This Indian-inspired one-pot dhal is perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner. It’s mildly spiced, fragrant, full of flavors, and easy to make.
It’s also naturally vegan and gluten-free.
This is one of our go-to recipes when the weather gets cold because it’s hearty, warming, comforting, and seriously delicious.
It reheats beautifully which makes it perfect for making ahead of time and packing for meals throughout the week. Bonus, it’s also freezer-friendly!!
This one-pot dhal pairs perfectly with rice, garlic naans, grilled veggies, or salads!
The base for this warming one-pot dhal starts with some spices for plenty of flavors.
Onion, garlic, ginger, chili, and tomatoes add an extra level of flavors to this dhal.
Although this recipe yields for dried red lentils, you can substitute with other varieties. (Note that you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly and the consistency may vary depending on the variety of lentil used)
Red lentils are the quickest to cook variety, they don’t need presoaking.
They tend to break down when cooking, which gives this dhal its creamy and grainy texture.
This recipe is versatile, you can customize it the way you want. Add in spinach/ peas for extra greens. Or carrot/ sweet potato/ butternut squash for extra sweetness.
For perfectly cooked rice, check out our guide on How to make perfect rice on the stove!
What you might need to make this one-pot dhal:
This Indian inspired one-pot dhal is perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner. It’s mildly spiced, fragrant, full of flavors and easy to make.
- 1 cup dried red lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 large white onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 1 small red or green chili pepper optional
- 1 cup tomato peeled and grated (or canned)
- 2 tsp oil cooking oil of your choice
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 cup water or veggie broth
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp lemon juice (more if needed)
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Boil your water or reheat your veggie broth. Set aside.
In a pestle and mortar, grind the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds. Set aside.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and diced onion. Sautée the onion while stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and fragrant. Next, add garlic, ginger, and chili (if using). Sautée for an extra 5 minutes.
Add ground cumin, coriander, and mustard along with the turmeric, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and sautée for a few minutes or until you can smell the cumin and coriander aroma. Take your time for this step, it's crucial for developing the taste.
Next, add your crushed or canned tomatoes with their juices. Cook for a couple of minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and tender.
Add lentils, along with hot water or broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes or until reduced and thick. Stir occasionally to prevent dhal from sticking to the bottom of your pot.
Add lemon juice, stir and taste test for seasonings and consistency. Add salt, pepper and chili flakes if needed. If your dhal is too thick add more broth (or water) if too thin simmer to reduce.
Serve warm with a lemon wedge, rice, and naan bread.
- This dhal can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or up to 1 month in the freezer.
- Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop. If using a stovetop, add a splash of water to prevent burning.
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