iron stores be nourished, but your hormones will be regulated through the regulation of blood sugar! Iron is a key part of enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism, so if you are menstruating, pregnant or lactating then your need for iron increases! 

Recap on why we love red lentils: 

  • They are an amazing source of protein 

  • A good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber 

  • They have high levels of vitamin-B, particularly B-3 & B-12

  • rich in iron and increase energy stores (esp. great for women on their cycle, pregnant or lactating) 

  • High fiber to stabilize blood sugar levels since high finer content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after meals

  • They readily absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from herbs, spices and toppings

  • Simple to prepare 

  • Can be paired with so many sides

  • so delicious :) 

Let’s get cooking! I have mentioned before always to soak your grains and legumes because it makes them more digestible, especially for those individuals who tend to feel bloated or gassy when eating legumes. I typically soak grains and lentils/legumes overnight as this helps the cooking time and I personally find that it makes me less bloated (if at all). 

However, with red lentils, you can get away with soaking them for a couple of hours prior to cooking or not soaking them at all. Which let’s be real, not all of us know what we are making for dinner with ample amounts of time for soaking. 

~ Tip: when washing your lentils, keep an eye out for any small stones that may be hiding amongst the lentils. Be sure to pick those out if you see them to protect your teeth!

What should you serve with this delightful dish? 

There are many options of what you can serve with this delicious curry. Here are some ideas:

⊹ Naan (check my easy breezy naan recipe!) 

⊹ Basmati rice, jasmine rice, brown rice

⊹ Quinoa 

⊹ Cauliflower Rice


The recipe below is for 4 people, but I serve it with rice so if you plan to not include a side then double up!

  • 1 cup red lentils 

  • 2 Tbs ghee (or coconut oil for my vegans)  

  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)

  • 2 cups veggie stock 

  • Veggies! (I used 2 large carrots, 4 celery stalks, 1 leek, 1 yellow pepper & a large zucchini) — I like my veggies! but feel free to scale back if you’d like 

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds 

  • 1 cup diced yellow onion 

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 

  • 2-3 inch piece fresh ginger, grated 

  • 1 tsp turmeric 

  • 1 tsp Garam masala 

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems, plus chopped leaves for garnish

  • sea salt & cracked pepper 

  • **I always sprinkle Hingvastak on top (you can purchase at Banyan Botanicals)


Step 1: In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee  (or coconut oil for my vegans). Add your seeds (cumin, coriander, and fennel) and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and add the chopped onions and garlic cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the ginger and turmeric to the mix, stirring for 1 or 2 minutes. 

Step 2: Add your chopped veggies to the mixture and cook for 5 minutes until they begin to soften up, but are not cooked. I like to keep my veggies with a crunch :) 

Step 3: Toss your washed lentils into the pot, stirring it into the veggie spic mixture. Let it get all coated and cook for 3 minutes or so. Add in the coconut milk, veggie broth, cilantro stems and garam masala. Bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and Pepper to taste. 

Step 4: Spoon your dhal into bowls as is or with your grain or naan. Top with fresh cilantro and whatever else you like! (I use hingvastak and liquid aminos) 


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