The Most Delicious Dhal EVER!

Do you know how hard it is to make the perfect dhal? The one that hits all the right notes: a full dose of flavour, just a hint of spiciness, delectable creaminess, comforting warmth and powerful nutrition? I've been on the hunt for years... But the good news is, I've finally found it! It's taken a bit of time to finesse, based on this recipe.

Now that I have the perfect balance, I just can't get enough!

This coconut, spinach and tomato dhal has everything you're looking for in a bowl of goodness! It packs a pretty nutritious punch too: anti-inflammatory turmeric, virus-combatting garlic, stomach-soothing ginger, liver-supporting spinach, fibre-rich lentils, and so much more! It's my go-to, love-in-a-bowl, cool-weather-magic meal. Ooh, and it's vegan and gluten-free to boot!

Double or triple the recipe like I do, and portion it out into meal-sized containers. It's even tastier as leftovers since the flavours continue to develop! Plus it freezes well too!

Spinach, Tomato, Coconut Dhal

  • 1 cup split red lentil

  • 400 ml water or broth

  • 400 ml coconut milk

  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil, divided

  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed, divided

  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds

  • 1 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds

  • 4 cloves

  • 4 tsp turmeric

  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder

  • 1 to 3 dried hot pepper(s), my favourite is (Chile de Arbol)

  • 4 thick slices of fresh ginger

  • 3 cups of fresh, peeled and chopped tomatoes (or a 28oz can of chopped tomatoes)

  • 300 grams of fresh baby spinach

  • lots of ground black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp of salt

  • juice of 1 large lime

  • 1 Tbs of fresh coriander, plus more for garnish (optional)


In large pot, cook the onion in 1⁄2 of the coconut oil until translucent and slightly golden. Add half the crushed garlic, all of the cumin, mustard seeds and cloves. Cook gently for about 5 min. Stir in turmeric, chili powder and hot pepper(s) (if using) until well blended. Add lentils and coat well in the onion and spice mixture. Then add the water (or broth), coconut milk, ginger and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Add freshly ground pepper and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 min or until the lentils are soft and have dissolved into the liquid. Progressively add fresh spinach, stirring it in until wilted.

Remove from heat.

In small skillet, melt the remaining coconut oil. Add the rest of the garlic and stir until it starts to colour. Be carful here as the garlic will go from golden to burnt very quickly! Add it to the pot. Finally, add lime juice, coriander (if using) and salt. Cover with lid and leave to sit for 10 minutes.

Serve in your favourite bowl, add more fresh coriander (if using) and get ready to tantalize your taste buds!

p.s:  I love this recipe because it forces me to slow down and pay attention when eating... Careful not to bite into the hot peppers, ginger chunks or cloves!