+ Well Nourished | Quick and Easy Dhal Recipe

Quick and Easy Dhal Recipe

This quick and easy dhal recipe is a nourishing meat free meal.  I personally try to have regular meat free meals and this dhal is nutritious and filling.  It’s also great for a last minute meal as I always have the ingredients in the pantry.  It’s my backstop when I forget to take meat from the freezer or if the day escapes me.  Serve it with rice or quinoa and a big leafy salad, or some steamed vegetables and you have a perfectly balanced meal.

What’s so good about it?
The red lentils are full of fibre, many beneficial plant nutrients and offer a vegetarian form of protein, the almond meal completes it (as does serving it with rice or quinoa).  The garlic, ginger and various spices are great digestives, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and immune boosting.  The coconut milk is wonderful for your immune system, read more about it here.

Serves 4-6

1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced or crushed
2-3cm piece ginger, peeled and finely diced
1 large carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, whole
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
350gram tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 can of diced tomatoes
200grams (1 cup) of red lentils
400gram tin coconut milk or cream (the cream gives a richer, creamier consistency)
350grams  water (1 ½ cups), chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons  almond meal
Dried chilli to taste
Sea salt, a good pinch (or more to taste)
Black pepper to taste
1 lime, juice and zest to finish
Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
I have a curry leaf tree and also add 5-6 leaves


  1. In a medium sized pot, over a low to moderate heat, add a little  coconut oil or ghee.  Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and spices for two minutes.
  2. Now add the grated carrot, zucchini, tomatoes, lentils, coconut milk, water and almond meal.  Season well, stir and leave to simmer  for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked and most of the moisture is absorbed.
  3. Finish with coriander leaves and lime.  Season again if necessary (sea salt lift the flavours in this so make sure you add it) .
  4. I always serve this with brown rice or quinoa and either fresh or dried chilli so the heat can be adjusted by each individual.

Thermomix method

  1. Chop the garlic and ginger, 2 seconds, speed 5. Add the onion, carrot, and zucchini and chop 5-10 seconds speed 5.
  2. Add the spices and a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil and sauté 5 minutes, speed 2, temp 100.
  3. Now add the tomatoes, lentils, coconut milk, water and almond meal, a good pinch of sea salt and pepper, and cook 20 minutes, reverse speed 1, temp 100.
  4. Serve with fresh lime and coriander leaves.

Choose coconut oil and coconut milk.

Serve over a baked potato or sweet potato, cauliflower rice or quinoa.

Just leave the almond meal out.

Turn it into a soup
Add a little extra stock and blend to make a delicious Indian red lentil soup.

Make it meaty
You can use this as a curry base (sauce) and add any meat you like to this.

Make it go further
Add in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas

More vegetables
You can also add extra vegetables.  Pumpkin, sweet potato, peas, chopped celery, beans, cauliflower, and broccoli would work well.  I also love a couple of handfuls of baby spinach added at the very end.

Mineral and metabolism boost
Add a teaspoon of dulse flakes

A little natural yogurt or coconut cream on top of the dhal also often helps little ones adjust to the spiciness. This recipe freezes really well (the flavour actually improves with time).

Do you like a good dhal?  This is based on a traditional dhal I learned to make in India.  The Thermomix dhal is quite similar and you can follow that method, with my version for a great result.


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Image 25

The pretty leaves on the left are actually curry leaves.  I have this amazing tree growing in my garden and the leaves add another dimension of flavour to my Indian creations.

  • Lynsay

    Yum! Have not seen a Dahl recipe with almond meal before – great idea. Thanks Georgia. 🙂

    • Yes I like to complete vegetarian proteins within the dish and the almond meal helps in this regard, plus thickens the sauce a little. I have experimented over the years and this is my fastest, tastiest favourite. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. G x

  • Rach

    Cooked this tonight 🙂 Was a huge success! Thanks Georgia 🙂

  • Tam

    Cooked this Dahl last night for my family. We eat a lot of Dahl, even though it’s not my girls favourite food (to say the least!). It was very similar to my regular, without the sweetness of cinnamon that I’m used too. I loved the addition of almond meal. My girls said that it was the best one they’ve had 🙂 thanks Georgia! Tam 🙂

  • Ceska

    This is a wonderful recipe, yet again! The only change I’ll make next time it to omit tomatoes, makes it even more sugarless and Atkins friendly (yes on another eating style mission hahaha!)

