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Spicy Red Lentil Dal with Winter Vegetables

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

Dal—a thick, spicy Indian stew made with legumes like chickpeas and lentils—is a classic vegetarian dish. It’s perfect for nights when you want quick, flavor-packed comfort food.  


  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped (1-1/2 cups)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. peeled and chopped fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. garam masala or curry powder
  • 1-1/2 cups red lentils
  • 1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2 -inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 oz. each), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 320
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 60
  • Fat (g): 6
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 610
  • Carbohydrates (g): 51
  • Fiber (g): 11
  • Protein (g): 16


  • In a food processor, pulse the onion, garlic, ginger, and chile in 1-second intervals until finely chopped. (Don’t run the processor constantly or the mixture will become too watery.)

    Heat the oil in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop and turn gray, about 1 minute, stir in the garam masala, onion mixture, lentils, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, turmeric, 6 cups of water, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt.

    Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the cilantro.

Serve with Basmati Rice.


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Reviews (14 reviews)

  • user-7020636 | 01/04/2019

    Really liked this! I'm always looking for ways to use up my garam masala (given that here in Edmonton, it seems you have to buy it in large quantities). It was delicious over a little quinoa and topped with a piece of baked fish (I used steelhead trout, topped with a citrus rub and lime slices at 375F for 12 mins).

  • bessieheath | 02/03/2017

    This was okay, not fantastic. Heeding other reviews, I added four cups liquid rather than six. I used vegetable stock rather than water. After tasting, I added curry powder to the mix (I started with garam masala in there). I felt it needed some depth and added about 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, which did help. I felt like it needed more heat, honestly. Served with some Greek yogurt.

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