What's for Dinner? Red Lentil Dahl no cream

What's for Dinner? Red Lentil Dahl no cream

What's for Dinner? This easy red lentil dahl is a favourite curry in our house. I make this  easy one pot recipe most weeks, as it is super nutritious and I love making this with coconut milk and no cream.  I love eating dahl as it's easy to digest with warming spices of ginger, cumin, turmeric and curry, the added freshness of lime juice and creaminess of coconut milk. If you like it spicy add more chilli flakes. For this easy homemade lentil curry, I add a few extras like courgette, edamame beans served with a side of spinach then a sprinkle of seeds and nuts for an interesting crunch.
Red Lentils are inexpensive and often overlooked as a rich source of protein. I think my red lentil dahl recipe it's tastier than our local Indian restaurant... don't tell them that.
Dahl is a great meal to prepare and have in the fridge for mid-week meals or lunches. I love popping a few containers in the freezer to have on hand when I'm too tired to cook.
Inspired by The Happy Pear lentil dahl recipe.

Takes = 40 minutes
Makes = 6 serves


  • Dried Red Lentils (washed) – 500g
  • Red Onion sliced lengthways top to bottom  – 1/2 to 1
  • Coconut Oil or your choice – 1/2 tbsp
  • Fresh Ginger – small piece peeled and chopped
  • Crushed or sliced Garlic Clove - 1-2 (depending on taste)
  • Courgette - 1
  • Defrosted frozen Edamame beans – 1/2 cup
  • Crushed Tomatoes - 400g
  • Coconut milk – 400g
  • Cayenne pepper – pinch 1/8
  • Chilli Flakes (optional) – 1/2 to 1 tsp
  • Curry powder – 1 tbsp
  • Ground Cumin – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Vegetable stock cubes – 2 (depending on taste, I don't like it too salty)
  • Boiling Water – 1.5 to 1.8 litres (I use my eye to check what I need)
  • Tamari (gluten-free soya sauce) - 1 tbsp
  • Juice lime of one or lemon if you don't have lime
  • Drizzle of maple syrup (optional)
  • Serve with rice, naan, and salad
  • Sprinkle Nigella seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds to decorate


Step 1
Thoroughly wash the red lentils until the water runs clean this takes a few minutes, move the lentils with your hand to ensure they are being fully rinsed and set to one side.

Step 2
Peel and finely slice the onions, garlic and ginger. Cut the courgette into bite-size pieces. Defrost edamame beans if added in.

Step 3
Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger in 1 tsp of coconut oil or preferred oil in a large pan on high heat for 5 minutes. Stir regularly. When the onions are soft, add the spices, then a little of the crushed tomatoes. Cook gently over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crush 2 stock cubes into a 500ml jug of boiling kettle water and stir.

Step 4
Add tamari, lime juice, lentils, crushed tomatoes, salt and 1 jug of stock water, and bring to a boil. Then add the cream on top of the coconut milk (the tip is to pop the can in the fridge overnight to separate). Rinse out the can of tomatoes with water. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until you are happy with the texture of the dahl. I keep adding water a little at a time and if needed the water from the coconut milk. Stir regularly, as lentils have a tendency to stick to the bottom.

Step 5
About 10-15 minutes before serving I add the courgette and edamame beans and spinach leaves. If you prefer your courgette softer add it earlier on.

Step 6
Add fresh herbs to serve if you have them. Serve with fresh baby spinach, baby tomatoes, sliced cucumber, a sprinkle of toasted seeds, white or brown rice, quinoa or cooked buckwheat, naan bread or pita bread.