This easy-peasy one-pot red lentil and kale dahl is incredibly budget-friendly and packed with wholesome delicious Asian flavours. This vegan lentil dahl recipe is so simple as everything goes in one-pot.
Red Lentil Dahl can be served as a side-dish along with a larger Indian inspired meal or enjoyed on its own with some tasty rice, naan or roti bread, or even mashed or baked potatoes.
Red lentil dahl is ideal for busy families who need wholesome, flavour-packed, budget-saving vegan and plant-based meals cooked quickly with little fuss.
This delicious dahl recipe is also perfect for gluten-free diets as well as those following a no oil diet.
What is dahl?
Dahl is an Indian dish [with dahl originating thousands of years ago in the Indus Valley Civilization] prepared with any split pulse most commonly lentils and split peas. It can be confusing as dahl refers to the actual pulse used to prepare the dish dahl, as well as the name of the cooked dahl meal.
Dahl can also be written as dal, daal, or dalh.
The beauty of split pulses is that they do not require soaking before cooking so are perfect for quick and easy veggie meals.
There are many varieties and recipes for the meal dahl depending on which Indian region or cook is preparing the dahl, but in essence dahl is split pulses cooked with spices, and flavours such as ginger, garlic and onion, into a thick stew or soup like texture.
Most commonly a selection of spices including onions, etc, are tempered [cooked] in oil separate to the main dahl, and then after the dahl has cooked the hot spices and oil are added.
How To Prepare Red Lentil And Kale Dahl
First add the rough chopped onion, sliced garlic, grated ginger, bay leaf, curry powder and turmeric into a pot or pan.
Stir through the dried red split lentils.
Add the kale and give it a good stir.
Pour in the vegetable broth/stock, and season with a little salt and black pepper.
Pop a lid askew over the pot and bring to a simmer.
Cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
The dahl will be nice and thick once cooked. Extra liquid can be added if a more soupy dahl is preferred.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the dahl, along with ½ teaspoon of sugar and about 4 tablespoons of fresh coriander/cilantro.
Serve each portion with extra cilantro and a sprinkle of red chilli or paprika flakes, if liked.
What's the best way to store leftover red lentil dahl?
Store within the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Can dahl be frozen?
Or freeze for 3-4 months.
How do I reheat dahl?
Pop the dahl into a non-stick pan and gently reheat until simmering. Heat through for a few minutes or until piping hot. A little extra stock/broth/water or even coconut or cashew nut milk can be added just to loosen up the dahl while it reheats, as it may have become very thick as it sits.
Any ideas for using up leftover dahl?
- Adding extra liquid to leftover dahl can create a dahl soup that is perfect for next days lunch.
- Or firmly pack the dahl into a bowl or tub and chill. The chilled thick dahl can be used as a lentil pate and spread over crackers, toasted or fresh bread, Scottish oatcakes, etc.
- Enjoy a dahl toastie! Fill your bread, tortilla wrap, etc with leftover chilled dahl and perhaps a little vegan shredded cheese and thin sliced tomatoes, and toast until the bread is crunchy and golden, and the filling is bubbling and melted.
Is red lentil and kale dahl fine for gluten-free diets?
Yes. Lentil dahl is perfect for gluten-free diets as lentils are naturally gluten-free.
However, do select a gluten-free vegan broth/stock and check that your curry powder does not contain any gluten ingredients such as wheat flour which may be added as a thickener.
Is lentil dahl good for you?
Lentils are an amazing choice for a healthy balanced diet. Lentils are low in fat and calories but full of goodness.
A portion of red lentil and kale dahl is packed with plant-based nutrition providing about 16g of protein, 19g of fibre, 109mg calcium, 6mg iron and a good doze of vitamin A! As well as lots of other nutrition, and valuable antioxidants from the curry powder and turmeric, lentils and kale.
Enjoying a lentil dish with a wholegrain such as brown rice results in the protein content of the meal being complete and on par with meat protein.
Can I add anything extra to this easy red lentil dahl recipe?
