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.

A bowl of red lentil dahl topped with fresh cilantro.

Recipe Features

  • 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!

Ingredient Notes

  • 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

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.

Sauteed onion and garlic in a skillet.

Step 2. Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and broth or water. Give it a good stir to combine the ingredients.

Lentils and coconut milk in a skillet with a wooden spoonl
Coconut milk being stirred with lentils and onions in a skillet with a spoon.

Step 3. Simmer over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes until it’s thick and creamy and the lentils are tender.

A creamy red lentil and coconut milk mixture in a skillet with a wooden spoon.
A creamy red lentil dahl in a skillet with a spoon.

Serve right away topped with fresh cilantro, on its own or over rice.

A large skillet of red lentil dahl, topped with fresh cilantro.

Notes and Tips

  • you can stir in a couple handfuls of fresh spinach at the end for added nutrition
  • if you want to add additional veggies, I’d recommend adding diced carrots at the same time as the onions
  • 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!
  • 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

  • wonderful on its own
  • with fresh pita
  • over jasmine, basmati or brown rice
  • with quinoa
  • with cooked veggies or a handful of fresh greens on the side
A bowl of red lentil dahl topped with fresh cilantro.

How to Store

  • 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.

Related Recipes

Did you make this recipe? Click here to leave a review!

Print
A bowl of red lentil dahl topped with fresh cilantro.

Coconut Red Lentil Dahl

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan

Fragrant, warming, nutritious and easy to make, this dish is perfect anytime for a satisfying and delicious meal.


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Cook the onions, ginger and garlic in the coconut oil for 5-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently until soft.
  2. Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and water or vegetable stock.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove from heat and serve topped with fresh cilantro over brown rice, quinoa, or on its own.

Notes

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. 

Nutrition

  • 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.