Two lentil dal and basmati rice – Vegan

April 5, 2015 Published by Dina

Cooking Indian style food can be intimidating but this simple dal and basmati rice with a crisp and lemony salad on the side is simplicity itself and so good, and good for you. There are specialized legumes for making authentic dal and you can certainly find them but I cook with what I have in my pantry and I (almost) always have lentils in there, red, green, black, you name it. Lentils are one of my favourite pulses, they cook quickly and combine well with spices and make fabulous soups.

Red lentils cook very fast and into a creamy texture that is perfect for dal. By the time you cook the rice and let it rest a few minutes the lentils are cooked and dinner is ready.

Two lentil dal with basmati rice

Two lentil dal with basmati rice


2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno or serano chile, seeded and finely chopped

1 1/2 cups red lentil, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed, drained

2 teaspoons turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
2 tomatoes, diced

1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt or to taste
A wedge of lemon

A handful cilantro, chopped

Cashew cream (See recipe here)



Heat olive oil in a 2 quart pot or a le creuset.

Add onion and cook on low heat until softened and golden without letting it brown.

Add garlic and jalapeno or serano and cook until fragrant.

Add rinsed and drained lentils and water to cover by a couple of inches. Have more water ready to add as the lentils absorb the liquid fast. I prefer to add water as they cook rather than drown them in water from the beginning.

Once the lentils have softened add the remaining spices and tomatoes and let the lentils cook on low heat until done.

Be sure to add water as necessary so the lentils do not dry out. It should be a soupy mixture.

When the lentils are almost done add the salt and squeeze the lime wedge over, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Add half the cilantro and stir it in. Use the remaining cilantro to garnish the dal when serving.

Once cooked let the lentils rest for a few minutes before serving.


Basmati rice:

1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, then drain.

Place rice, water and salt in a pot and bring to a  boil uncovered.

Lower heat to low, cover the pot and cook until the water is evaporated.

Leave the rice undisturbed with the lid on for 10 minutes, allowing it to fluff up on its own.


To serve:

Spoon the dal on top of the rice, garnish with cilantro and top with cashew cream.

Serve with a crisp lemony salad

Two lentil dal with basmati rice

Two lentil dal with basmati rice

Two lentil dal with basmati rice

Two lentil dal with basmati rice





  • Jasmin says:

    It really is simple to make this dal – I love how red lentils taste, and I’m sure this dish taste delicious…

  • Susan says:

    Sounds delicious and healthy. Going to make it tomorrow. Thank you esp. for the wonderful vegan recipes. So enjoy your blog!