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.
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.
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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.