This traditional Indian-inspired lentil soup is prepared with split chickpeas, red lentils, spinach, tomatoes, and a lot of flavorful spices. It is comforting, perfectly spiced, and easy to prepare. Serve with white rice or naan!
⭐️ Why You Will Love this Recipe
This recipe is inspired by my favorite Dal Palak from a local Indian restaurant. I had a quick talk with the chef and got the chance to squeeze out some tips out of him. So here is my own version, and let me just say it tastes just like the one I love!
- Spot-on texture: It is not too soupy, but thick and creamy.
- Perfectly spiced: The spices do not cover the flavor of the spinach, but complement it. This dal is not spicy, but very flavorful thanks to the aromatics and spices.
- Healthy: What I like about this dal is how rich it is in spinach. It makes it lighter than other types of dahl, plus you get your daily dose of greens!
Erica said: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "I cooked this, and it really does taste restaurant-quality! The final result was beautiful, savory, and delicious."
Don't be scared by its dark green color, this dal is insanely delicious!
📘 What is Dal Palak
Dal Palak (दाल पालक) is an Indian dish that is made with lentils, spinach and spices. It is one of the most popular vegetarian dish in India, along with many other types of dal like Dal Makhani and Chana Dal.
🥣 How to Make Dal Palak
The process to make dal palak is quite easy and requires ingredients that are easy to find. Here is what you will need:
- Split chickpeas - Authentic dal palak (according to the Indian chef) is often made with split chickpeas (chana dal), that cook a lot faster than whole chickpeaks, and don't require soaking. They are a bit bigger than lentils and add a nice texture to the dal.
- Red lentils - Red lentils tend to "melt" during cooking, bringing a thicker texture.
- Onion, garlic, ginger - Because you want a very aromatic spinach soup!
- Tomato and tomato paste - Not all dal palak recipes call for tomatoes, but it adds a natural sweetness and subtle acidity.
- Spices - Turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and fenugreek. The latter is essential to get the same flavor you get at the restaurant.
- Spinach - Fresh baby spinach works best here, plus it saves time as you don't need to remove the stems.
- Nutritional yeast - To enhance the flavor a little bit.
- Vegan butter - This one is optional, but if you want to add extra richness to your dal, stir in a tablespoon of vegan butter at the end of cooking.
Preparing this dal is easy:
- Cook the lentils: Start by cooking the split chickpeas and red lentils in water for 20-25 minutes, or until the split chickpeas are tender, and the red lentils have melted.
- Prepare the tadka: In the meantime, prepare the tadka, also known as "tempering". Fry onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, and spices for 8-10 minutes.
- Blend the spinach: For a more interesting and pleasant texture, I recommend blending ⅔ of the spinach with some water until fully smooth. This way you get a super creamy consistency while still having some whole spinach leaves here and there.
- Combine everything: Finally, add the cooked chickpeas, and lentils to the skillet. Pour in the blended spinach, as well as the remaining spinach leaves, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or longer if you prefer a thicker consistency.
💬 FAQ + Tips
- What does "dal" mean? Dal (दाल) basically means "pulses" in Indian. It refers to many types of lentils and beans. Palak (पालक) means spinach. So this dish could be translated to lentil spinach soup.
- What to eat with dal palak? You can eat this dal on its own, or serve with rice and/or naan on the side. Top with a dollop of cashew cream for extra creaminess, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon juice!
- Can I substitute the split chickpeas? Yes, you can use yellow split peas, however I highly recommend trying the recipe with split chickpeas for the best results.
- How long does this dal palak keep? Dal Palak will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. It freezes very well and will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer.
This dal palak recipe is incredibly aromatic, subtly spiced, and so comforting! It's also great for meal-prep and packs 18g of protein per serving!
Let me know in the comments, and please leave a rating if you try this recipe!
Easy Dal Palak
- ½ cup split chickpeas also known as chana dal
- ¼ cup red lentils
- 2 and ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tomato finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, coriander, garam masala, fenugreek
- ⅛ teaspoon chili or more if you like it spicy
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 9 cups baby spinach
- 2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- for serving: fresh parsley, lemon juice
- Start by rinsing the split chickpeas and lentils 2-3 times.
- Combine the split chickpeas, red lentils, and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer 20-25 minutes until the chickpeas are cooked and there is almost no water left. Remove from heat and drain excess water if needed. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until soft. Next, add the garlic and ginger. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomato, spices, chili, salt, and tomato paste and cook until the tomatoes become soft, stirring regularly.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, wash and drain the spinach. Roughly chop 3 cups of spinach and add it to the skillet.
- Place the other 6 cups of spinach in a blender with ½ cup of water. Blend until smooth and transfer to the skillet.
- Add the cooked chickpeas/lentils and nutritional yeast to the skillet and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly until the spinach is soft. You can cook it longer if you prefer a less soupy consistency. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
- Serve topped with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Dal Palak goes very well with rice.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer.