Vegan Indian Recipes: Easy Dal!

November 5, 2014

Easy Vegan Dal Recipe

There seems to be a misconception that cooking Indian food at home is difficult; the ingredients are too “exotic” (read: expensive and impossible to find), or the food will be too spicy. But the truth is that there is a HUGE variety of Indian food out there, and a lot of it is totally attainable for the average home cook. Even better, there are so many amazing vegetarian options that can be easily veganized, and even those who consider bacon a food group will be satisfied by these incredible flavors. The following easy vegan dal recipe is a take on a traditional Dal dish (dal meaning “lentil”), that I’ve adapted from the Steamy Kitchen via one of my favorite food blogs, Budget Bytes. It’s cheap, filling, and loaded with amazing flavor.

Easy Vegan Dal Recipe

Red, green, and even black lentils will all work well for this recipe

Easy Vegan Dal Recipe

What you’ll need:

– 1 cup dry lentils (Note: Usually this dish is made with red lentils, which fall apart faster to create sort of a porridge-like texture. I prefer using green lentils, as they hold their shape much better. Use whatever lentils you have on hand!)

– 1 can diced tomatoes

– 2 tbsp of coconut or vegetable oil

– 1 inch of fresh ginger root, grated finely

– 2 cloves finely minced garlic

– 1/4 tsp cayenne

– 1/2 tsp cumin

– 1 tsp turmeric

– 1/2 cup coconut milk

– Handful of chopped spinach

– Cilantro for garnish

Easy Vegan Dal Recipe

It’s all about the spices!


1. Place your lentils in a saute pan and cover with water. Bring the lentils to a boil and cook them just until they begin to get tender (about 10 minutes should be good).

2. Drain lentils, then return them to the pan. On medium heat, add in your oil, garlic, ginger, cayenne, cumin and turmeric. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the can of tomatoes and one cup of water. Stir it all together, then put a lid on the pot and let it all simmer on low for 30-40 minutes. After half an hour, the dal should be thick but not dried out. If you need to, add a bit more water to keep it from drying, but not so much that it stays soupy.

4. Add chopped spinach and stir until wilted, about 5 minutes.

5. Stir in half a cup of coconut milk. Serve over jasmine rice, garnished with fresh cilantro.


Easy, right? Try this easy vegan dal recipe and let me know what you think!

More vegan Indian recipes and curries: Fridge Drawer Indian Curry

Stuffed Curried Sweet Potato

Red Curry Risotto

Also by Sarah: Homemade Yumm Sauce Recipe


Photo credit: Sarah McEwing

Sarah is a freelance writer based out of Portland, Oregon. Her top three passions in life include her family, her husband, Geoff, and her pug, Rupert. She also enjoys spending her time volunteering, traveling, and experimenting with new recipes. Follow her on Pinterest.


always stay inspired!