Go Back
+ servings
Dal 2 scaled 1
Indian Red Lentil and Spinach Dal (stovetop)
Inspired by dal recipe from my grandma's kitchen, this Indian red lentil and spinach dal (stovetop) is simple, healthy, and and easy to prepare. Enjoy as a soup or pair with your favorite side of grains.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 201 kcal


To cook the red lentils

  • 1 cup red lentils (masoor dal without skin, soaked for at least 6 hours in 4 cups water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric powder

Add lentils to the herb and spice base

  • 1.5 tsp avocado oil*
  • 1 onion (small, ~1/2 cup chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced, ~1 heaping tsp)
  • 1.5 tsp freshly grated ginger (can reduce to 1 tsp if too strong)
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper (~1tsp, finely chopped, or sub with equal amount green chili)
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds (can sub with equal amount cumin powder)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste, can sub with equal amount red chili powder)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste, no more than 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tomato (medium, ~1 cup chopped, can sub with equal amount canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 cups baby spinach (coarsely chopped, can sub with 1 cup frozen spinach)
  • 1/4 cup water (as needed)


To cook the red lentils

  • Wash the lentils under running water and soak in 4 cups of water for at least 4-6 hours. Discard the soak water and add lentils with 2 cups of water, salt, coriander powder, and turmeric. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes over reduced heat. Skim the foam that comes up while boiling the lentils. (Total Time: ~ 10 minutes)

Add lentils to the herb and spice base

  • Heat a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat and add avocado oil. Test the oil by adding a couple of cumin seeds. When cumin seeds are added, they should sizzle. Add all the cumin seeds and let it brown a little. Please be sure not to burn the seeds.
    Dal Process
  • Once the cumin seeds have become brown, add onion, ginger, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, and jalapeno peppers. Cook the mixture for 3-4 minutes adding some water if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once onions are soft, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until soft (~4-5 minutes).
  • Add the cooked dal to the onion and tomato mixture and cook for 10 minutes, slighly covered.
  • Add the chopped spinach and cook for another 10 minutes. If the dal appears too dry, add some water.

For serving

  • Cook brown rice, quinoa, or millet. It can also be served with chapati or whole-grain tortilla. You can also enjoy this dal as a soup.


*to make the oil-free version, heat 2 tbsp of water and add 1 tsp homemade roasted ground cumin. Follow the rest of the recipes as given above. 


Serving: 1cupCalories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 13gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 480mgPotassium: 635mgFiber: 15gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1732IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Dal, Lentils
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!