Masoor Dal – Indian Red Lentils

Vegan, Vegetarian, & Gluten-Free
This is such a great intro recipe for learning to cook Indian food, and is really accessible for those newer to just eating Indian food too! Everyone I’ve made this dish for has loved it, even if they’ve never had Indian food and think they won’t like it much. It’s a very easy recipe, and doesn’t take long to make. It’s also a very affordable meal, with simple ingredients. And it’s healthy too! Lentils are high in protein, fiber, and iron, and all those delicious Indian spices round out the dish to be packed with nutrients and health benefits unique to each herb and spice.


  • 1 cup whole red lentils (masoor), cooked until tender.
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 fresh tomatoes or 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons of himalayan salt, or salt to taste


  • Pre-cook 1 cup of red lentils (masoor) in boiling water until tender, then strain and set aside.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan, and add chopped garlic cooking until soft.
  • Put tomatoes into a blender along with cooked garlic, blending until smooth.
  • Add the spices to the blender: chili, coriander, cumin, and turmeric, and blend again until thoroughly mixed.
  • Heat more coconut oil in the pan, and add red onions and sugar. Cook on medium heat until red onions are translucent.
  • Pour the blended tomatoes and spice mixture into the pan with the cooked red onions, and add himalayan salt. Orfor an even smoother version of this recipe, put the cooked onions into the blender with the tomatoes/spice mixture and blend until smooth, then return to the pan to add himalayan salt and to cook.
  • Cook until the mixture begins to turn a few shades darker, around 5-10 minutes later.
  • Finally, add the pre-cooked lentils, mixing thoroughly, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately either as a soup or over fresh Basmati Rice and with Naan.

Ideally, this dish tastes even better after it has set on the stove for an hour or two, and has then been gently reheated. Trust me! Something about the spices and things just sitting for awhile really improves the flavour.

Uncooked Red Lentils…They don’t stay red though, just fyi!

Author: helen.wildrose

Christian • Herbalist • Writer • INFJ

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