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Vegan Lentil Dal

Easy Vegan Lentil Dal (Gluten-Free)

The Pesky Vegan
This vegan lentil dal is quite simply amazing. I make a big batch of it once or twice a month, then reheat it for lunches or dinners throughout the week.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Gluten-free, Indian, Vegan
Servings 6
Calories 380 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Approx. 2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2-3 rocket chillies, thinly sliced (more or less depending on how you like your heat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 cardamom pods (remember to remove these at end)
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional, but I like the smoky flavour)
  • 400-500 g dried red split lentils (approx. 2-3 cups)
  • 1.5 litres water or vegan stock (approx. 5-6 cups, plus more if needed)
  • 1x 400 g tin whole plum tomatoes
  • 1x 400 ml tin light coconut milk (solids and liquids - all of it)
  • 150 g frozen spinach (you can also use fresh, but it won't need to go in until the very end of cooking)
  • Small bunch coriander, chopped


  • Heat some of the coconut oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions. Cook on a medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until soft.
  • Add in the salt, chopped garlic, ginger, and chilli, and cook for a further few minutes.
  • Once they've softened, add a touch more oil followed by the cardamom pods, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, and smoked paprika. Mix well and allow to cook for a minute or so.
  • Add the lentils and most of the water/veg stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and stir regularly for 15 minutes. Add more water if it seems too thick, but bear in mind there's more liquid to come from the tomatoes and coconut milk.
  • After 15 minutes, add the tinned tomatoes and coconut milk. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon.
  • Cook for another 5-10 minutes, before adding the frozen spinach. (If using fresh spinach, save this until the last 1-2 minutes of cooking time).
  • After another 5-10 minutes, the lentils should be soft and the spinach mixed through evenly.
  • Check for seasoning and remove the cardamom pods. No worries if you can't find them, just try to avoid eating them whole as they can be quite strong.
  • Serve with boiled rice or pilau rice and top with freshly chopped coriander.


Quantity: If you increase the quantity, just be sure to adjust the spices and seasoning accordingly. You can easily make this dal stretch further with more lentils (+ more water), an extra tin of tomatoes, or more coconut milk. If you want to scale it down, just remember to also scale down the aromatics, spices, and seasoning. 
Add more veg: Feel free to throw in other veg to this to mix it up. I like sliced mushrooms, kale, and mixed peppers.  
Make it healthier: As curry recipes go, this really is quite a healthy one. However, if you're looking to minimise the fat in your diet, you can swap the coconut oil for another cooking oil, and swap the coconut milk for approx. 300ml extra water/veg stock. 
Gluten-free: If you need to ensure that this recipe is 100% gluten-free, use a vegan stock that is certified or labelled as such.
Serving suggestions: Boiled basmati/white rice, naan bread, puri, chapati, poppadoms, roasted cauliflower, baked potato, crispy baked potato wedges, plant-based yoghurt or creme fraiche, homemade cashew cream, fresh coriander.
Storage: Like many curries, this dal gets even better after a day or two in the fridge. Store in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to six months. 
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* The nutrition info below is for one serving, based on a total of eight servings.


Calories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 21gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 569mgPotassium: 1053mgFiber: 25gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 3351IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 8mg
Nutrition Facts
Easy Vegan Lentil Dal (Gluten-Free)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 380 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Sodium 569mg25%
Potassium 1053mg30%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 25g104%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 3351IU67%
Vitamin C 37mg45%
Calcium 125mg13%
Iron 8mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword healthy vegan recipe, red lentil recipe, vegan curry
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment down below or tag me on Instagram @thepeskyvegan along with the hashtag #thepeskyvegan