Red lentil and coconut dahl recipe

I’ve decided to cut down on the amount of meat I eat. I’m not going full on veggie, but I do want to include more vegetables in my diet to be more environmentally-friendly and more healthy too.

I plan to eat more vegetarian meals, but my repertoire is slim. So, I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen, and I’ve hit on something good. It’s a meal I tried at a surf camp in Portugal… a lentil dahl (dal, daal, or dhal) with roasted spiced veg. But I didn’t have a recipe for it, so I attempted to create my own version. When I cooked it for my family, it turned out to be a big hit, so it’s a crowd-pleaser worth sharing!

Plus, it’s quick, easy, healthy and nutritious, ideal for batch cooking, and it’s budget-friendly too!

Ingredients (serves 6)

For the red lentil and coconut dahl:

  • 300g dried red lentils
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • A bell pepper (red, yellow or green), finely diced
  • 4 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of fresh, grated ginger
  • Olive oil
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp spicy curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Fresh chopped corriander

For the roasted vegetables:

  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1-2 aubergines, cubed
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • A good glug of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

A few other vegetable options for roasting include pumpkin, bell peppers, carrots and courgette.

Serve with boiled basmati rice and naan bread.


Cooking time: approximately 1 hour

  1. Start off by getting your veg in the oven to roast first, as this takes the longest. Toss your chopped veg in olive oil and sprinkle with the spices, salt and pepper. Roast in a tray in the oven at 180 degrees C, turning/mixing after half an hour. The butternut squash and sweet potato take around an hour to cook, while the aubergine and cauliflower take around 45 minutes, so you may want to remove these earlier. To check if it’s ready, insert a sharp knife to test how soft the veg is.
  2. While your veg is roasting, rinse your lentils in a sieve under cool running water, drain, and set aside for later.
  3. Add a generous glug of olive oil to a large pan over a medium heat and throw in your diced onions and celery. Cook gently until softened, but not browned.
  4. Next, add your diced carrots, peppers, garlic and ginger. Stir well and cook gently until the vegetables are softened. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add your spices and fry for a further 5 minutes before adding sugar, lentils and vegetable broth. Stir well and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Finally, add the coconut milk and coriander to your dahl, and cook for a further 10 minutes or until it reaches your ideal consistency. The longer you cook it, the softer the lentils will be, but I find that cooking it longer improves the depth of flavour.
  7. While your dahl is cooking and your veg is roasting in the oven, bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook your rice according to the instructions on the packet.
  8. Serve your lentil dahl over rice, with roasted vegetables and warm naan bread on the side.

Bon appétit!

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