Red-Lentil Dal

This Indian-inspired dal is full of aromatic spices like cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and cinnamon.

Red-Lentil Dal

Makes: six servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes


  • 2 tbs. organic ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp. black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 1 tbs. minced fresh gingerroot*
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric*
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin*
  • ½ tsp. plus pinch sea salt, divided
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, or a 14.5-oz. can, drained and juices reserved
  • 8 cups vegetable broth (store-bought or homemade Magic Mineral Broth)
  • 2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or mint


  • Heat the ghee in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds; sauté until they begin to pop. Immediately add the onion, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and a pinch of salt, and sauté for about three minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sauté for two minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of broth and any reserved tomato juice to deglaze the pot, stirring to dislodge any bits stuck to the bottom.
  • Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the lentils and stir; then add the remaining broth and cinnamon stick. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender. Stir in another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and simmer for five minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the spinach and lime juice. Serve garnished with cilantro or mint.

* Note: You can replace the ginger, turmeric, and cumin with 3 teaspoons of curry powder.

is the director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Longevity Kitchen, published by Ten Speed Press, Penguin Random House LLC, where some of these recipes originally appeared. She lives in San Rafael, Calif.

Photography by Andrea D'Agosto; Prop Styling by Alicia Buszczak; Food Styling by Paul Jackman

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