This Lentil Dal with Spinach Sauce is one of the most delicious, soul-satisfying plant-based, Indian meals! This version is fragrant, flavorful and packed with nutrients- think of this like Saag Paneer, but substituting black lentils instead of the cheese! Super tasty and healthy. See 30-Second Video!
This recipe for Spinach Lentil Dal, which I’ve nicknamed “Emerald Dal” because of its beautiful rich color was such a comforting meal to make this week. Somehow it feels so grounding and nurturing. Not only is it wholesome and nutritious, but it is also bursting with authentic Indian flavor -and honestly, I can’t wait to make it again!
To make this Lentil Dal with Spinach Sauce you’ll need a full pound of spinach. You can use frozen spinach if you like but fresh spinach is in the season I am taking advantage of it.
How to make Emerald Dal | 30-second video
How to make Spinach Lentil Dal
Step 1: Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper. If you like heat, add more chili pepper.
Step 2: Saute the onion garlic & chili pepper in ghee and add the spices. Feel free to use coconut oil, but ghee truly elevates this dish.
Here I’m using black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and garam masala which you can make at home.
Step 3: Then add the fresh spinach, a little water, cover, and wilt over low heat for just a few minutes.
A pound of spinach will wilt down into about 2 cups- if that.
Step 4: Blend the spinach sauce with a little water to form a spinach puree. It doesn’t need to be smooth unless you prefer it that way. Look how bright and green it is!
Step 5: Pour the spinach sauce back into the pan- and don’t overheat this or you will lose the gorgeous color!
Step 6: Then fold in the cooked lentils I add somewhere between 3-4 cups of cooked caviar lentils. And I love these little black lentils most of all because they cook so quickly!!!
TIP #1: I cook lentils using the pasta method. Cook in ample salted water until tender, then strain. That way you don’t have to have exact measurements with the water to lentil ratio. It is very forgiving!
TIP #2: Using 3 cups of cooked lentils (instead of 4) will lend a “saucier” (more flavorful) dal which I prefer. But if you have 4 people in your family, I’d just add another cup of lentils. 🙂
Step 7: Then stir in a little plain yogurt which will add creaminess and a touch of tanginess.
Step 8: Taste. Adjust salt and heat to your liking. You want this slightly salty if serving over rice. A little squeeze of lemon or lime juice is nice here too!
Tip #3: Remember, do not overheat the spinach lentil dal or you’ll lose that lovely vibrant emerald color!
Tip #4: At the same time as I’m making the dal- I’m also pan-searing naan bread, and cooking basmati rice to go with it.
Spinach Lentil Dal- lovingly called Emerald Dal here at home…a simple and tasty combo that can be made in 30 minutes if you cook the lentils ahead!
Yes, you can eat it like lentil soup if you prefer. 🙂
What to serve with Lentil Spinach Dal?
- Basmati rice
- Naan Bread
- Indian Potatoes and Cauliflower
- Instant Pot Tikka Masala
- Mint Chutney
- Indian Butter Chicken
- Rajasthani Potatoes
- Authentic Chai!
- Chai Cookies!
You may also like:
- Palak Paneer!
- Indian Fried Rice
- Indian Shepherds Pie
- Frankies (Bombay Burritos)
- Naan Bread
- Indian Basmati Rice
Enjoy the grounding, nourishing Spinach Lentil Dal this week and let me know what you think in the comments below!