This is a lovely cheap and tasty dish. It’s vegan, gluten and dairy free for those of you who have dietary restrictions. I make this dish weekly at home and we make a big batch as it’s good for leftovers and to freeze.

Note – our little boy loves this dish and has had it blended up a little since he was 6 months old. Kids do like it but you may want to ensure your veggies are finely chopped and your spinach is chopped up (use kitchen scissors) before adding it if you have fussy eaters who don’t like long stringy spinach bits!

Tip – don’t add salt to dahl when cooking as it can make it grey and slimey. Season it once it’s cooked on your plate ideally. As we feed our son this I don’t add chilli flakes or chilli powder, but if you like it hot and spicy using some chilli flakes or chipotle chilli flakes when you add the other spices would be ideal.


Makes 4-6 servings

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 thumbs worth ginger root grated

1 pepper (any colour), deseeded and diced

Spices – you can’t go too wrong here but I generally use 2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp turmeric as a base. You could use curry powder instead of the garam masala and ground coriander. I also add 1 tsp black nigella seeds when I have them but they aren’t essential. If using chilli flakes 1/2 – 1 tsp is likely all you need.

1 cup red lentils (approximately 200g)

3 cups water (approximately 700ml)

1 can chopped tomatoes

1/2 can coconut milk or 1 small can coconut cream

250g fresh spinach or around 6 frozen spinach balls


In a large saucepan (I use an instant pot) add your olive oil and heat on a medium to low heat. Add your onion, garlic, ginger and pepper. Stir for 2-3 mins until they have just softened.

Add your spices and mix well for a minute.

Add your lentils, 3 cups of water, chopped tomatoes, spinach and coconut milk.Stir well.

Bring it to a boil and stir well, then turn it down to a medium – low simmer. It will take around 45 minutes to cook through at a low simmer. You need to bring it to a boil first to allow the lentils to start to take on some of the water.

The dahl will thicken up and absorb the water as it cooks, just ensure you stir it occasionally to avoid it sticking to the bottom. Better to cook for longer on a low heat than leave it unattended and end up with burnt lentils at the bottom.

This will cook well in the instant pot using the sauté function to start, and once it’s boiling swapping it to the slow cook function and leaving it for at least an hour. I leave mine on slow cook most of the afternoon so dinner is ready when we want it.