I know, I know, just what you’re craving in the middle of summer…a dish that brings the heat! Did I nail it on the head or what? Well, maybe you can entertain this as an idea for a rainy, cool-ish summer evening. We enjoyed it on a night like that just recently! We’ve had a lot of rain and clouds around these parts.
I’ve been trying to come up with the fastest of fast dinner recipes, since cooking with two kids underfoot is getting more and more challenging. If it takes me more than 10 minutes of prep during the witching hour, it’s usually not happening. (I don’t know, maybe I should try batch cooking and freezing meals on the weekends, but I haven’t yet come up with a plan for that.) Admittedly, I’ve also been feeling a bit defeated in the cooking department because Adriana is going through an “I’m not hungry” phase (after going through a really good eating phase in the spring that, in retrospect, could’ve been a growth spurt!). Most of the things we offer her get a few nibbles taken out of them. Or she just exclaims, “POPSICLE, PLEASE!” *facepalm* So, my mood lately has been basically PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME COOK ANOTHER REJECTED MEAL. The silver lining is that Arlo will eat anything that isn’t nailed down (for now!), as will Eric (lol), so my cooking confidence isn’t totally shattered. I’m like, “SEE, NORMAL PEOPLE LOVE MY FOOD!” (I may be losing it.)
One day I just started throwing things into a pot and didn’t actually expect this recipe to be a winner, but it turned out to be really tasty, especially after a couple more trials. I love that it’s extremely fast to prep. My goal was 10 minutes prep, and I usually clock in at around 7 or 8 minutes (when I have my cooking game face on!). I also wanted the dish to rely on pantry ingredients, such as dried spices rather than fresh aromatics. Don’t get me wrong, fresh garlic, onion, ginger, chillis, etc. are typically my first choice, but they aren’t always practical for those rushed nights. Another benefit of this recipe is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand, so it can work for all the seasons. I, Eric, and Arlo are really enjoying it…and I’ve even convinced Adriana to eat a bit (it was a sweet potato version, and I ended up mashing her sweet potatoes into the dal and stirring in the rice).
8-Minute Pantry Dal
4 (with accompaniments)
This satisfying pantry dal is lightning fast and will only set you back around 8 minutes of prep time. While not an authentic dal, I created this version out of a desperate need to come up with more speedy pantry dinner options. You can change it up so many ways by simply varying the veggies you use, and in my tips I've provided an alternative spice option, too—I still can't decide which one I like better! Before you begin, I recommend setting out all the spices on the counter so they’re ready to go when you’re cooking. Also, if you have some on hand, this dish is great with baby spinach stirred in during the last couple minutes of cooking. In the photographed dish, I used 2 cups each of chopped zucchini and broccoli florets, but of course, feel free to use any veggies you prefer.
For the dal:
- 1 heaping tablespoon (20 mL) virgin coconut oil or olive oil
- 4 cups peeled (if necessary) and diced veggies*
- 1/2 cup (100 g) uncooked red lentils
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) water, plus more if needed
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) minced onion**
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) good curry powder, or to taste***
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cooked basmati rice or grain of choice
- Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
- Fresh lime juice
- In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over low-medium heat.
- Peel (if necessary) and dice the veggies into 1/2-inch pieces. Add them into the pot and stir until combined. Increase heat to medium.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients (lentils, water, diced tomatoes [with juices], coconut milk, all the spices, salt, and pepper). Stir until combined.
- Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 18 to 30 minutes, until the veggies and lentils are tender; the cook time will depend on the types of veggies you use, and their size. Stir the dal frequently while cooking, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent it from sticking to the pot. (If you’re using potatoes, I suggest covering the pot while cooking since they don’t contain as much water to “cook off”. You may need to add more water to thin the mixture.)
- If desired, serve over rice, and garnish with cilantro and lime (it’s still great without these additions, though!).
