Basic Vegan Daal 

Steaming hot, deliciously rich and full of goodness, this vegan daal will soon become a family favourite. 

If you read my last recipe post (here) you’ll know that the importance of eating nourishing whole foods has been emphasised at our house since my Mum was diagnosed with Cancer over New Years. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is a given when looking after yourself, but is something that seems to stand out even more when we get sick. When my Mum’s doctors suggested to increase the amount of protein in her diet to help with the effects of chemo it made us even more aware of what we were eating and how to maximise and balance the nutritional benefit of each and every meal.

Lentils are high in protein, iron and fibre and are so easy to add to recipes. Shepherds Pie, Spaghetti and Neatballs, Veggie Patties, Dips, Salads and this comforting Daal..there are so many delicious ways to have them.

I was first introduced to daal and taught to make it by my good friend Tashalina. I’ve tried a lot of daal since then, in fact if it’s on the menu at a restaurant then I have to try it. Even then, Tash still makes the best daal I’ve ever tried. I’ve made it for my friends and family countless times since and although mine will never be as tasty as Tash’s, it has fast become a favourite meal in my home.

Vegan Daal

Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes


– 2 cups dried red lentils
– 1 medium brown onion, diced
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 3 tomatoes, diced
– 250g baby spinach
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 6 cups water
– 2 tablespoons ground cumin
– 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
– 1/2 tablespoon salt
– 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
– 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
– 2 tablespoons Nuttelex
Optional: Mix up this basic daal recipe by adding fresh ginger, coriander, coconut cream or your choice of veggies.


  1. In a large saucepan on medium to high heat, saute the oil, garlic and onion.
  2. Stir in the tomato and lentils.
  3. Add water, cumin, turmeric, salt, cumin seeds and chilli flakes then bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in baby spinach leaves and Nuttelex.
  6. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Serving Suggestions
– Serve with roast veggies, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, pappadums, naan etc.

Storage Suggestions
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This is one of those recipes where the flavours deepen over time so it reheats well for leftovers.

Is daal a staple meal in your home? What meal do you make when looking after your health? Do you have a meal you have to try at every restaurant?

If you tried this recipe I’d love to hear from you. Use the hashtag #chelseycrafts on Instagram or post in the comments form below.

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  1. Yum! I have actually never had daal before even though I love Indian food. My tummy is sensitive to onions and garlic but I think this would still be quite tasty without those ingredients.

    I thought of you the other day. You had blogged about the Yard House in Hawaii I believe. Well my husband and I were near the local one in Massachusetts and decided to try it. I had a sandwich from the gardein menu and was in love! We will be going back there for sure.

    1. That’s so sweet! I’m glad it reminded you of me and that you loved the food there 🙂 I’ll definitely go back to eat there next time I come across a Yard House too.
      I’ve made daal for my friends with sensitive tummies and used ginger and more veggies instead of onion and garlic and they loved it. Let me know if you try it! It’s one of my faves 🙂
      Have a great weekend Val xo

  2. This looks so warming and comforting 🙂 I’m always looking for more vegan recipes to add to the list, gonna have to try this one! I’ve been so busy I’ve just been eating cold left over split peas/lentils. ;D

    1. I just read your latest post, you HAVE been busy! No wonder you’ve been squeezing in leftovers between all of the productivity 🙂 now it’s time to enjoy the writing you wanted to do and maybe a few bowls of warming comforting soup.

  3. So sorry to hear your Mum has to deal with cancer and chemo. It’s so hard when the people we love experience serious illness. I wish her well.

    We eat quite a bit of daal in our house, but it’s always fun to try new recipes for old favorites. Your recipe looks so nourishing, thick and flavorful — I can almost smell the fragrance of the spices.

  4. I’m very sorry your Mum is going through this but she is very lucky to have you looking after her. Eating nourishing foods is always important but even more so when one is undergoing treatments. I hope she and your family will stay strong and prevail. And thanks for sharing this recipe Chelsey.

  5. We just had daal for dinner today. We eat it with rice and roti (like a tortilla). We don;t really eat it for health reasons, for us it’s more like comfort food. Something that is finger licking good. (we eat with out hands) add some spicy achar, a vingery salad of onions, tomatoes and cucumbers.

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