This easy red lentil dahl is a cozy vegan dish that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner. It’s packed with fiber from the red lentils, cauliflower and carrots and full of antioxidants from the spices like turmeric.
Growing up we didn’t eat much Indian food. As I got older, I became drawn to the warming spices like turmeric and curry powders. These antioxidant-rich spices are incredibly beneficial for your health and also make meals extremely flavorful. I love experimenting with these flavors in my kitchen by taking traditional recipes and making them in a non-traditional way. Sometimes this means simplifying a recipe so that it’s quick and easy.
This vegan red lentil dahl is just that —quick and easy. It’s perfect for a weeknight or when you’re craving something warm and cozy!
Easy vegan Red Lentil Dahl
While not exactly traditional, this red lentil dahl is still delicious! The complex flavors and aromatic spices taste similar to the traditional dish but with fewer steps. Plus, it’s made in one-pan with pantry staples and is ready in 30 minutes. I consider that a weeknight win!
The base of this easy vegan red lentil dahl consists of red lentils, frozen (or fresh) riced cauliflower and carrots. Warming spices like turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, and coriander give it a cozy complex flavor. I recommend finishing it off with a squeeze of fresh lemon to balance out the flavors and give the dahl more depth.
How to Serve
Serve this red lentil dahl on its own as a stew or make it a little hardier by serving it on top of a potato/sweet potato or a bed of rice. You can also serve it with naan bread or grain-free tortilla for scooping.
Since this dish doesn’t contain much fat, I highly recommend serving it with the pumpkin seeds or a splash of coconut milk. Healthy fats are needed to absorb the important fat-soluble nutrients A, D, E, and K as well as antioxidants like those found in turmeric.
To boost the protein, you can add 1/2 cup of collagen peptides when adding the broth or add 1-2 scoops to each individual serving. Just be aware that by adding the collagen peptides the dahl is no longer vegan. If you wish to keep this dish vegan, I recommend adding more pumpkin seeds or a combination of pumpkin and hemp seeds for a protein boost.
NOURISHED BY NUTRITION FACTS:
Red Lentils – Just like beans, there are different types of lentils. Red lentils are by far the softest of the lentils and breakdown when cooked. This adds a creaminess to soups and stews. Because of their soft texture, they’re often used for Indian dahls and kitchari. Lentils are one of the best sources of plant-based protein. They have 18 grams of protein per 1 cup, along with 16 grams of fiber.
Cauliflower – frozen riced cauliflower is one of my freezer staples. You can add it to oatmeal, saute on the stove-top or toss it into soups! The riced cauliflower in this red lentil dahl adds texture, fiber, and nutrients. Cauliflower contains numerous vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, and potassium. It also has a naturally occurring compound called DIM which supports the body’s natural estrogen detoxification pathway. This is extremely important for optimizing hormones health, especially in women.
Turmeric – aka the queen of spices. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years and is one of the most thoroughly researched plants to this day. Curcumin, one of the antioxidant compounds in turmeric, has been shown to help improve high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, depression, and cancer. To increase the absorption of turmeric, it’s best to combine it with black pepper and healthy fats. Studies have shown that piperine, a component of black pepper, greatly enhances the concentration and absorption of curcumin in our bodies. Fat has also been shown to enhance the absorption of turmeric. Luckily, we don’t have to go out of our way to incorporate these ingredients when consuming turmeric since both healthy fats and black pepper are typically used in everyday cooking.
IF YOU LOVE THIS Red Lentil Dhal, YOU’LL ALSO ENJOY THESE RECIPES:
Red Lentil Dahl
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
1/2 tablespoon avocado oil (coconut oil or ghee)
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder*
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups frozen riced cauliflower or finely chopped cauliflower florets
3 medium carrots, diced
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Heat the avocado oil (coconut oil or ghee) in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan along with the curry powder, turmeric, and salt. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
Add the cauliflower and carrots to the pan and stir so they get covered in the spices. Next, add the lentils and broth. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are tender. If you prefer thinner dahl, add in 1 cup of filtered water 15 minutes into cooking.
Season with lemon juice and black pepper to taste. Taste and add more salt and spices if needed. Serve warm with a squeeze of fresh lemon, chopped cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and chili flakes.
Leftover dahl can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
*In place of curry powder, use 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder and 1/2 teaspoon coriander.
For extra protein, add 1/2 cup collagen peptides when you add the vegetable broth or 1-2 scoops just before serving.