This Instant Pot Dal is like a thick curried lentil soup just bursting with flavour and delicious spices – it’s a creamy coconut milk based lentil stew that is hearty enough to satisfy your appetite even though it’s vegan, and you should have most ingredients in your pantry at home!
This Instant Pot Dal is a delicious vegan dinner idea that comes together with the help of mostly pantry staples if you can believe it.
In fact, if your house is well-stocked, you may not need to go to the store at all!
With the exception of the bell peppers and spinach, which are optional add-ins, most of the ingredients in this Instant Pot Dal should be found in your spice drawer and pantry – everything from the lentils themselves to the coconut milk, chicken broth and seasonings.
I love this Instant Pot Dal because it’s so simple but it’s also really comforting and perfect for chilly nights when you’re craving a hearty meal. And it’s perfect for Meatless Monday too while packing in a ton of protein and fibre!
If you’re looking for a healthy meal that’s packed with flavour, this Instant Pot Dal is where it’s at.
Now what is dal you might ask? Well, it’s basically a vegetarian stew comprised mainly of lentils and a mix of Indian-inspired spices.
I was first introduced to dal when I was starting to explore some Indian cuisine that was vegetarian. I tried everything from chana masala to dal, masala dosas and more when I was in graduate school. These options were hearty and spicy and just downright delicious, but also cheap alternatives to the heavy meat-based diets we eat all the time here in North America.
As a broke grad student I couldn’t really afford to spend as much on groceries and so a hearty option like dal was ideal – you could probably make this whole meal for about $10 or so by the time you buy all the ingredients and it makes 6 servings that freeze well so you really can’t go wrong; this Instant Pot dal is quite budget friendly.
And you already know I love freezer meals because you can just whip them out after a long day and reheat just like new! This Instant Pot lentil dal definitely hits that mark.
Okay, okay, enough of the small talk. You’re probably dying to know how to make it right? Well it’s super simple!
Lentils usually take FOREVER on the stove so it’s ideal to use an Instant Pot here. Just dump in all the spices, coconut milk, broth and lentils and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick release and you’ve got Instant Pot Lentils in no time! Beats the half hour or so they would take on the stove!
To get this golden yellow colour you’ll want to use a mix of turmeric, curry powder and cumin – they are super strong flavours that make this Instant Pot dal shine, and they’re also common enough ingredients that you probably already have them on hand at home too!
Because I’m a foodie and lucky enough to live near to Kensington Market in Toronto, I even took it a step further and used Madras curry powder which is a bit of a spicier blend of curry with more of a kick. I really think it took this Instant Pot dal over the top and I know from my roommate’s rave reviews that these Instant Pot Lentils are going to have to go on the dinner menu more often!
I added in some bell peppers and spinach at the end to boost the vegetable content and then I served on top of jasmine rice alongside some fresh cilantro but you don’t need to do all of that if you’re feeling lazy. I actually ended up eating the Instant Pot dal without any rice because I found it very filling on its own.
If you’re out of veggies I also suggest just using spinach (or even another green like kale) because you still get some green that way but don’t have to worry about running to the store for extra ingredients if you don’t need to.
From there, it’s just a matter of serving and enjoying!
Will you be making this Instant Pot Dal?
I’m going to have these curried lentils on repeat all fall and winter, trust me! And if you’re looking for more comfort food recipes, you may want to try out this Instant Pot Lasagna Soup or Instant Pot Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole!
If you try any of my recipes be sure to let me know on Facebook or in the comments – I’d love to see what you come up with!
The Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 is the version I use in this recipe.
Grab some Glass meal prep bowls if you plan on packing this lentil stew up for lunch!
These are the lentils I used in this recipe.
Instant Pot Dal (Curried Lentil Stew)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp minced fresh gingerroot (or 2 tsp dried ginger)
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups dry green lentils
- 1 (400mL) can coconut milk
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 each red and green bell pepper
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 cups cooked jasmine rice (about 1 cup dried then cooked according to package directions)
- Add coconut oil, onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry, cumin, salt, lentils, coconut milk and vegetable broth to Instant Pot in that order. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes then do a quick release of the pressure.
- Meanwhile make the rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop and prepare veggies. Open lid to Instant Pot after quick release and stir in bell peppers, then let sit for 5 min.
- Stir in spinach then add dal to bowls filled with rice and top with cilantro. Serve and enjoy!