Recipe: Vegan Indian Spiced Red Lentil Dal

This is one of the most popular dishes on Gifford’s menu, ordered by vegans and meat eaters alike. Red lentils, known as Masoor Dal in India, are a great source of protein when you add a carb component and easy to prepare.

Red lentils are generally available in specialty grocers such as Whole Foods. If you cannot find them, you may substitute tiny, dark green French lentils in this full-flavored dish.

pictured | Salmon with Vegan Indian Spiced Red Lentil Dal

Serves 6


  • 1 pound red lentils
  • 18 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Thai bird chilies or 1 small jalapeno, seeds and pith discarded, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger (skin removed)
  • ½ medium onion, chopped small dice
  • 1 Tablespoon EV olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves, chopped


  1. In a large sauté pan, sweat the jalapeno, ginger and onion together with the olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek, salt and pepper, cook on low for about a minute or until fragrant.
  3. Add the water, sugar and tomatoes, bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in lentils and reduce to a simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.
  5. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat until ready to serve.

note: Keep your eye on the pot. Lentils will tend to burn if not stirred frequently.

To Serve

  • Serve with naan or or spoon over steamed rice. To balance the spiciness you can top the dal with plain yogurt.