Spinach & Red Lentil Daal

This is a good one. It’s taken a few tweaks to get this right but I’m finally happy with it. Packed full of flavour and goodness, and not to mention cheap, this is a student food staple you’re going to find yourself making again and again.



  • 150g red lentils (rinsed under cold running water through a sieve)
  • Spinach, in loose terms, loads. Fresh or frozen works perfectly well, the more the better. Aim for at least 100g of fresh, or 4 of the frozen blocks
  • 2 shallots/onions
  • Olive oil/Rapeseed oil/coconut oil/calorie controlled spray
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or as many as you want, there really is no upper limit)
  • One green chilli (Seeds optional)
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cumin/Cumin seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Curry powder
  • 600-650 ml vegetable stock



  • Dice shallots/onion finely. Crush garlic cloves. Finely dice one green chilli, you can remove or choose to add the seeds
  • In your pot/pan gently heat 2 tablespoons of oil/spray, adding the diced shallots/onion to the pan
  • Keep on this low heat for 5 minutes, letting the shallots/onion cook gently. Add the garlic, and remain on this low heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Take the pan off the heat, and add your spices. Approx a heaped teaspoon of each, and one heaped tablespoon of curry powder
  • Return to a gentle heat, stirring the spices into the mix, and allowing the spices to warm up and begin to cook. Be careful not to let the spices burn, you just want to be able to really start smelling the spices as they cook
  • Add the rinsed lentils, stirring through the spice mix and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every so often
  • Add the vegetable stock gradually, making sure to stir all the ingredients together. The lentils will absorb some of the stock, puffing up in the process. Add 150mls or so of stock at a time, every couple of minutes
  • When about 3/4 of the stock is added, add the spinach. If using frozen spinach you may need to give it a quick blast in the microwave before adding it to the dish. Fresh spinach can be added as it is. The frozen spinach will release some water into the mix, this too will be absorbed by the lentils
  • Add the remainder of your vegetable stock and bring to a medium heat, letting the daal bubble gently. Be careful not to let it stick to the bottom once the heat has gone up, so keep stirring
  • The lentils should cook for 20-25 minutes at a simmer. If you need to add more water to this, that’s perfectly fine. Just add boiling water gradually, and stirring it through
  • Add another teaspoon of curry powder to the mix
  • It’s best to judge whether this is done by tasting to see if the lentils are still hard. Half an hour should be enough time for this dish to be ready to serve


Between the first and second image you can see I’ve added lots more spinach on the second attempt. It tastes great and is a really easy way to increase the nutritional goodness of this dish. Daal can go with pretty much anything, as I’ve paired it with chicken sausages and roast chicken in the pictures above, it can be a tasty side dish for a curry, or just as good by itself. This is a perfect recipe for batch cooking, just double the ingredients listed above for a generous 6 portions. Let it cool completely before keeping in the fridge for 2 days, or portion it out and keep in the freezer. Give it a go, you won’t regret it.

If you make this make sure to show me on instagram with #studentfoodbible

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