So you bought a bunch of lentils when pantry stocking and aren’t sure what to make? If they’re brown or green lentils, try a one-pot rice dish or even a Mediterranean-style salad. But if you have some quicker-cooking red lentils, there are other types of options, like tomato-based soup and this flavorful red lentil dal.
Peter Singer’s Red Lentil Dal for a Cheap, Easy, Healthy, Plant-Based Meal
Not all dal is dairy-free. Some types can contain butter, ghee, yogurt, or even cream. But red lentil dal is often a naturally vegan dish that’s simple to make. It uses primarily pantry ingredients, with everyday fresh additions, like garlic, onion, and lemon. And it usually contains coconut milk for a hint of creaminess and to help carry the curry flavors.
This particular recipe was shared with us from Peter Singer’s book, The Ethics of What We Eat, back when it was first published. We’ve since updated this post and added some notes to help you achieve the tastiest results.
Special Diet Notes: Red Lentil Dal
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder, to taste
- Salt, to taste (we use ¾ teaspoon)
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 3 cups water
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup coconut milk (full-fat, canned)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and salt, and sauté over medium heat until the mixture begins to brown.
- Add the red lentils and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, and simmer for another 10 minutes, until thick. The lentils should be soft and the consistency just liquid enough to pour.
- Stir in the coconut milk and lemon juice.