Simple recipe for spinach dal

A quick and easy dal with spinach recipe that needs no curry powder or coconut, yet full of flavor with a creamy texture from yellow dal, spinach and a few simple healthy ingredients.

lentil curry with spinach and a bowl of rice and parathas

Recipe overview

An easy recipe for spinach dal that never fails to make an impact, whatever the time of the year and wherever you are. Like the popular chana masala, this dal can also be made in about 30 minutes for a delicious and quick dinner.

Though you will agree with me that fall is the perfect season for such comfort food like a homemade lentil curry with the goodness of spinach. On a bed of hot steaming rice. Or use naan, chapati or paratha to scoop out this curry for a satisfying vegan Indian meal.

This creamy lentil curry is mildly spiced so if you want to introduce Indian curries in your menu or to your kids, this recipe qualifies as the best candidate. One of the easiest and yummiest recipes with yellow lentils (toor dal or split pigeon pea), it is also chockful of nutrients and uses just 2 teaspoons of oil. So HEALTHY!

Want to prepare a last-minute meal? An inexpensive but nutritious meal? Or bulk up an already cooked curry?

The spinach dal curry will be the answer to all your woes. I promise.

Why you’ll love this easy spinach dal recipe

  • I would recommend this quick and easy lentil curry recipe for newbies entering the “world of curries”.
  • It doesn’t need curry powder or coconut milk.
  • This dal curry requires no roasting or grinding.
  • This dal palak recipe requires very few basic ingredients.
  • It takes less than 20 minutes to cook. Or even lesser if you have a pressure cooker or instant pot.
  • The protein-rich lentils combine with the nutrient-dense spinach to give you an entirely plant-based health boost.
ingredients for lentil curry with spinach

How to make lentil curry with spinach

Yellow lentils or toor dal (split pigeon pea), spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, chili, and a handful of whole spices are all you need for this super simple dal with spinach recipe. Cook the lentils with the vegetables in the pressure cooker or instant pot. Roast the whole spices and add as garnish. It’s as SIMPLE as that.

close up view of lentil curry with spinach

I’ve used white lentils for tempering. These are actually skinned black lentils. Roasted white lentils give a characteristic bite to the curry, and it’s worth hunting for them.

What do you pair it with?

Serve spinach dal with roti, naan or rice, with sides like microwave fried okra, tandoori cauliflower bites or green mango chutney.

If you would like a similar super-easy recipe with chicken, check out the 5-ingredient easy chicken curry or chicken meatball curry for variations.

Not in a mood for curry? Go for the lentil soup with turmeric for that hot and spicy comfort on a cold night.

Health benefits of lentils

  • Lentils are an inexpensive way to get a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • They are great sources of health-promoting phytochemicals.
  • Lentils are rich in protein, which makes them an excellent alternative to meat.
  • The fiber-rich lentils improve your overall gut health.

Health benefits of spinach

Given its health benefits such as 15 different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and rated as one of the most protein-rich vegetables, spinach can help improve your overall health and fitness levels, including heart, bone, muscle, blood, hair, skin, eye and gut health. In short, it is a superfood loaded with goodness for every part of your body!

Did you know these fun facts about spinach?

  • March 26th is National Spinach Day.
  • The spinach growing town of Crystal City, Texas, erected a statue of Popeye in 1937.
  • In the 1930’s U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.
  • Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.
  • Cooking spinach increases its health benefits.
  • Spinach can reduce hunger and cravings.
  • Spinach is best eaten boiled since boiling gets rid of oxalic acid which is linked to kidney stones.
  • During World War I, spinach juice was added to wine and given to soldiers who had been injured, because spinach pumps up production of blood.

More lentil and bean recipes

dal with spinach and a bowl of rice and parathas.

simple recipe for lentil curry with spinach

A quick and easy recipe for SPINACH DAL that needs no curry powder or coconut, yet full of flavor with a creamy texture from toor dal, spinach and a few basic ingredients.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
resting time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 112 kcal


  • Pressure cooker or instant pot


  • 1 cup dry yellow lentils (toor dal or split pigeon pea)
  • 2 cups spinach roughly chopped
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric


  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white lentils (skinned urud dal or black lentils)-optional
  • 1 dry red chili
  • a few curry leaves


Cooking spinach dal

  • Mix all the listed ingredients in a pressure cooker or instant pot with 2 cups of water and cook on high flame until it reaches high pressure, then simmer on low flame for 5 minutes.
  • If cooking in a pot, add an additional cup of water. Keep stirring frequently so that the lentils don't get stuck to the bottom. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes for the lentils to cook.
  • Let it stand until the pressure gets released naturally, then add salt and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
    Transfer to a serving bowl.

Prepare the tempering

  • Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard. Once it starts spluttering, add the other ingredients. Roast for 2 minutes or until the white lentils turn golden brown. Drizzle on the curry.


  • The spice of the chili is absorbed by the lentils so you don’t have to worry about the heat. 
  • The original recipe uses a teaspoon of chili powder in addition to the green chili. You can do that if you’re used to spice. Just add along with the lentils while cooking.
Simple recipe for spinach dal
Keyword easy curry recipe, recipe for lentil curry, recipe for spinach dal, recipe for yellow dal, recipes with toor dal

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Thank you and happy cooking!

– Sheeba.

This post was last published in March 2018. It has been updated with new photos to give you an awesome experience.

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10 thoughts on “Simple recipe for spinach dal”

  1. I make a similar curry with spinach. The only difference is that instead of lentils, I use gram flour as a thickening agent to my sabji. I love spinach! And, for the tempering, I use garlic and cumin seeds.
    Loved your recipe, too! 🙂

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