Easy Masoor Dal Recipe (Indian Red Lentil Dahl)

This Masoor Dal recipe is very easy to make, healthy and super comforting. This is all you need when you get home from a (hard) day at work. For us, it’s one of our favorite recipes and I could literally eat this every day, at any time of day. Masoor Dal for breakfast? Sign me up. For dessert? I mean, I’m not going to say no. I honestly can’t think of a time or moment at which I would turn down a bowl of this Masoor Dal recipe. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, you HAVE to make this recipe. Non-negotiable. If you see this recipe and you decide not to make this, I’m not sure I like you very much. If you do make our Masoor Dal Recipe and you don’t like it, we are really going to have a problem.

One hand dips a piece of flatbread into the masoor dal. There are more flatbreads in the background.

Come on, you can’t look at that picture of our Masoor Dal and not start feeling hungry. Now you might wonder, am I taking it a bit far with my love for masoor dal? Why don’t you come and say that to my face? Okay, now I actually am kidding, of course. It’s just one of those recipes that really means a lot to me because eating it makes me feel happy, grateful and basically every other positive emotion you can think of. But even before eating it, I really enjoy cooking it. It is really simple to make but because there’s a lot of spices and aromatics in this dish, I can’t help but salivate once I start cooking this up. This doesn’t only happen to me when cooking masoor dal, though. This is basically what cooking every Indian dish does to me. Without any doubt in my mind, Indian food is my favorite type of food. There’s just something really special to cooking and eating Indian food, for me at least.

All of the Ingredients

All the ingredients for the recipe on a wooden table.
  • Spices – we use a mix of turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Quite obviously, this is where the majority of the flavour comes from.
  • Red lentils – I couldn’t name it Masoor Dal if it didn’t have red lentils. Masoor dal literally means red lentils.
  • Spinach – not a traditional ingredient in Masoor Dal by any means. If you are all about traditional recipes, don’t hate us for adding spinach to Masoor Dal. Instead, just leave out the spinach. It’s not as if I’m forcing you to do anything you don’t want to. However, it is a really easy and delicious way to give your body some extra greens.
  • Onion, garlic and ginger – our holy trinity for layering flavours in this Masoor Dal recipe. Don’t skip these, and if you do, please don’t tell us.

Cooking Tips

  • When cooking the onion, make sure your heat is on medium low or low. If your heat is high, your onions will start to brown to fast and eventually burn, without really having any of that delicious caramelization. Instead, take it low and slow.
  • Like it hot? Use more chili. And don’t remove the seeds.
  • If you want your masoor dal to be extra creamy and comforting and a little less healthy (because of more fat), you can choose to use more full-fat coconut milk instead of water.
The masoor dal in a green pan topped with sliced green chili.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Onion – you can also use a red onion or some shallots.
  • Olive oil – this is only used for cooking the onion, which can also be done in a generous splash of water to make this dish oil-free.
  • Canned tomatoes – if you have fresh tomatoes at home, you can also chop those up and use them instead of canned tomatoes. However, if they aren’t ripe and good quality tomatoes, it will affect your masoor dal.
  • Lemon – sub with lime.
A hand holds a silver spoon in the masoor dal.


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One hand dips a piece of flatbread into the masoor dal. There are more flatbreads in the background.

Easy Masoor Dal Recipe (Indian Red Lentil Dahl)

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sjors
  • Total Time: 45 min.
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This Masoor Dal recipe is very easy to make, healthy and super comforting. This is all you need when you get home from a (hard) day at work. 


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 1/2 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 14 oz (400 grams) canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) water
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 5 cups (100 grams) spinach
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  1. Place a large pot (we use cast-iron) over low to medium-low heat. 
  2. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add garlic, ginger and chili and sauté for 2 more minutes.
  4. Add all of the spices, cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly to prevent spices from burning.
  5. Add the mixture to a blender together with the canned tomatoes. Blend until smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture back in the pot.
  7. Add coconut milk, water and lentils and stir well. Cover with a lid and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lentils have broken down in the sauce and are nice and soft.
  8. Add the lemon juice and spinach. Remove the pot from heat. Cover with a lid and let it sit for 2 minutes.
  9. Give it one more good stir and serve as is or with rice or (naan) bread.


Nutritional facts are estimates. If you want to be sure about the nutritional facts, be sure to check your product labels.


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 471kcal
  • Sugar: 13,7g
  • Sodium: 0,7g
  • Fat: 15,8g
  • Saturated Fat: 9,1g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 20,2g
  • Protein: 21,8g

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