A few ideas:
- pour in ½-3/4 cups of coconut milk after the dahl has been cooked, and gently reheat to just simmering point. This will add creaminess and extra savoury sweet flavours.
- or drizzle some vegan sour or plain cream, or a dollop of vegan plain yogurt over each serving.
- sprinkle a few toasted flaked almonds, peanuts or cashews over the dahl before serving.
- a few tablespoons of mango chutney stirred through the finished dahl adds extra dimensions of sweet and fruitiness.
- a 400g/15oz can/1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans added along with the kale is a tasty addition.
- Roasted veggies can be mixed through the dahl after it has cooked. This is an idea way to bulk out the dahl to get more portions and to use up a vegetable that needs cooking. My family loves roasted garam masala cauliflower which is so easy to prepare and so good to eat straight off the baking tray!
- To prepare roasted garam masala simply chop cauliflower into florets and mix with a few teaspoons of garam masala powder or similar, sprinkle a little salt and pepper over, and roast on a baking tray for about 20-25 minutes at 160 Fan, 180 C, 356 Fahrenheit, Gas 4. Exact cooking times depend on size of florets.
- Stir the roasted cauliflower florets through the cooked red lentil dahl, perhaps adding a little extra hot veggie stock if required, and enjoy!
For more easy vegan curry recipes do have a look at our collection which is growing all the time!
Easy Budget-Friendly Red Lentil And Kale Dahl
- Large non-stick pot/skillet with lid
- 225 grams red split lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 medium onion [about 175 grams], rough diced [or 2 teaspoons onion powder]
- 6 garlic cloves diced or sliced thin [or 2 teaspoons garlic puree/ 2 teaspoons garlic powder]
- 1 inch ginger root [15 grams], grated or fine diced [or replace with 1 ½ teaspoons ginger powder or 2 teaspoons ginger puree]
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tablespoon mild curry powder [such as Madras]
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 80 grams kale
- 850 mililitres vegetable stock
At the end of cooking, optional but highly recommended
- fresh lemon juice a few squeezes from half a lemon, to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons coriander cilantro, chopped, use more to garnish if liked
- red chilli or paprika flakes a few sprinkles
- Add the onions, garlic, ginger, red lentils, curry powder, turmeric, bay leaf and kale to the pot.
- Pour in the hot vegetable stock. Add a little salt and black pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low-medium, and pop a lid on the pot askew. Simmer for 25 minutes, stir the dahl a few times during cooking to ensure the lentils all cook evenly.
- Once cooked remove the bay leaf. Add the sugar, a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, and the fresh coriander if using.Stir and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve with extra coriander, and a sprinkle of red chilli or paprika flakes, if liked.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Nutritional data includes one tablespoon of lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of fresh coriander and ½ teaspoon of sugar.
- Leftovers can be stored within the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Reheat by placing in a pan and stirring over a medium heat until piping hot. A little water or stock can be added to loosen up the dahl if necessary but don't add too much unless you want dahl soup! Which would be tasty.
- Enjoy lentil dahl as a main dish or along with rice, naan breads, chapati's, lentil/chickpea crisps/crackers, mango chutney, mint sauce or pickle, etc.
- Mashed potato is a surprisingly tasty accompaniment for dahl, as is a baked sweet potato.
- Or have a scoop of dahl as a side-dish alongside a larger Indian inspired feast.
- To bulk out the red lentil dahl into more portions mix through a few cups of roasted veggies after the dahl has been cooked. Such as roasted garam masala cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato or white potatoes.
- To prepare roasted garam masala cauliflower simply chop 2-4 cups of cauliflower into florets and mix with a few teaspoons of garam masala powder or similar, sprinkle a little salt and pepper over, and roast on a baking tray for about 20-25 minutes at 180 C/ 356 Fahrenheit/ Gas 4. Exact cooking times depend on size of florets.
- [Cauliflower shrinks once roasted so prepare a little more than you think you need]
- Roasted garam masala cauliflower is so tasty you'll have a hard time not munching it straight from the oven before it can be used for a recipe!
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