* You can use any veggies you like here! Whatever is lurking in your kitchen, feel free to try it out. A few ideas for combos include the following: carrot and zucchini, potato and peas, sweet potato and red pepper, broccoli and zucchini, cauliflower and/or broccoli.
** Minced (or flaked) onion is less concentrated than onion powder. Onion powder will work as a substitute if that's what you have on hand, but I would suggest starting with a small amount and adding it to taste in ¼-teaspoon increments to avoid it overpowering the dish.
*** I use Simply Organic brand of curry powder. If you don’t have a favourite curry powder blend on hand, you can substitute the following: 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or more to taste), and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional). Don’t forget to use the 1 1/2 teaspoons of both garlic powder and minced onion, as well.
I made this last night and–YUM–it was a huge hit. Even my picky, non-veg boyfriend loved it. This will definitely be our new end-of–the-week staple for using up leftover vegetables. Thank you!
Hey Rebekah, Great news! Thanks for letting me know. I too love to throw in anything lurking in my crisper…hasn’t failed me yet. haha.
We enjoyed this (perfect for a busy school night), and also your chili. Finally, the weather here is cool enough to appreciate these ‘warming’ dishes. Oh, and also made your Pumpkin Chocolate Chip squares last night; pumpkin spice latte is the next up.
I’m anxiously awaiting for our fall weather to arrive too..we’re in a big heat wave the past couple weeks! I’m just yearning for 20C highs…hhaa. Those recipes sound like perfect ones to welcome fall with. :) Glad you enjoyed them!
I’ve made this recipe 4 or 5 times since it was posted, with several different vegetable combinations. I have to say that potatoe, pea and Swiss chard / kale is my favourite combination. This has quickly become my fall back recipe for dinner as it uses items always in my pantry. I also have divided it into meal type portions and frozen it for work lunchs – so good!! Definitely recommend!!
Oh that’s a great combo! Thanks for sharing :)
I just came across this recipe and I want to make it soon I was just wondering what looks like quinoa in the picture?
Hey Chantal, Is that by chance the ground black pepper on top that I used? Otherwise, I paired the dish with rice on the base. Hope this helps!
Hi Angela!!! I am SOOO thankful I found your blog. Made the chickpea salad this past weekend and it was a hit with everyone! my son is allergic to dairy and eggs so he was basically born vegan. And get this….. he is also named Arlo and my husband is also named Eric!!! ??? I think it was meant to be that I found your blog. Trying this recipe for tonight’s dinner!! Thanks so much!!
So glad it was a hit with everyone! :)
Hey ! Love the recipe ! It’s for 1 person right ?
hah totally! I wish I didn’t have to share! ;)
Loved it! Used Vindaloo curry powder and regular coconut milk.
Thanks Jeff! So happy you enjoyed it.
I still love the idea of this recipe in warmer weather. I was just thinking about using lentils this morning so this recipe is really good timing. It looks delicious.
Hi! Can you do any recipes with strong black seed oil? I have heard it is great for allergies and I have been making a tea with it and it has helped a lot. But I was wondering could it be used in different recipes? And when used in recipes does it still maintain its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties?
Hey Jennifer, Interesting! I haven’t heard of this before, but I will definitely have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.
i made this and used your enchilada sauce instead of tomato sauce because that was all me had. hubby & daughter both enjoyed.
today i was making a recipe for the 2nd time and thought you might enjoy it because you have kids and it is quick prep ahead of time. i did not create it – but it is a slow cooker recipe and all have enjoyed it (even our littles one tried it, but she is just starting foods)
we added some miyokos (spelling?) cheese on top (not for baby) and i omitted a few things and changed one or two- but kept the majority.
hope you enjoy
Hey Elysa, Sounds delicious…thanks for sharing! I’ve been meaning to whip out my slow cooker soon :)
Nothing better than a simple recipe with toddlers because who has time to cook? I just finished making this and the only changes I made were sautéing 1/2 diced onion in place of the onion powder and I reduced the garlic powder to 1tsp. I felt like even that amount of garlic powder overpowered the curry, so next time I will probably try fresh minced garlic. My spices are from Penzeys and their garlic powder is stronger than most, so others may not have that problem. This recipe is a keeper!