    • Really pleased you liked it. I’ve made it with just one tomato (because I had run out) and it was still lovely, G x

      • Kymelle

        I didn’t have any tomatoes so used 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and it was great 🙂

  • Zoe Collins

    Absolutely delicious. I needed to use a simmer mat though as it was sticking a bit on the bottom. Thanks for sharing.

  • Zoe Collins

    Absolutely delicious. I needed to use a simmer mat though as it was sticking a bit on the bottom. Thanks for sharing.

  • Emma

    Huge success with my family tonight. Love the recipe. We like to serve our curry with banana tossed with coconut on the side. Kids love it.

    • So pleased you enjoyed it. Great idea with the banana too, thanks for sharing, G x

  • Katherin

    I cooked this for the second time tonight & really rate it. I’d forgotten all about fresh ginger which is gorgeous & the lime (well I used lemon) really lifts the dish. I also add a block of cubed tofu just to up the ante – delish!

    • Really pleased you like it Katherine – it’s one of my favourite vegetarian go-to’s and a regular dinner in our house. Thanks for letting me know you like it, G x

  • Brigid

    Delish!! I love how simple and quick this is. Not to mention bursting with flavour. Your recipes are fantastic. Thank you!

    • Pleased you like it, a favourite in our household too. One of my go too’s when the day escapes me, G x

  • Kymelle

    Just made this for dinner and it was absolutely delicious!!!!!! Just what I needed after over indulging at Easter. Thank you for a fab recipe! 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it. We had it Easter Monday for the same reason – it’s a real staple in our house, G x

  • Rebecca

    Georgia, is there any reason LSA would work less well than ground almond alone? I have some already ground but can grind almonds if needed. Thank you.

    • Hi Rebecca, yep LSA will work perfectly well, enjoy, G x

      • Rebecca

        Thank you, it was delicious – 3 yo 5 yo and parents all devoured it. What I love most about it is how all ingredients are pretty well permanently on hand. Thanks again.

        • Yes, it is definitely one of my go too’s when I need a quick, healthy meal, thanks for your feedback Rebecca, G x

  • Adrian Whitman

    I just made this tonight and it was so delicious. My 9 month old loved it so much that she kept trying to suck all the flavour off her fingers when she was waiting for the next spoonful.

    • How cute – she knows what good for her! Thanks for your feedback and glad you all enjoyed it, G x

  • kelly seach

    Have you ever tried freezing this?

    • All the time Kelly. In fact I always have a few containers in the freezer and it tastes even better reheated! G x

      • kelly seach

        Thanks, you have made my day!!

  • Tammy

    Just made this tonight and it was amazing.

  • Rosanne O’Brien

    It’s only been 12months G but I’ve finally made this Dahl. A huge winner in the O’Brien house. Miss M actually said S has that in a thermos, I’d eat that at school! Finally!!!!

    • Tell Molly, I’m so proud of her and really happy she likes it. We actually had that tonight for “Meatless Monday” G x

  • Katri

    I made this for the first time today and YUM it was delicious!!! My 2,5yr old lapped it up (but the fussy 6 year old only had a taste, which was expected 🙂 ). Will definitely make it again.

    • Glad you (almost) all liked it. Maybe try a bit of yoghurt added to your 6 year olds to ease them into it? G x

      • Katri

        Good idea with the yoghurt, will try that. 🙂 Will also get her to help me as I’m sure she’ll be more likely to give it a good try.
        I’ve said it before, but I just love your recipes and how simple and fuss free they are! And love your advice too, I’m always directing others to your site.

