A warming curry is a great comfort food but when it’s filled with nutritious ingredients you have every reason to want to indulge. And what better way to enjoy curry than with a vegan dahl?
So we’re going to show you how to make a vegan spinach and red lentil dahl.
What Is A Spinach & Red Lentil Dahl?
In Indian cuisine dahl refers to the dried, split pulses that don’t require soaking before cooking. This is why red lentils are favored as they have no outer skin and therefore are easy to digest without pre-soaking.
The dish can also be called dal, daal or dhal. There are many variations of a dahl, although all will have lentils in their ingredients.
In different parts of the world there are buttery dahls, soupy dahls called sambar and very simple dahls like the one we are going to make.
As lentils are relatively cheap and easy to keep as a store cupboard ingredient you will always have the basics needed to make a dahl. For this recipe we are going to add some healthy fresh spinach to up the nutrition and fiber.
Red lentils are used as they cook quickly and provide lots of fiber and protein.
Recipe For Vegan Spinach & Red Lentil Dahl
We know you are keen to get cooking this tempting dish so let’s get to the recipe.
This will make 8 servings and take 10 minutes to prepare and only 20 minutes to cook.
- 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
- 3-4 cups baby spinach
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp red pepper chili flakes
- 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- half a lemon
- Chop the onions until they are in small pieces and add the olive oil to a large pot.
- Over medium heat sauté the onion for around 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for another minute until they begin to release their fragrance.
- Add the turmeric, garam masala, and red pepper flakes to the pot and stir to combine with the onion, garlic and ginger. If the mixture becomes too dry add a couple of tablespoons of water.
- Now add the red lentils, coconut milk and the canned tomatoes along with their juices. Pour in the vegetable broth too.
- Stir thoroughly and raise the heat to high. Allow the mixture to come to a boil then reduce the heat again and simmer for around 15 minutes. By then the lentils will be soft and cooked. Stir the mixture occasionally.
- Squeeze the lemon half and pour the juice into the pot. Add the spinach and stir until it has wilted. Add the salt to taste.
The spinach and red lentil dahl can be served with rice or some warmed vegan naan bread.
If there are any leftovers, which we doubt, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. The dahl can also be frozen on the day of making and stored in the freezer for a few months.
You can swap the full fat coconut milk for a light version. Or if you prefer you could use a different type of milk such as unsweetened soy, almond or cashew.
Is A Spinach & Red Lentil Dahl Healthy?
This is such a tasty dish you would be forgiven for thinking that it’s not a very healthy one. But you might be surprised at just how healthy this is spinach and red lentil dahl actually is.
One serving will provide you with 12g of fiber, 625 mg of potassium and 62 mg of calcium. You will also get 11g of protein, 12 mg of vitamin C, 5g of iron and 1314iu of vitamin A.
The spinach and lentils provide a lot of vitamins, minerals and fiber all of which are beneficial to your health.
Let’s have a look at exactly what each of these ingredients has to offer.
We all know that leafy greens are so good for you and packed with nutrients and spinach is an excellent source of nutrients. It is rich in potassium which is essential for a healthy heart and helps to lower blood pressure.
Spinach is also a useful source of lutein. This is an antioxidant that protects your eyes against age related conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
One study discovered that women with a high dietary supply of lutein are 23% less likely to develop cataracts than those with a lower lutein intake. It can also help to preserve cognitive abilities as we age.
Vitamin K is available in abundance in spinach. This vitamin is vital to bone growth and health and one cup of spinach gives you your daily recommended amount.
Spinach also contains vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and folate and is full of healthy fiber.
Lentils are highly nutritious and a fantastic staple for those who don’t eat meat as they are so high in protein. Red lentils have a sweeter, milder flavor than some other colored lentils. They are also easier to digest as they have no outer skin.
Nevertheless they are an excellent source of fiber. One cup of cooked red lentils has 15g of dietary fiber. The same amount has just under 18g of protein.
Hugely abundant in B vitamins you will get a massive 90% of your daily value of folate (B9) in a cup of cooked red lentils and 6.6 mg of iron.
Healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless, and this dahl is proof that a vegan dish can be truly delicious as well as nutritious.
We hope you enjoy making your spinach and red lentil curry and that it becomes one of your favorite vegan curry dishes.