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A bowl of red lentil dahl topped with fresh cilantro.

Coconut Red Lentil Dahl

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 117 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan


A red lentil dahl cooked in coconut milk with a fragrant combination of spices. You’ll make this delicious staple dish time and time again. Luckily, it makes a big batch!


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 medium white or yellow onion, diced (approx. 4 cups)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp mild yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups (375 g) dry red lentils
  • 1 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk*
  • 3 cups water or vegetable stock*
  • fresh cilantro, for serving
  • cooked jasmine, basmati or brown rice, optional for serving 


  1. Cook Aromatics: Cook the onions, ginger and garlic in the coconut oil for 5-10 minutes over medium heat in a large saucepan or pot, stirring frequently until soft.
  2. Add Remaining Ingredients: Add all of the spices, salt and pepper, coconut milk, red lentils and water or vegetable stock.
  3. Simmer Dahl: Bring to a light simmer over low to medium heat and cook for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until lentils are tender and the dahl has thickened.
  4. Serve: Remove from heat and serve topped with fresh cilantro over basmati rice, brown rice, quinoa, or on its own.


Broth or Water: You can use both with good results but the broth adds 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