Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dal Soup is so tasty, easy, budget-friendly, and wholesome. Fill your kitchen with the amazing aromas of beautifully spiced red split lentils gently bubbling away. Perfect for when you fancy the delicious flavours of a home-cooked curry but are short of time and just need the slow cooker to do all the work!
This Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dal Soup is delicious served with a simple garnish of chopped coriander [cilantro] and a few crushed peanuts. A dollop of mango chutney and a slice of naan bread are also tasty additions.
For interesting information about the origins of lentil dal and for another easy dal recipe, then do check out our family budget favourite Red Lentil and Kale Dal recipe which is prepared on the stove-top.
How to prepare red split lentil dal soup
Preparing a lentil dal soup in the slow cooker couldn't be easier.
A quick pre-cook of the onions, garlic, ginger, and spices ensure that more flavour is brought out of the ingredients before being added to the slow cooker, and the end result is so worth the extra few minutes.
First, heat the coconut oil and cook the onions, garlic and ginger pastes for 5 minutes. The pastes can be replaced with fine diced fresh garlic and ginger, or the dried varieties.
Add the curry powder and turmeric powder, cook for an extra 1 minute.
Add the spiced onion mixture to the slow cooker, along with the red split lentils, bay leaf, salt and black pepper.
Give it all a good mix and pour in the hot vegetable stock.
Switch the slow cooker to the high setting and cook for 3 hours.
Pour in the lemon juice and stir.
Remove the bay leaf and add extra salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the red lentil dal soup as it is, or with a variety of garnishes such as mango chutney, chopped fresh coriander [cilantro], crushed peanuts, and slices of naan bread.
A drizzle of vegan cream or thick coconut milk is also a tasty addition.
Storage and reheating
Leftover lentil dal soup will keep fresh for up to 3 days, within a covered container in the refrigerator.
Or freeze for 3-4 months.
Reheat on the stovetop until piping hot, or use a microwave. Alternatively pour the soup back into the slow cooker, switch to the high setting and leave until the soup is bubbling and piping hot.
Absolutely. Lentil dal is perfect for gluten-free diets as lentils are naturally gluten-free. Although do use a gluten-free vegetable stock and check the ingredients for any curry powder and spices used, just to make sure that they do not have any wheat flour or gluten ingredients added.
This soup is tasty on its own or with a few additions such as chopped coriander [cilantro], mango chutney, crushed or halved peanuts [or your choice of nuts], and a few pieces of naan bread.
A few more ideas to serve with the soup:
1. Add to the soup bowl before ladling in the dal soup:
* cooked rice, such as brown, white basmati, Jasmine rice, long-grain rice, wholegrain rice, wild rice, black rice, etc
* mashed potatoes [white or sweet potatoes]
* mashed veggies [such as swede, rutabaga, turnip, celeriac, parsnip]
* steamed, fried, or stir-fry green veggies such as spring greens, collards, cabbage, kale, beet greens
2. Serve on the side:
* flatbreads [three ingredient quick flatbreads]
* vegan crackers
* veggie bhaji, pakoras, samosas
* vegetable spring rolls
* Chana Chaat [spicy chickpeas]
* Crispy Tofu Bites [with a nice dip or sauce, or dunk them in the dal soup]
3. Garnish the dal soup:
* plain or roasted peanuts, cashews, flaked almonds, etc [can roast these in a dry non-stick pan for a few minutes, shaking or stirring frequently to avoid burning]
* plain or roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
* vegan pouring cream, thick coconut milk, dollop of vegan creme fraiche, sour cream, plain yogurt, or mayonnaise
* mango chutney, mint chutney, lime pickle, onion chutney
* chickpea croutons [find an easy recipe over on our Curried Cauliflower Soup recipe]
* sliced spring onions [green onions]
* sliced chives
* fresh coriander [cilantro]
* chilli flakes or paprika flakes
* sliced fresh chilli
Of course not. Coconut oil fits the flavour profile of lentil dal so it is a good match to saute the onions and spices in. However, any oil can be used such as vegetable, rapeseed, or olive oil, or use your usual oil. Alternatively a vegan butter or margarine that is suitable for cooking can be used.
Many spices need to be cooked with a fat in order for them to release the flavours, and also our bodies absorb the antioxidants and vitamins within the spices so much easier if they are consumed with a fat source.
But of course, these much needed healthy fats could be gained a different way, such as having a few nuts or seeds with the dal.
So if preferred omit the oil and use extra veggie stock [broth] instead, start with ½ a cup and add extra spoonfuls as required to prevent the onions sticking to the pan. Alternatively, simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and omit the sauteing stage.
Yes of course. The sauteing of the spices, onions, garlic, and ginger can be omitted and all the ingredients simply added to the slow cooker. Whether or not you include the coconut oil is personal preference.
Yes. Simply follow the directions in the recipe card below and add extra vegetable stock if necessary during cooking, as slow cookers require less liquid as it doesn't get a chance to evaporate during cooking in a slow cooker.
No. These ingredients can be replaced with their fresh or frozen counterparts. To replace the garlic paste use 4-6 fresh garlic cloves and to replace the ginger paste use about 1-2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger or about 1 teaspoon of ginger powder.
I understand the frustration! Its happened to us so many times! Slow cookers can sometimes be unpredictable, especially when it comes to cooking certain types of vegetables like carrots. Here are a few solutions and tips for the issue of carrots not cooking properly in your slow cooker soup:
1. Chop them smaller: If your carrot pieces are too large, they might not cook through in the time provided by the recipe so cutting them into smaller, uniform sizes can help them cook more evenly and faster.
