Red Lentil & Spinach Dahl


(Updated 07/27/22)

When you’re after something superbly hearty and nourishing to-boot, look no further than dahl. Like a hug for your stomach, it’s a comfort food that transcends through culture; a classic within the Indian cuisine.

Dahl is a spiced thick soup/curry/stew, made by simmering dried split pulses long and slow until they’ve broken down, becoming mushy and thick. A fried garnish is then added, often containing onions, garlic, ginger and various spices, as well as sometimes tomatoes.

With much wriggle room for variety, dahl can be thick or thin, and with whatever spices you’d like to add; often eaten with flatbreads, like roti’s or naan, or served with rice.

Aside from the name of the style of dish, in India the term dahl is also used to describe the ingredient dried split pulses (e.g. lentils, peas, beans). Pulses are a good source of dietary fibre, as well as plant-based protein.

They’re also cheap, easily accessible at most supermarkets or bulk stores, and cook pretty speedy. This would be a great one to bulk-cook and freeze for speedy heat-and-eat meals across the week! Yum.

Red Lentil & Spinach Dahl

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup dried red split lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½  Tbsp oil
  • ½  tsp cumin seeds
  • ½  tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 brown onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 4 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • ½  tsp chilli flakes*
  • ½ medium or 1 small lemon
  • Salt, to taste


  • Sift through red lentils and discard any stones or misshaped or discoloured lentils. Rinse in a sieve under running cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Put lentil into a medium-size saucepan with a fitted lid. Add stock and water, then turn heat to high and bring to boil. Skim off any white foam that comes to the surface with a spoon and discard. Turn heat down to a simmer, place lid on, and leave to cook for 20 minutes until a porridge consistency has been reached. Once finished cooking, remove from heat, with lid left on.
  • While that’s cooking, peel and finely dice the onion. Grate ginger and garlic using the smallest hole on your grater or using a microplane grater.
  • Heat the oil in a fry pan over a low-medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and fry for a minute or until fragrant.
  • Add onions, garlic and ginger, and sauté for 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and clear. Add turmeric and canned tomatoes, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the garnish has finished cooking, carefully add into the saucepan with the cooked lentils and mix.
  • Add spinach and chilli flakes. Bring to boil, and then turn heat off and mix well.
  • Add juice of lemon and ½-1 tsp salt. Mix together, taste test and add more salt to your preferred seasoning. Enjoy!


Serving suggestions: Great with rice or roti.
* Sensitive to heat? You may prefer to knock this back to ¼ tsp chili flakes, or for a totally mild dahl add no chili flakes

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If you enjoyed this dish, please consider giving it a star rating when you post a comment. Star ratings help others discover my recipes online (and your reviews make my day! 🙂 ). Happy cooking and baking. Danijela x

Recipe Rating


    • Hi there, thanks for your comment – 3 decent sized portions or 4 smaller bowls – if you enjoy with rice, it bulks it out. Recipe has been updated, thanks 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    This spinach/dahl recipe is absolutely delicious!!
    Eating as I type. Yum!!!
    I had all ingredients available for this recipe.
    Had ready made stock paste to make stock liquid, used our thermomix to finely chop up the onion, ginger + garlic.
    Had a bagful of blanched wild spinach, that I cut up with scissors + I think we had small limes that had turned yellow, in place of the lemon.
    Will definitely make it again.
    Thank you so much, Danijela 🙏

    • Thank you for this lovely comment Franny! Got to love when you have all the ingredients available 🙂 And great tip re the Thermomix, I’ll have to do that next time xx

      • I forgot to mention that I also used ghee in place of the oil.
        Gave it a creamy, buttery taste, contrasted with the lime juice (I probably added more than the recipe suggested) was just amazing.
        The wild spinach was NZ Warrigal greens. Next time, I might use Japanese Okinawa spinach from my garden.
        I have already shared your recipe link with a few friends who love dahl, or who haven’t enjoyed dahl in the past. Hubby was very impressed with the flavour!
        NB. my thermomix vegie stock concentrate may have also enhanced the flavour, compared to store bought stock.
        Anyway, bravo Danijela! 👏