Indian Cooking At Home: Easy Red Lentil Dal

Red Lentil and Vegetable Dal

Welcome to another Food Matters Project/Meatless Monday!  Today, Anita from Cooking Poetry chose Dal With Lots of Vegetables from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Project Cookbook.  I love making a quick and easy dal and have been meaning for some time to show everyone what I typically do for a quick and easy weeknight supper.  You can add whatever vegetables you want.  Today I kept it simple, adding just carrots and onions.  Cauliflower, eggplant, tomato, potato all work well in this dish also.  You can fiddle with the combination of spices to find something that you like and that works with your current pantry contents.  I served mine with whole wheat naan and basmati rice. This dish is hard to mess up so have fun with it and enjoy!

To see the other FMP cooks’ takes on this dish, head over to The Food Matters Project website.


Easy Vegetable and Red Lentil Dal adapted from Mark Bittman The Food Matters Cookbook

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 tbsp butter, ghee, or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbs minced ginger
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into little chunks
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 dried mild chilis
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, washed and picked over
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar, optional
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1.  Put the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the cardamom, cumin, mustard seeds, garam masala, cinnamon, and chilis and stir until the spices are fragrant but not burning, just a minute.
  2. Add the lentils and cover with water by about 1 inches. Cook until lentils and vegetables are tender and the mixture is thick, about 35-45 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.


  1. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. Good post.

  2. NIce pics Aura and recipe sounds delicious as well 🙂 And your new blog look looks great 🙂 well done

  3. Pingback: Lentil “Sloppy Joes” and Food Bloggers Against Hunger | Dinner with Aura

  4. Your presentation and this photo look fantastic! Absolutely love it. As you noted, I do like these types of recipes- it’s very difficult to mess up, they are super easy and perfect for mid-week meals, and they taste even better the next day! Yum!

  5. Love your photos Aura!

  6. Gorgeous pics, Aura! You’re making me want to get naan for my leftovers, though.

    • Thanks, Meg! I love getting naan from a local Indian restaurant but I really need to learn how to make my own.

  7. Your dish looks lovely…as always, Aura!

  8. What a wholesome and lovely looking dinner! Loved it Aura!

    • Thanks so much, Vini! I love to see all of your recipes in my inbox. I am going to have an Indian food themed night here soon and am looking forward to incorporating some of your inventive recipes!

  9. Beautiful pics. Lovely dinner.

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