Coconut Red Lentil Dahl
This 5-star coconut red lentil dahl recipe is a healthy comfort food staple. The best part about it? It’s easy to make in under 40 minutes with just a few simple ingredients, making it perfect for any night of the week.
- quick and easy – minutes of prep, minimal ingredients, 1 pot, 30 minutes of cooking time
- perfect for meal prep – keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen
- 5-star reviewed – this popular recipe has hundreds of 5-star reviews!
- dietary needs – this recipe is vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free (contains coconut milk though), can can be oil-free
- onion – use 2 small to medium-sized yellow or white onions
- garlic and ginger – key for the flavour base!
- spices – you’ll need curry powder, turmeric, coriander, salt and pepper, the red pepper flakes can be omitted if sensitive to spice
- lentils – this recipe uses dry red lentils
- coconut milk – for extra creamy dahl, use full-fat coconut milk, for a lower-fat but still delicious dahl, use light coconut milk
- vegetable broth – I like cooking the dahl in broth for extra flavour but water works too if you’re in a pinch
Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1. Cook the onions, garlic and ginger in the coconut oil for 6-7 minutes over medium heat, stirring often.
Step 2. Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and broth or water. Give it a good stir to combine the ingredients.
Step 3. Simmer over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes until it’s thick and creamy and the lentils are tender.
Serve right away topped with fresh cilantro, on its own or over rice.
Notes and Tips
- Add Greens: You can stir in a couple handfuls of fresh spinach at the end for added nutrition.
- More Veggies: If you want to add additional veggies, I’d recommend adding diced carrots, cauliflower or bell peppers at the same time as the onions
- Heat: Omit or reduce the red pepper flakes if you’re sensitive to spice, or feel free to add a little more if you really want some kick! One diced jalapeno (deseeded) or cayenne pepper work as an alternative to red chili flakes.
- Meal Prep: The flavours only improve the next day so this is a great dish to make in advance!
- To make this recipe oil-free: Omit the coconut oil and saute the onion, garlic and ginger in water or broth.
How to Serve Lentil Dahl
Dahl is wonderful served on its own but it can also be served:
- with fresh pita or naan bread
- over jasmine, basmati or brown rice
- over quinoa
- with cooked veggies or a handful of fresh greens on the side
- with baked tofu, chickpeas or tempeh
Yes! Red lentils are rich in fibre, plant-based protein, iron and other micronutrients.
To make this recipe lower in fat and calories, use light coconut milk.
Red lentils have a quick cooking time so they do not need to be soaked. You can give them a quick rinse in cold water before adding to the recipe to remove any debris, if you like.
- Fridge: Let it cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavours only improve with time! Reheat stovetop or in the microwave.
- Freezer: Let it cool then store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat stovetop or in the microwave as needed.
- Vegan Panang Curry
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- Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry
- Thai Red Curry Lentils
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- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced (600 g, approx. 4 cups)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled, minced
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups (375 g) dry red lentils
- 1 can coconut milk (full-fat or light)
- 3 cups water or vegetable stock
- fresh cilantro for serving
- cooked jasmine, basmati or brown rice, for serving (optional)
- Cook the onions, ginger and garlic in the coconut oil for 5-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently until soft.
- Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and water or vegetable stock.
- Bring to a light simmer over low to medium heat and cook for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until lentils are soft and it has thickened up.
- Remove from heat and serve topped with fresh cilantro over brown rice, quinoa, or on its own.
Broth or Water: You can use both with good results but the broth adds a bit more flavour to the final dish.
Coconut Milk: Both light and full-fat coconut milk work well. Full-fat will result in an extra creamy dahl, light coconut milk is great for a lower-fat option that’s still delicious.
Storage: Let cool then store in a sealable container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat as needed stovetop or in the microwave.
Spiciness: Omit or reduce the amount of red pepper flakes if you’re sensitive to spice.
- Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
- Calories: 330
- Fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 49 g
- Protein: 19 g
Keywords: coconut red lentil dahl, best red lentil dahl
Update Note: This recipe was originally published on August 23, 2013. It was last updated with new photos and text on July 21, 2020.