Easy Yellow Dal Recipe

BY : PUBLISHED : July 6th, 2022 UPDATED: October 17th, 2022

This easy yellow lentil dal recipe makes a savory, well-spiced dinner meal that’s perfect for any night of the week. Made with yellow lentils, fresh ginger, turmeric, coriander, and cumin, this mild dal recipe is one the whole family will love.

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completed Easy Yellow Dal on rice in a white plate against a light background

This easy dinner meal cooks up on the stovetop for a perfect weeknight meal when time is tight but tasty enough that it works for more special occasions.

If you love the flavors in this yellow dal recipe, you will definitely enjoy this Indian-spiced butternut squash, Indian slow-cooked spinach, and curried cauliflower and potatoes.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy: A simple preparation that only requires less than 40 minutes to prepare which is mostly hands-off.
  • Perfect for families: The mild flavor of this Indian dal is perfect for kids of all ages and adults.
  • Make ahead: This yellow lentil recipe freezes and reheats great! It tastes even better when served the second time.
  • Budget-friendly: Dried pulses are an inexpensive way to create meals.
  • Great flavor: This naturally vegan dish is so tasty even your favorite omnis will love it!

What is Dal?

Dal is an Indian dish made with lentils or other pulses such as split peas, chickpeas, and more. In most preparations, the pulses are cooked in water and seasoned with a variety of spices, tomatoes, and onions. 

Dals come in mild and spicy varieties and you can easily adjust the seasonings to your own tastes when desired.

Sometimes, they are pureed and are usually served as a side dish, though they also make delicious main dishes for vegetarians and vegans and are great served with cooked rice or naan bread. 

What Goes Into This Recipe

Making lentil yellow dal takes a handful of simple ingredients you can easily find at most grocery stores if you don't already have them in the pantry.

ingredients for Easy Yellow Dal on a white surface
  • Vegetable oil: Your favorite healthy vegetable oil for cooking works. Just try to choose one with a neutral flavor.
  • Yellow onion: Perfect for cooking but you can also use white onions or red onions.
  • Garlic and ginger: These aromatics provide the best flavor when you use fresh. Dry or powdered simply doesn’t provide the same taste to the dish.
  • Coriander, cumin, and turmeric: This trio of dried spices is commonly used when making dal. For best flavor, make sure your spices are fresh (less than six months old). If they are on the older side you can heat them in a skillet for a minute or two to reinvigorate their flavor.
  • Yellow lentils: Yellow lentils are actually mung beans that have their green peel removed and are usually split in half. They may also be called moong dal. You can find these from online stores and other specialty markets if they aren’t in your local grocery store.
  • Veggie broth: Cooking yellow lentil curry in vegetable broth gives the final dish more flavor.
  • Cilantro: Optional, but a sprinkle over the top of the final dish adds flavor and a splash of color.
  • Cooked rice: Dal is often served over cooked rice. I suggest basmati rice which cooks up light and fluffy or your favorite variety of brown rice.

How To Make Yellow Dal

  • 1) Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and saute until the onions become tender and translucent. 
  • 2) Next add the garlic, ginger, and spices and cook briefly for about 30 seconds. Stirring frequently so nothing burns.
  • 3) Add the lentils and broth to the pan. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and cook until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. While the dish is cooking, stirring frequently.
  • 4) Serve yellow lentil dal over rice with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
completed Easy Yellow Dal on rice in a white plate against a light background

Expert Tips

  • Fresh spices: Spices lose their flavor when they sit around. Toast them in a pan for 2 minutes prior to cooking with them if they are older and seem less fragrant.
  • Serving: Serve your yellow lentil dal with cooked rice or fresh fluffy naan bread to scoop up the bites.
  • Meal prep: Yellow dal freezes great! So consider making a double batch and freezing one for an easy weeknight meal later on.

FAQs

What does yellow dal taste like?

Yellow lentils are delicate with a mild flavor so when cooked, they really pick up the flavors of the spices in the dish. Our healthy yellow dal recipe uses aromatics and a trio of spices to create a dish that’s full of the warming flavors of curry, turmeric, ginger, and cumin. 

What are yellow lentils?

Yellow lentils are split and peeled mung beans. Note that yellow split peas are not the same thing. Yellow lentils cook up into a creamy dish without needing any additional pureeing for that texture.

completed Easy Yellow Dal on rice in a white plate against a light background

Variations

  • Other Pulses and Legumes: If you don’t have yellow lentils you can use whole mung beans instead though you may need to increase the cooking time. Another easy swap is to use red lentils which will cook more quickly than yellow. Other legumes such as chickpeas, green split peas and other types of lentils will work too, just be sure to adjust the cooking time for each variety.
  • Spicy: Add red chili powder along with the other spices to quickly saute before adding the lentils and liquid or you can opt to add them at the end for a slightly more intense spiciness.

More Easy Dinners

completed Easy Yellow Dal on rice in a white plate against a light background

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Easy Yellow Dal on rice in a white plate against a light background

Easy Yellow Dal Recipe

Stephanie Lundstrom
This easy yellow lentil dal recipe makes a savory, well-spiced dinner meal that’s perfect for any night of the week. Made with yellow lentils, fresh ginger, turmeric, coriander, and cumin, this mild dal recipe is one the whole family will love.
5 from 50 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 258 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 9 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • ½ Tablespoon of coriander
  • ½ Tablespoon of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 ½ cups of yellow lentils
  • 4 cups of veggie broth
  • Cooked rice, for serving optional
  • Cilantro for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until the onions become tender and translucent.
  • Add garlic, ginger, and spices and cool for 30 seconds, making sure nothing burns.
  • Add lentils and broth and cook covered until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Serve over rice.

Notes

  • Fresh spices: Spices lose their flavor when they sit around. Toast them in a pan for 2 minutes prior to cooking with them if they are older and seem less fragrant.
  • Serving: Serve your yellow lentil dal with cooked rice or fresh fluffy naan bread to scoop up the bites.
  • Meal prep: Yellow dal freezes great! So consider making a double batch and freezing one for an easy weeknight meal later on.

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 13gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.05gSodium: 632mgPotassium: 539mgFiber: 15gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 360IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Stephanie Lundstrom

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Michelle says

    5 stars
    Perfection! My little one also enjoyed it.

    • Andrea White says

      Aw, that's awesome that he enjoyed this dal also! So delicious!

  2. Teodora says

    5 stars
    Simple and delicious dinner! Everyone in the house loves this dish!

    • Andrea White says

      Gotta love a simple dinner idea! So glad you and the fam enjoyed it!

  3. Gina H. says

    5 stars
    Such a comforting dish to have on a cool night. It's also great for leftovers. Superb!

    • Andrea White says

      Agreed! So comforting and delicious!

  4. Tina says

    5 stars
    What a great dinner idea!

    • Andrea White says

      Definitely a yummy dinner option to cozy up too!

  5. Janaye says

    5 stars
    I love Daal is definitely a comfort meal for me! I love to add curry chickpeas on the side with rice. Interesting to see a different way of making it, compared to how I learned. Love to try out this variation.

    • Andrea White says

      It's definitely a comfort meal! So so good!

  6. Andrea White says

    5 stars
    I've been on a lentil craze lately and this really hit the spot. So good!

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