I made it again today- usually just add whatever I have but I really like the potatoe and carrot :) today accompanied by broccoli and a little bit of parsnip- as always delicious!Thank you for this recipe!
I made this tonight and doubled the recipe and I used sweet potatoe, broccoli and a few carrots. I didn’t have a good curry so I made my own following the recipe and it was Delicious! It was comforting and warm!!
Because I doubled recipe , I also doubled the liquids but I found it a bit watery- I cooked it with the lid on because I used sweet potatoe but not sure if I should cut back a little liquid next time . It was still amazing and I can’t wait to make it again!
Hey Alyssa, Oh homemade curry sounds like a fantastic addition! I’ve found certain combos can be more watery than others; often cooking with the lid off (and just a bit longer than usual) does the trick. Leftovers will also thicken up in the fridge. So happy you love it so much! It’s on an almost weekly rotation over here.
This looks so good ! I am such a fan of dal… I will definitely try it :) .
This was so easy and delicious. My family of 4 gobbled it up…I’m wondering about making a larger portion next time – would you just double it? Or could I add another 1/2 cup of lentils and another cup of water??
I have doubled it before successfully (I doubled all the ingredients, except salt maybe and just added that to taste)
I used red bells & sweet potatoes- quick, easy & tasty!
Wow – great – love that you can have all to hand, and make this when you need dinner quick! And it’s still healthy! My kids love this too!!!
So happy to hear this one is a hit with your whole family Bec! We make it weekly….I love that I have the ingredients on hand usually too, and I’ve tried a lot of different veggie combos with success.
Yes girl! Love me some quick and easy recipes like this on those busy nights. Thanks so much for sharing :) Definitely going to pin this one to make later!!
Hope you enjoy it Maria!
Another great recipe!!! I have yet to be steered the wrong by your recipes. I truly love that you make vegetarian/vegan food soo flavorful. Thank you!!
That means the world to me…thank you so much for your encouragement!
Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! My whole family (husband, 17 year old and 9 year old) likes this meal, and the best part is that it took me only 10 min. to make. More speedy recipes for busy moms would be greatly appreciated : )
Hey Christine, I’m so happy your whole family loved it. I agree about the quick prep time..it’s so nice! And it works with a bunch of different veggies. I’ve been making it once a week now that the cool weather is here to stay.
Hi there — is there much difference between brown lentils and red ones, in terms of this recipe? Thanks!
Hey Sahari, I haven’t tried it with brown lentils but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work! If you try anything please let me know how it goes.
Hi there, I tried this recipe out last night and it was very soupy and had way too much liquid. Any ideas? I did double the recipe but I doubled all the ingredients, including the lentils.
Hey Natalie, I’ve found it can be more liquidy when doubling this recipe, so I tend to cut back on the liquids a bit when doubling it. It also depends on the veggies you use (veggies like zucchini will release a lot of water). It also dos thicken as it sits overnight so you may find that it’s not a soupy after sitting for a bit. Hope this helps!
I seriously could not believe how delicious this was because it was so much simpler than any curry recipe I had ever made before and tasted way more flavorful. Love that it’s quick and flexible so I can just throw in whatever veggies I have at the moment!
We make this once a week…so fun to change up! I’m so glad you love it too. :)
This looks and sounds delicious Angela! Love a healthy, speedy recipe ?
Thanks Sally! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. :)
Delicious! So simple, so flavorful, so flexible! Loved it. There are a couple of us in the house who are sick of dal, but this was such a creative and healthy twist. Loved the vegetable-to-dal ratio too (vs just all dal and a little vegetable). I didn’t have red lentils so used the green ones from the supermarket—worked great. THANK YOU!!!
