This Red Lentil Dal cooks quickly in the Instant Pot. Serve it with rice for a high protein comfort meal.
This creamy, hearty dish is a perfect comfort food meal. So easy to make, and so easy to customize the spices and veggies to your taste.
This recipe is not just easy and delicious, but is loaded with nutrients! Essentially fat free, vegan, and gluten free, it has tons of protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. All these nutrients and healthy carbohydrates will fuel your body and keep you feeling energized.
It also keeps well in the refrigerator or freezer, making it ideal for meal prep.
What is Dal?
Some time back, I attended an Indian cooking class at Bob’s Red Mill. In the class, I learned that dal (also spelled daal or dahl) is the Indian term for legumes, as well as the term for the thick soup or stew made from them. The instructor told us of a school in India where the students are served dal every day, and they never eat the same recipe in a month!
The variety of dal I chose for this recipe is red lentils or Masoor Dal. Red lentils are so wonderful to cook with because they cook so quickly and break down into a creamy consistency. I also love their vibrant color!
What’s in this red lentil dal recipe?
- Red lentils
- Red bell pepper
- Diced tomatoes
- Vegetable broth
- Curry powder
- Spices: cumin, paprika, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and black pepper
Flavoring this lentil dal
In traditional Indian cooking, whole spices are tempered in oil in the beginning of the cooking process. With oil free cooking, there are a couple of alternative options.
Whole spices can be dry toasted and then ground or left whole. They are then added in after vegetables such as onions and garlic are sauteed. Another option is to use ground spices rather than whole spices. Since I wanted to make this recipe as easy as possible, this is the option I use in this recipe.
How to Make Vegetable Dal in the Instant Pot
To make the Vegetable Dal, begin by sorting your lentils. To do this, spread them out in a large bowl or baking pan and check for rocks or debris. Nobody wants to bit into a rock while eating this dish. Rinse the lentils well, until the rinse water runs clear. Set them aside.
Next, sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery , and carrots in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting in just a little bit of water. Add more water as needed to keep the vegetables from sticking.
Once the onion is translucent, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for just a couple more minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
Then simply add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Set the pot on the manual setting for 10 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Open pot, stir, and enjoy!
What to serve with Dal
Serve this red lentil dahl over rice or quinoa. It’s also delicious with some flatbread such as naan.
How to Store and Freeze Red Lentil Dal
Leftover dal can be stored in a jar or other air tight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. For longer storage, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Dal can be reheated in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.
This red lentil dal recipe is:
- Vegan/Plant based
- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Soy free
- Oil free
- Nutrient rich
- A great recipe for meal prep
- So delicious!
- A perfect weeknight dinner
For more oil-free Instant Pot recipes, see:
- Potato Kale Soup in the Instant Pot
- Easy Vegan Black Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Stew
- Savory Black Beans in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Veggie Chili
- Split Pea Soup
- Vegan Sloppy Joes
- Black Eyed Peas and Greens
- Mexican Rice
And don’t miss my roundup of over 25 oil free vegan Instant Pot recipes from around the web!
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Red Lentil Dal in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot
- 1 onion diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 3 carrots diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ½ cup red lentils
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups chopped kale
- In the Instant Pot, sauté the onions, pepper, celery, and carrots in a couple tablespoons of water until the onions are translucent, adding a small amount of water if the vegetable start to stick.
- Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, and cook on the manual setting for 10 minutes with a natural pressure release.
- Serve over rice or quinoa.
Nutrition calculations are approximate.