Dal or dahl or even dhal is an Indian word for dried pulses that don’t need soaking before cooking. However you spell it dhal dishes are one of my favourites, easy to cook, lots of goodness and perfect as a main or side dish on a curry evening.

This sweet potato and spinach dahl is a particular favourite in our household with both the vegetarians and meat eaters alike! It makes an excellent lunch on a cold day with flatbreads as a side.

Sweet potato and spinach dhal

Warming vegetarian dish perfect for meat free Mondays
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 4


  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil you can use any vegetable oil but the sesame adds extra flavour
  • 1 red onion, chopped for the colour
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped you can grate the ginger if you prefer
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 or 3 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes buying pre-packaged sweet potato cubes is a perfectly acceptable cheat!
  • 250 grams red lentils approx. 1 cup
  • 650 ml gluten free vegetable stock
  • 100 grams spinach leaves
  • small bunch of Thai basil to serve basil is fine if you can't find Thai basil


  • Heat the sesame oil in a large pot with a lid
  • Add the red onion and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes
  • Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and spices and cook for a minute or two until aromatic
  • Add the sweet potato and stir to coat well.
  • Add the lentils and stock and some salt and pepper to taste. I don't usually add salt as the stock can be quite salty.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lentils and sweet potato are cooked. You may need to add a little extra water to prevent it catching.
  • Stir in the spinach. Once the spinach has wilted serve immediately topped with the basil


Keyword Gluten free, Healthy, vegetarian
Cooking For John