Oh so good to know about the green lentils working great. I will try that next time. Glad this one was a hit for you and the fam!
Forgot to ask—why is it called pantry dal “two ways”? What’s the second way?
hey there! It’s regarding the two curry powder options, I believe:
(In the tips): If you don’t have a favourite curry powder blend on hand, you can substitute the following: 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or more to taste), and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional). Don’t forget to use the 1 1/2 teaspoons of both garlic powder and minced onion, as well.
Hi! I am in love with this delicious dish and it is on regular rotation in our house. I’m starting to think about Passover, which for many jews does not permit any beans, lentils, chickpeas, soy etc. Do you think I could make this without the lentils?
Hey Andrea, I think you probably could with a bit of adjustment! :) I would suggest reducing the liquid a bit, and you may want to add in another veggie to give it a bit of thickness.
Thank you! I will give that a try.
Has anyone made this ahead of time and reheated it? Recommendations for doing so??
Hey Jennifer, I reheat the leftovers in a pot on the stovetop…works great!
This is delicious! I was shocked because it was so easy to make. Wow!
I love these recipes.
Aww thank you Mary! I will try to do more of them :)
Lovely! Would not have thought lentils could cook that fast (18 minutes) and uncovered. Made it tonight with carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers. Doubled the recipe but with one can of water plus the can of coconut milk.
Hey Jasmine, Thank you so much for the feedback! I love to double the recipe as well…otherwise it goes so fast. Enjoy the leftovers!
This is such a good one! It’s our back up dish because it’s fast and easy to keep ingredients on hand! I make naan (because the kids love it) and we eat that with it
Such a great combo!! Thanks for the recipe review…I’m so happy you love it.
This recipe is pure genius! I have made it multiple times since it came out with different veggie combos. I even made it for myself on a yoga retreat, and it was perfect sustenance! I’d like to see more quick and easy entrees like this!
Thanks so much Amber! So glad it’s been a hit…I love changing it up too (actually I do so almost every time!).
I just made this for my lunch, since I had all the ingredients on hand. I love how adaptable it is! I used broccoli and sweet potatoes as my veggies, and then added a can of chickpeas as it sounded good. And it certainly was good!
Hi! Love all your recipes and you’ve helped this vegan be able to cook meals my carnivore husband and a toddler can all eat and enjoy, which is no easy feat! Just wondering, do you think this recipe could be thrown into a slow cooker and left on low?
Hey there, Aww thanks for the kind words…I’m so glad to hear that! I haven’t tried it, but I do think you could make this in a slow cooker. If using onion or garlic as party of your 4 cups of veggies, I would saute those first, but other than that I think you could dump it all in. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it! I will be doing so soon.
I thought this was an IP recipe but in the instructions it doesn’t give instant pot directions, it’s stove top. Amy I missing something?
Also, could I use canned lentils? How do I adjust cooking?
Hey Amy, Oh you must’ve seen my stories this week? I just got the IP this past weekend so I was playing around with this recipe in the IP. I do hope to share it once I get it perfect! Right now it looks like this dal worked well at 5 minutes high pressure with instant release. I used 2 cups cubed butternut squash and 2 cups chopped cauliflower and it was an amazing combo. I’d love to hear what you think if you try it out!
I just made this after seeing it in one of your Instagram stories a few days ago… and it was so tasty! I already know it will become a staple in our house! Thank you Angela for sharing this :)
Hey Marine, that makes me so happy to hear! I’m glad you loved the pantry dal…it’s definitely a hit around here too :)
I absolutely love this recipe! I make it a few times a month. Yesterday I had a crazy schedule with kids and activities and wasn’t going to get home until late. I dumped everything in the crockpot, stirred it up, and set it on low for 6 hours. It turned out great! I used 2 cups potatoes, 1 cup broccoli, and 1 cup cauliflower. Just before serving, I added a few handfuls of baby spinach and stirred until wilted. It probably didn’t need the full 6 hours – we could have eaten it around the 4 or 5 hour mark (or could have set on high for 2-3 hours).
