I love to cook traditional Indian recipes, but with a Jamaican spin on them. I don’t use the same amount and variety of spices that are normally seen in Indian recipes, because even though Jamaican cuisine has Indian cuisine, it evolved to use the spices we have available on the island. However, all of my Indian-derived recipes are easy to prepare and so delicious, like my Curry Cabbage, Chickpea Curry, Aloo Palak, and this Masoor Dal recipe.

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Easy Masoor Dal

What is Masoor Dal?

There are many varieties of lentils with varying colors and sizes, but Masoor dal (or daal) is one of the most important legumes in Indian cooking.

On the subcontinent, dal is a staple food usually cooked into various thick curry style stews and eaten with rice or rotis/chapatis (Indian flatbreads).

Dal is an umbrella term for split lentils and other legumes that do not require soaking before being cooked. The wor “daal”, “dal” or “dhal” are the anglicized spellings of a Sanskrit word meaning “split”.

All of these legumes are very high in nutritional value while being quite economical and easy to buy in bulk. In Indian grocery stores, you can usually find chana dal, masoor dal, mung dal, etc., in big bags, usually for under $10, or.

Masoor dal is split red lentils. It is also known as Masar dal, Mussoor dal, Masur Dal, or red or pink lentil. They are salmon-colored lentils that have been skinned and split.

Masoor dal

Are Lentils A Complete Protein?

A complete protein contains nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce. Lentils are not a complete protein on their own but combined with rice, quinoa, or soy, you will get all nine. It is also helpful to note that you do not need to have this combination in every meal, just every day.

Are Lentils Good For You?

As I mentioned before, lentils have lots of nutritional value. They come in multiple varieties, all of which I love to use in quite various recipes, such as sauces, stews, meatballs, etc. Lentils are quite inexpensive and combined with their high protein content, they are a great meat substitute and staple food.

Along with their high protein content, lentils contain lots of fiber and substantial amounts of over a dozen essential vitamins and minerals. For example, many vegans and vegetarians have trouble obtaining enough iron in their diets, and a cup of lentils contains 37% of the recommended daily intake of iron.

They also contain 90% of the recommended daily intake of folate, an especially important vitamin in pregnant women’s diets, but of course also important for the general population. These, along with many other vitamins and minerals, are already a great reason to start adding lentils to your meal rotations.

The fiber content in lentils helps your digestive system to process your meals and pass them comfortably and helps foster the growth of healthy gut flora.

Are Lentils Gluten-Free

Lentils are a legume, not a grain like wheat. This means that they are naturally gluten-free. However, in some products, there may be a possibility of cross-contamination. If you are severely sensitive to gluten or wheat, I would recommend purchasing lentils marked gluten-free and processed in a gluten-free facility.

Do Lentils Cause Gas?

Lentils do have the potential to cause possibly embarrassing gassiness. This is because of its high fiber content, which can be helpful for your digestive system, but does, unfortunately,  increase the possibility of bloating and gas, especially in those with IBS. If you are particularly prone to these digestive issues, try soaking your lentils and other legumes overnight.

masoor dal ingredients

What Is In Masoor Dal?

  • Coconut Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Tomato
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Coconut Milk
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish

How To Make Masoor Dal?

Masoor dal cooks easily, so it doesn’t need to be soaked (unless you’re trying to prevent gas), and doesn’t need to be cooked in a pressure cooker if not soaked, like other beans and lentils in Indian cooking. 

Saute onion, garlic, ginger, and tomato in coconut oil on medium heat. Add turmeric, coriander, and cumin, and cook until fragrant. Stir in washed and drained masoor dal, vegetable broth, and coconut milk, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer until dal is tender (about 20 minutes), stir in chopped cilantro, and season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. 

Can Dogs Eat Lentils?

Lentils are an amazing source of protein, fiber, and iron, for dogs as well as us. In fact, lentils are added to most grain-free kibble or wet food as an economical nutrition boost. 

Also, just like how lentils can assist us in feeling full and therefore not overeating, it also can do the same for dogs. This makes it a great addition to the diets of overweight or diabetic dogs.

Masoor dal will be too overly spiced for your dog, and it contains onion and garlic, which are also not good for dogs. However, plainly cooked lentils can be added to your dog’s diet as a healthy additive.

Always check in with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is getting proper nutrition, since they have quite different needs than we do. Lentils are not meant to be their primary meal, just an enhancement.

What To Make With Lentils?

I have made quite a few lentil dishes, in many different forms. Some of my favorites are:

Other Delicious Recipes To Try

Southern Black-Eyed Peas

Chickpea Stew

Vegan Lentil Stew

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

masoor dal cooking in a silver saucepan

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Nutrition

(Per portion)
  • Energy: 373 kcal / 1559 kJ
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Carbs: 36 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 25 min
  • Ready in: 35 min
  • For:
  • 4 Servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Add turmeric, coriander, and cumin and cook until fragrant, while stirring constantly. Stir in the masoor dal, coconut milk, and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes or until masoor dal is tender. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and cilantro and stir. Cook for 2 more minutes and serve with rice.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.