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Red Lentil Dal in the Instant Pot

4.63 from 32 votes

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This red lentil dal cooks quickly in the Instant Pot. Serve it with rice for a high protein comfort meal.

Two bowls of red lentil dal and rice with green napkin and sprig of parsley

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?

Bowls of ingredients for red lentil dal
  • Red lentils
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Red bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Vegetable broth
  • Curry powder
  • Spices: cumin, paprika, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and black pepper
  • Kale

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

Diced vegetables in Instant Pot
Saute the onion, carrots, celery, and red pepper
Uncooked ingredients in the Instant Pot
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot
Garlic & ginger added to vegetables in Instant Pot
Add the garlic and ginger to the pot
Large spoonful of red lentil dal held over pot of dal
Mmm…creamy and delicious!

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!

Two bowls of dal and rice with Instant Pot in background

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
  • Easy
  • Comforting
  • A great recipe for meal prep
  • So delicious!
  • A perfect weeknight dinner

For more oil-free Instant Pot recipes, see:

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a rating and feedback below. It only takes a few seconds, but helps other visitors to my site. Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment!

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Two bowls of red lentil dal and rice with green napking and sprig of parsley
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4.63 from 32 votes

Red Lentil Dal in the Instant Pot

This Instant Pot Vegetable Dal cooks quickly in the Instant Pot. Serve it with rice for a high protein comfort meal.

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Keyword dal, Gluten Free, lentils, Oil Free, Vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 234kcal
Author Teresa Sklenicka

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 onion diced
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 can 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

Instructions

  • 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

Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 2.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.6g | Sodium: 739mg | Fiber: 8.4g | Sugar: 4.4g | Vitamin A: 5750IU | Vitamin C: 60.2mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 4.9mg

Nutrition calculations are approximate.

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By on June 9th, 2019

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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