2.Pre-cook the carrots: If you find that your slow cooker consistently does not soften up your carrots to the texture that you prefer then consider par-boiling or blanching your carrots before adding to the slow cooker. To blanch the carrots just add them to boiling water for a few minutes, then either run them under cold water or place them into a bowl with icy water so that they can stop cooking.
Alternatively, place the carrots into a microwave-safe bowl with a bit of water, cover, and microwave on high for a few minutes to soften.
3. Check the slow cookers temperature: If you frequently encounter this issue, your slow cooker might not be getting hot enough. Try cooking on a higher setting or perhaps consider replacing the slow cooker if it's old and not functioning properly, especially if this is a new problem and your carrots used to soften up fine.
4. Layering matters: When adding ingredients to the slow cooker, place the carrots at the bottom since this is usually the hottest area and it will give the carrots the best chance to soften up.
5. Extend the cooking time: Sometimes, all it takes is a little more time than is stated in a particular recipe, as slow cookers can have differences in cooking times so if you find the carrots aren't as soft as you'd like, continue cooking and check every 30 minutes until they reach the desired softness.
6. Avoid overcrowding: If the slow cooker is too full, it may not cook evenly so make sure there's enough space for the heat to move around the ingredients. This may be an issue if you use a smaller slow cooker than the one recommended in your recipe, for example if you use a 1.5 litre slow cooker for a recipe that was developed for a 3.5 litre slow cooker. If this is the case consider halving the recipe quantities.
7. Did you add tomatoes? The acid in tomatoes can sometimes hinder the ability of the carrots to soften up their cell walls! So for some recipes its best to soften the carrots before adding to a recipe which also includes carrots, or settle for a longer cooking time!
8. Check for potential faults: Ensure that the slow cooker lid fits snugly, and there's no gap. Any gap can let the steam escape, which might affect the cooking process. Some slow cookers especially the models that have 3 smaller slow cookers joined together in one machine tend to have a space for a spoon to sit under the lid, but this gap could potentially lead to too much heat escaping and so your carrots or other veggies may not soften up as expected.
Do keep in mind, that cooking times can vary between different slow cooker brands and models, so it might require some trial and error to get the perfect texture for your ingredients. The more you use your slow cooker the more you will gain valuable experience and will be able to predict its unique behaviour!
More easy vegan red lentil recipes
We love plant-based and vegan recipes that feature red lentils as they just taste so good, are wholesome, inexpensive, and quick to cook! We especially love our traditional Vegan Scottish Lentil Soup, and our tasty Harvest Pumpkin and Lentil Pie which could also be called a flan and features a crisp herby wholemeal pastry crust.
We also love this Vegan Pea and 'Ham' Soup that is so easy to prepare in the Slow Cooker, and for another red lentil dal recipe that is prepared on the stove-top our Budget-Friendly Red Lentil and Kale Dahl is pretty tasty.
For more easy vegan meal ideas do check out our Vegan Dinner Recipes and get some new ideas for your next veggie dinner!
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dal Soup
- 3.5 litre slow cooker [3.5-4 quart] [or use a larger slow cooker]
- small skillet or fry pan
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil [or your usual oil/vegan butter or ½ cup veggie stock]
- 150 gram onion [1 large diced]
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste [or 4-6 cloves fine diced, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder]
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste [or 1 tablespoon grated fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried ginger]
- 4 teaspoon curry powder [such as a Madras curry powder]
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 250 gram red split lentils [rinsed and drained]
- 280 gram carrots [about 2 medium diced]
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock [hot]
At the end of cooking:
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat the coconut oil over a medium heat, and cook the onions, garlic and ginger paste for 5 minutes. Stir a few times. [If preferred, or short on time, this step can be omitted and all the ingredients simply added to the slow cooker]150 gram onion, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon garlic paste, 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- Add the curry powder and turmeric powder, stir and cook for 1 minute.4 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Scrape the onion mixture into the slow cooker, and add the rest of the ingredients.250 gram red split lentils, 280 gram carrots, 1 bay leaf, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon salt
- Give everything a good stir and pour in the hot vegetable stock.1.5 litres vegetable stock
- Set the slow cooker to the high setting and cook for 3 hours. Or for the medium setting about 4-5 hours.Or the low setting for 6-7 hours.[exact times will depend on your slow cooker and how thick you chop your carrots]
- Once cooked, remove the bay leaf, add more salt and pepper to taste, and stir through the lemon juice.A few crushed peanuts and some fresh coriander [cilantro] is a nice garnish, and a tasty naan bread for dipping in the soup is usually welcomed by everyone!1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not intended to be an exact calculation as ingredients can vary.
- We used a 3.5 litre slow cooker with a ceramic inner pot. As many slow cookers or crock pots may cook at different times do consult your slow cooker manual for guidance, or use your own personal experience with your particular slow cooker, for more guidance on cooking times.
- Store leftover lentil dal soup for 3 days within a refrigerator.
- Or freeze for 2-3 months.
- Leftover soup can be reheated on the stove-top until piping hot, or within a microwave, or pour back into the slow cooker and switch to the high setting and leave until the soup is heated through.
- For a gluten-free dal soup simply use a gluten-free veggie stock and check the ingredients for your spices and curry powder to ensure that no gluten ingredients have been added.
- To prepare on the stove-top, follow the recipe and add extra vegetable stock if necessary during cooking. The soup is ready when the carrots are soft, the lentils cooked and the soup nice and thick.
- If preferred the sauteing can be omitted and the ingredients all added to the slow cooker. Its personal preference whether to also include the coconut oil.
- For an oil-free soup, omit the coconut oil, and either saute the spices, onions, garlic, and ginger in about ½ cup [120mililitres] of vegetable stock or omit the sauteing.
Prepared our tasty Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dal Soup? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe. Do leave us a comment below and click on the star ratings. Thanks so much, Jacq x