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Garlicky Spinach Dal - holycowvegan.net
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5 from 2 votes

One Pot Garlicky Spinach Dal

A one-pot garlicky spinach dal that comes together really fast, with or without a pressure cooker, and makes a very healthy and delicious weeknight meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dal
Cuisine: gluten-free, Indian, Soy-free, Vegan
Servings: 8 servings


  • 2 bunches spinach or Malabar spinach, tough stems trimmed out. Stack the leaves and cut into ribbons
  • 1 cup pink lentils or masoor dal. You can also use split pigeon peas or tuvar dal in this recipe
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 cloves of garlic, smashed but not chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili pepper powder like cayenne
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup peanuts (optional, but nice, and they add great texture)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat the oil in a large pot or pressure cooker.
  • Add the mustard seeds. When they sputter, add the garlic.
  • Saute garlic over medium-low heat until it starts to turn lightly golden. Stay with it and don't let it burn.
  • Add the red pepper flakes, turmeric, and tomatoes and saute for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes start to break down.
  • Add the chopped spinach and saute until it wilts down, about two minutes.
  • Add the peanuts and the lentils and mix well.
  • Add three cups of water or enough water to drown the lentils. Add salt to taste and mix well.
  • If using a pressure cooker, cook for two whistles, or for six minutes after pressure builds up.
  • If cooking the spinach dal without a pressure cooker, bring the dal to a boil and then cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the dal for 30 minutes or until the dal is really soft. When cooking in a regular pot, you might need to check a couple of times to see if you need to add more water. Add hot water if required, instead of room temperature water, so you don't slow down the cooking process.
  • When the dal is cooked, I use a whisk to beat the dal five or six times. This makes the consistency of the dal smoother. In India, cooks use a wooden churn, called a mathani or a ravi, but I find a whisk serves the purpose just as well and is more easily found in most kitchens.
  • Now squeeze in the lemon, add salt if needed.
  • Serve hot over rice or with rotis or phulkas.