lentil curry (dal) with spinach

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

lentil curry with spinach and a bowl of rice and parathas

A curry never fails to make an impact, whatever the time of the year and wherever you are. 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 lentil curry is mildly spiced so if you want to introduce curries in your menu or to your kids, this recipe qualifies as the best candidate.

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

This spinach lentil curry will be the answer to all your woes. I promise.

why you’ll love this easy lentil curry recipe

  • I would recommend this quick and easy lentil curry for newbies entering the “world of curries”.
  • It doesn’t need curry powder or coconut milk.
  • This curry requires no roasting or grinding.
  • This dal recipe requires very few ingredients that you are familiar with.
  • 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.

health benefits of lentils

  • Lentils are an inexpensive way to get a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Lentils 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.
ingredients for lentil curry with spinach

how do you make the simple spinach lentil curry?

Yellow lentils, spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, chili, and a handful of whole spices are all you need for this super simple curry. 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 garnish. These are actually peeled black lentils. Roasted white lentils give a characteristic bite to the curry, and it’s worth hunting for them. If not available, brown lentils can be substituted.

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.

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lentil curry with spinach and a bowl of rice and parathas

lentil curry (dal) with spinach

A quick and easy lentil curry that needs no curry powder or coconut, yet full of flavor with a creamy texture from simple 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 people


  • Pressure cooker or instant pot


  • 1 cup dry yellow lentils
  • 2 cups spinach roughly chopped
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric


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


  • 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 on low flame for 5 minutes.
  • If cooking in a pot, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the lentils to cook.
  • Let it stand until the pressure gets released, then add salt and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl.

Prepare the garnish

  • 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.


  • This recipe uses whole spices and white lentils that give a unique crunch and flavor to the creamy curry.
  • If you can’t find white lentils, brown lentils can be used.
  • 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 to suit the Indian palate!
Keyword easy curry recipe, easy lentil recipe, Indian dahl with spinach, quick and easy, spinach dal, vegan curry, vegetarian curry

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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8 thoughts on “lentil curry (dal) with spinach”

  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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