        • Thanks so much for your support, very much appreciate it G x

  • Lorro

    Georgia, i am going to make this Dhal this week. Quick question- what do you do with the curry leaves? Add them at the end with the coriander leaves and lime ( is that the zest of the lime, as the lime juice goes into the main part? ) just thought i’d clarify this – less chance of me stuffing it up 🙂 thanks and love all your recipes, they are on our table at least twice or three times a week.

    • Hi Lorro. I add 5 or 6 fresh curry leaves (whole), at stage 2 of the above method. Thrilled my recipes are regulars in your household. Enjoy the dhal, G x

    • PS – I always add lime juice and/or zest at the very end. G x

  • Kirsty

    Just made this for the first time today, massive hit with the whole family, from 6-75 year olds at the table. Miss Six says it’s the best thing she’s ever eaten. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • That’s awesome Kirsty. I think a lot of parents have been surprised by their kids response to this recipe. My friend made it for her husband (who hates dhal) and 2yr old (also making a back up meal for her). They both devoured it. You’re very welcome G x

  • Gabrielle

    I love this recipe and it has become a regular in our household — made it last night, in fact, and have just had some leftovers for lunch! Yum! Your Chicken and Almond Curry is another absolute favourite, and only one of the Well Nourished recipes that make a regular appearance on our table! Thanks so much for all the delicious, healthy and nutricious food inspiration. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Gabrielle, you have the same taste as I do – love a good curry. You are very welcome and thanks for taking the time to post a comment G x

  • cherie marki

    Wow!! This is a smashing dish! Absolutely loved it! Love that it is a nourishing meat free alternative…Husband enjoyed it aswell as the kids.. this is definately going to be my go to meal now!! ???

    • Yay – that’s great Cherie, thanks for letting me know. Yes it is a great go to recipe. I always have the ingredients in my pantry so it is handy for a last minute meal. Glad you all enjoyed G x

  • Kaarin Cotterill

    I just made this delicious dhal tonight for our dinner. It was gorgeous and very filling. I served it with roasted sweet potato and a little yoghurt on the side. BF asked for a second helping.

    • That’s great Kaarin, so glad you all liked it. We love it with roast sweet potato too G x

  • Bree Addison

    Wow… this was divine!! Miss 2 who had suddenly become quite the picky eater was shoveling it into her mouth and actually said “yummy” and said”yes” when I asked if she’d like me to make it again. Wow. Not much of anything gets that response anymore! And Mr 1 loved it as well. So good and so easy! Thank you!

  • That’s brilliant Bree – thrilled your bubs liked it. 2 is a tricky age and a time you need to be really diligent with food rules – most kids test the waters with food at this age and what they get away with will stick. Keep offering only good foods and she’ll come around G x

  • Natalie

    I made this for dinner tonight. Was delish!

  • Thrilled you liked it Natalie Gx

  • Amanda Micallef

    So yummy! We can’t have tomatoes so I did chickpeas and a capsicum instead.

    • Perfect, thanks for sharing and thrilled you enjoyed it G x

    • Perfect, thanks for sharing and thrilled you enjoyed it G x

  • Amanda Micallef

    So yummy! We can’t have tomatoes so I did chickpeas and a capsicum instead.

  • Kylie

    Made this Dahl last night. One of the most delicious I’ve tasted! I had no zucchini so added celery to the chopped carrots. Creamy, beautifully spiced with some body ( my kids don’t like pureed food.). This will become a staple in our house. Thankyou!

    • Thrilled you all liked it Kylie, we love it also. Thanks for the feedback , Gx

  • Laura McFadgen

    Hi, i am attempting to follow this recipe, but I just wanted to clarify in step 2 and 3 of the thermi instructions, what temp should I use?

    • Sorry its 100, just updated it G x

      • Laura McFadgen

        thx, it’s a lovely Dahl. Thank you for your recipe

        • Welcome – not sure how that temp got left off. Glad you enjoyed it Laura x

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