Garlic Lentils & Spinach Daal – Rich in Iron & Protein

Daal, also known as Dhal or Dhaal or Dahl 🙂 is the most comforting Indian food. So versatile, you can enjoy it with both rice and roti or chapatis (indian bread). Its one of my favorite Indian dishes, I love it more than curries too! Daal is simply spiced lentils & you can add a combination of additional ingredients like tomatoes, onions, spinach, veggies, etc to make it even more special and nutritious. A staple Indian food item features in almost all Indian lunches in combination with roti/ chapati, vegetables/ curry & rice.

My version of Garlic Lentils & Spinach Daal is full of protein, carbs and highly rich in Iron and vitamins! I served it with freshly made roti / chapati (indian bread) and cool cucumber slices for instant gratification! I had to curb a serious urge to grab the mango chutney bottle from the fridge in order to restrict the calorie and sugar intake but I promise it goes beautifully along with this daal 🙂


1/2 cup toor daal (yellow pigeon peas – you can get them at any indian store – or you can use any other yellow or red lentils)

1/2 cup yellow moong daal (split mung daal – you can use any yellow or red lentil in its place)

8 cups washed and roughly chopped spinach

3 small chopped tomatoes

1 chopped onion

3 cloves chopped garlic

3 birds eye green chillies (this can be substituted with red chilli powder)

2 tsp oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Juice of 1/2 big lemon or 1/2 lime

The Method:

1) Wash the lentils, cook them in a pressure cooker or on gas via boiling method for approximately 25-30 minutes until they are tender but do not loose their shape. Make sure you dont add too much water, or the final daal will turn out too watery. Cook the lentils along with 1 finely chopped chilli and salt.

2) In a pan, heat oil, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter, add the minced or chopped garlic and stir till coated in oil. Add the chopped onion and let them soften.

3) Once the onions are softened and golden brown, add the chopped tomatoes, 2 chopped chillies, spinach, 1 tsp salt, turmeric, cumin & coriander powder and stir till the tomatoes are softened a bit. I did not want to wilt the spinach too much as I wanted to keep all its nutrients intact, but you can wait till its fully cooked and wilted.

4) Pour the cooked daal into the spinach mixture. Stir and adjust the consistency to your liking. I felt like keeping it thick and chunky but some days, I make it a thick soupy consistency by adding more water.

5) Serve hot with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Enjoy with rotis/ chapatis/ naan bread or plain rice.

Hmm being an Indian, I always come back to Indian food for comfort and depth of flavours after a week or two of eating calorie conscious salads and world foods 🙂 This yummy and super nutritious daal came to my rescue today and I feel so satisfied! 🙂

If you’re not an Indian, you gotta try making this and see what I am talking about!


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