Lesh’s Nourishing Dahl


leshs nourishing dahl

Lesh’s Nourishing Dahl

I’ve been looking for a good authentic dahl recipe for a long time. I’m happy to say this one ticks all the boxes. It was inspired by one of my blogging friends, Lesh Karan. It does have a few more ingredients than my usual Stonesoup recipes but I think in this case its worth it. Although, I’ve also included a super simple option in the variations below.

takes: 30 minutes
makes: enough for 4

300g (1 1/2cups) red lentils
1 bunch baby carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon each turmeric, ground cumin, salt
4 cloves garlic
4 cups water or stock
4 handfuls baby spinach
2-4 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
natural yoghurt, to serve

1. Wash lentils thoroughly under the cold tap and drain.

2. Place lentils in a medium saucepan with the water or stock. Bring to a simmer, skimming the foam that arises.

3. Add carrots, turmeric, cumin, salt and garlic.

4. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the lentils and carrots are totally cooked. Make sure you stir along the way so the dahl doesn’t stick.

5. Stir in the spinach leaves and allow them to wilt.

6. Taste and season with lemon juice and soy. Serve with yoghurt if eating now or store yoghurt separately.


dairy-free / vegan – use coconut yoghurt or mashed avocado instead.

carnivore – serve as a side to a meat based curry or add in a few handfuls of cooked chicken.

different veg – feel free to play around. I love the carrots though.

budget – use water instead of the stock (i did).

5 ingredients – just use the lentils, turmeric, garlic, soy sauce and lemon juice.

different spices – use a mild curry powder instead of the spices listed.

carb lovers / more substantial
– serve with steamed rice.

Reheating Guidelines

The dahl may thicken with storage so be prepared to add a little more water as you reheat.
I generally just pop it in a saucepan over a medium heat and gently bring it back to a simmer, stirring every few minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Lovely in deep bowls with the yoghurt spooned on top.
For a more substantial meal serve with warmed naan bread, roti or if you can’t find them pita bread or warm tortillas will work.

Storage Best Practices

If making ahead, cook the dahl but don’t add the yoghurt.
Store in an airtight container. Will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Easy freeze meal? Can be frozen for up to 12 months. Best to defrost in the refrigerator but can be reheated straight from frozen in the microwave or on a low heat in a saucepan.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

lentils, spices, salt, garlic, soy sauce – keep in the pantry.

carrots – will keep for weeks in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag. Can be frozen.

carrot tops
– can be used as a salad green pretty much anywhere you’d normally use flat leaf parsley. Makes a great carrot top pesto.

baby spinach – freeze it. Will wilt but that was going to happen once it was cooked into the dahl anyway.

lemon – keeps in the fridge for ages.

yoghurt – keeps in the fridge for weeks. Best to use for another meal as it doesn’t freeze well.

Problem Solving Guide

bland – be more generous with the salt and consider adding a little more of the turmeric and cumin but be careful as it’s easy to go too far.

burning – the lentils do like to stick to the bottom of the pan so be careful to stir on a regular basis. If you do burn, remove from the heat and immediately transfer the non burnt portion to a clean saucepan.

too thick – add a little more water or stock.

too watery – simmering a little longer can help or consider adding in a handful of soft bread crumbs or almond meal to thicken it up. Adding a drained can of beans or chickpeas is another option.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Romi April 25, 2016

Excited about a veggie week on the meal plan! I adore this recipe. Super flexible and forgiving in terms of the veg, and mainly comprised of pantry items I always have on hand. I usually use two cloves of garlic (I love garlic but four seems too much) and use frozen spinach instead of fresh. YUM. I’ve got it for lunch again today and it’s not 9am yet and I’m already excited!


jules April 27, 2016

Wonderful Romi!
So glad you’re excited about your lunch 🙂


Sharon Bryce March 9, 2016

Another regular. I mean who doesn’t love a make ahead meal! Will have to make it with your flat bread recipe.


jules March 11, 2016

Yay for Dahl Sharon!


Esther Harbert August 1, 2015

The texture of the lentils was grainy. Would soaking overnight have helped with that?


jules August 6, 2015

Hi Esther
Soaking can help things cook more evenly. But to be honest I don’t soak lentils because they’re so quick to cook anyway.
Next time just cook for longer until the texture is more to your liking.
Or if you want to soak you can do that but you’ll still need to keep an eye on how long you cook them for. And generally soaked lentils won’t need as much liquid as dried 🙂


Holly Storm April 3, 2014

This was yummy. I had been buying Dal as a package mix and never thought I could match the spices. But this did the trick! The only thing, though, is we all had a lot of… wind later. I took off as much of the foam as I has the patience to. Any other suggestions?


jules April 4, 2014

Soaking the lentils overnight before cooking is meant to help with wind Holly.

And serving with yoghurt also helps with the probiotics and acid in the yoghurt.



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