Red Lentil Daal

Lunch / Dinner

Red Lentil Daal

Often underestimated for their convenience, lentils are a great meat alternative when you’re short on time or simply trying to eat healthier.

Daal (also spelled dal or dahl) is a classic preparation found in nearly every household and on every street corner in India. It refers both to the dish and the lentils themselves. Like a work of art, there’s no right or wrong way to make daal, and everyone has their preferred variations. However, most daals start by cooking lentils (commonly the red variety) in water then seasoning with spices and aromatics. Usually puréed, daal is finished with fresh tomatoes and served as a side dish.

Since there’s no definitive way to flavor daal, use this recipe as a starting point, then put your own spin on it. Packed with warm spices like coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon, this version is served with a bit of lime and cilantro for a fresh finish. And, if you like things spicy, up the heat by adding cayenne pepper or additional serrano chile


4 servings

Total Time

Print Recipe

Share Recipe






Test Kitchen Tip

If you can’t find red lentils, brown or green also work, just be sure to cook the soup an extra 10–15 minutes to ensure the lentils are tender.


Melt oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Add onions, garlic, ginger, serrano, coriander, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, and cinnamon; sauté until onions soften, about 2 minutes.

Stir in lentils to coat with oil and spices. Add broth and bay leaf; bring to a simmer, and cook until lentils are tender, about 5 minutes.

Mash daal to desired consistency. Discard bay leaf.

Add tomatoes and cook until warmed through, 2 minutes; season daal with salt and pepper. Off heat, stir in cilantro. Top daal with extra serrano slices and serve with lime wedges.


To easily sort lentils, spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet and remove any stones or debris.


Once the lentils have cooked, mash the soup with a potato masher to give it some more body.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving


% Daily Value*

Total Fat 8g 12%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium 152mg 6%

Carbs 39g 13%

Protein 14g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Reviews ()

Add Review

Latest Cuisine Issue Cover

Subscribe Today and Get 4 Free Digital Books!