Hey Kim, I’m so glad the pantry dal is a hit with your fam! We must have it a few times a week over here too. Thanks for sharing your crockpot method…that sounds awesome.
Looks delicious! Has anybody made this with full-fat coconut milk instead of light? That’s what I have on hand. I’m thinking I’ll use the whole can and a bit of extra water…
I was craving a good veggie curry and this really hit the spot! I used broccoli and zucchini for my veg as I happened to have exactly 2 cups of each on hand and a can of Trader Joe’s regular, not light, coconut milk. Also subbed half a small onion, finely chopped for the onion flakes. So easy to throw together (I honestly dont think it even took a full 8 mins of prep!) And fantastic flavor! I can’t wait to dig in to the leftovers tomorrow. This is one of those back pocket meals that are easy to get on the table. Will definitely be making it again. Thanks!
Hey Stephanie, oh I’m so happy you loved the curry! I’ve been craving all the cozy curry dishes lately (hello, fall!), and this one is a staple in our weeknight rotation too. :) Thanks for sharing your swaps!
Can you tell me how I’d make this in my instant pot?
This is one of my favorite recipes–so delicious and so fast and love the flexibility of using any veggies. Would love to see an instant pot version.
Hey Jen, An IP version is a great idea! Thanks for your review…so glad you love this one.
I love this recipe and have made it multiple times! I want to try it with peas and carrots tonight, but I only have frozen peas. After thawing, would I add them to the pot at the same time as the carrots? Or should I add them toward the end of the cooking process?
Hey Kate, Thanks for your question! I would add any frozen veggies at the very end since they will only need a minute or two. I find frozen veggies can become too mushy if cooked at the beginning of soup recipes. I’d love to hear what you try out! Happy cooking
I made this tonight. It was delicious! Thank you!
Hey Laura, So glad to hear that! Thanks for letting me know :)
This has quickly become one of my go-to vegan recipes not only for its simplicity but delicoious flavour. Each time I make it I use different combinations and types of vegetables and it always comes out perfectly. This is a real keeper.
Delicious! I doubled the recipe, and used one bag of frozen broccoli and one bag of frozen broccoli Normandy mix. I may try cooking it in a slow cooker next time. (Maybe those with instant pots can make this in there too.) Basically, this was the best no-prep recipe I’ve ever made. Thanks!
So good! Didn’t use tomatoes instead added some V8 juice – cut recipe in half. For us non vegans some ground turkey is great addition!
Great minds think alike ??
I made this recipe today, and it was my very first Oh She Glows recipe despite following your blog for a while. For some reason, I have always found plant-based food a little intimidating. This was really delicious and a total cinch. I especially loved not having to brown onions and garlic – great use of pantry ingredients and an awesome time saver.
I didn’t serve it on rice, just a big bowl with cilantro. Total yum!
Hey Sarah, So glad you loved your first OSG recipe! :) Thanks so much for letting us know how it went.
hi. this is one of my favorite recipes of all times – it is beyond delicious, easy to make and tastes better every day! I always make it with broccoli and zucchini, but today I made it with eggplant, scallions and shredded carrots. Yummy – looking forward to all my meals this week – thank you!!
Angela, this recipe has been a very popular stand-by in my weekday evening repertoire ever since you posted it. I also wanted to add that last night, my 14-year-old daughter, who has been fighting a nasty upper respiratory thing for a week now, specifically requested it. I started to make it, then realized I was out of curry and was really bummed, since I knew that it just wouldn’t be the same without it. Detail-oriented Angela to the rescue; I happened to glance below the recipe and saw your “back-up” in case of no curry. The ingredients were fantastic for someone with a cold, too: ginger, turmeric, etc. Daughter was happy, mom was happy – so five stars for the recipe all around!
This was a huge hit with both my 3 year old and my omnivorous husband. And so easy to make. Thank you!!