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Red Lentil Dal

The secret to this lentil curry stew is to simmer the lentils until they are tender while sauteeing onion, garlic, ginger and chiles with spices, then incorporating the onion mixture into the lentils. Serve alongside rice and garnish with plain vegan nut-free, soy-free yogurt and cilantro for a gorgeous presentation of flavor and color.

This recipe is inspired by the Masoor Dal Tadka recipe by The Curious Chickpea.

Read my post, “How to: Host a Dinner Party for People with (and Without) Food Allergies and Intolerances,” including a shopping list and recipes for an Indian-inspired dinner party featuring this recipe, plus Saag “Paneer” and Mango Lassis.

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Red Lentil Dal

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10



  • 2 cups dry red lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp canned green chiles (I used mild, but you can use medium or hot for more spice)
  • 1 small knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes

To serve:

  • 2 cups Basmati rice, prepared per package instructions
  • plain vegan, nut-free, soy-free yogurt (I use Harmless Harvest)
  • chopped cilantro


  • Place lentils and water in a large stock pot.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Note: you do not need to drain the lentils; they will soak up the water.
  • While the lentils are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a large saute pan, then add onion, garlic, ginger, green chiles and salt and saute until onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.
  • Add spices and salt and cook for another minute or so, then add tomatoes.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the onion and garlic mixture to the stock pot with the cooked lentils and stir to combine.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Serve along with prepared rice and provide plain vegan, nut-free, soy-free yogurt and cilantro for garnish.
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Hey there, I'm Liz!

As a former food editor and everyday home cook, I’ve spent the past 15+ years testing, tasting and saving delicious, Octofree recipes for my family. It’s with lots of love that I share the best of the bunch with you, along with tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

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