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This vegan Instant Pot Dal with Red Lentils is an easy and delicious spiced red lentil dish. It can be served alone as a soup, or as a side dish along with rice.
Have you fallen in love with an Instant Pot yet?
I bought an Instant Pot this past summer, and have been remaking all of my favorite meals in it, trying to get a better idea of what this little machine is capable of.
And one thing seemed clear– an Instant Pot is wonderful with any type of curry or stew.
And one of my favorite “curry-type” meals is red lentil dal.
Red lentil dal– an Indian lentil dish— is a staple in my house.
It’s what I serve when I’m not sure what to serve.
I can make it without much thought, and this Instant Pot Dal is my new favorite way to prepare it.
No Instant Pot yet? Try making this version of Red Lentil Dal on the stove top!
Where Can I Buy Red Lentils?
Red lentils should be in your regular grocery store stocked right next to the green lentils.
Both types of lentils are probably in the dry bean aisle.
What Spices Do I Need?
This Instant Pot dal uses cayenne pepper and red chili flakes. Both spices should be at your regular grocery store.
It also uses garam masala.
Garam masala is relatively easy to find– I usually buy mine at Kroger or Whole Foods.
You can also buy garam masala online.
How to Make Instant Pot Dal
You’ll start by using your Instant Pot’s sauté feature.
Add oil to your Instant Pot. Press the sauté button.
Add a diced onion, along with salt and spices to the Instant Pot, and cook until the spices are fragrant.
Add some fire-roasted tomatoes, and cook a few more minutes.
Your kitchen will smell pretty amazing at this point.
Add the lentils and water, and bring the water to a simmer.
Make sure you let the liquid get really hot– it’ll take longer for your Instant Pot to come to pressure if the liquid is still cold.
Press cancel to turn off the sauté feature.
Close the Instant Pot, turn the valve to the sealing position, and press pressure cook (or manual). Set the timer to one minute.
Some model Instant Pots have a pressure cook button, and others have a manual button. They do exactly the same thing.
It will take about ten minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure, and then it’ll start counting down.
When the countdown finishes, your pot will beep and begin counting up.
Let the Instant Pot do a natural release for ten minutes. In other words, don’t touch the Instant Pot– let it do its thing for ten more minutes.
After ten minutes, carefully release any remaining pressure.
Want more Instant Pot ideas? Check out all of my Instant Pot recipes!
Lift the lid, stir the dal, and it’s ready to serve!
Dig into a bowl of dal, or let everything cool off and freeze it for another night!
Serve your Instant Pot dal with a side of Instant Pot basmati rice, or cook basmati rice in the microwave while the dal cooks in the Instant Pot.
Just bought your Instant Pot? Read this post from Imagelicious to find out 7 Things You Need to Know About Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Dal with Red Lentils
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes Use more or less for desired spice level.
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 15 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes Or use 2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup red lentils Rinse and check for pebbles
- 2 cups water
- To serve: basmati or jasmine rice (optional)
- Add olive oil to the Instant Pot. Press the sauté button. Leave the adjustable temperature setting at normal.
- When the oil begins to shimmer, add the diced onion, salt, garam masala, red pepper flakes, and cayenne. Use a long-handled wooden spoon or spatula to stir, and continue cooking until the onions have softened and the spices are fragrant.
- Add the diced garlic, stir, and continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer.
- Add the lentils and water, and bring back to a simmer.
- Press the cancel button on your Instant Pot (to turn off the sauté function).
- Seal the Instant Pot lid, and turn the steam valve to the sealing position.
- Set Instant Pot to pressure cook/manual, high pressure. Set the cook time for 1 minute.
- The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure, and then will start counting down the cook time.The Instant Pot will beep to let you know the cook time has finished. After the cook time is finished, the machine will begin the natural release process, and the countdown timer will start counting up. Allow the Instant Pot to do a natural release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully quick release the remaining pressure by using the handle of a long spoon (I use a wooden spoon) to turn the steam valve to venting.Tip: Quick release can be messy– the vent will let loose some liquids with the steam. Lay a kitchen towel over the top to keep your kitchen clean.
- Wait for the steam to escape and the pin to drop down. Then, carefully remove the lid. Stir dal.
- Serve Immediately:Serve dal warm, alone or with rice.Leftovers:Store leftovers in the fridge, and use within 3-4 days.Make Ahead and Freeze:Let lentils cool to room temperature, and freeze for up to 6 months
I adore my Instant Pot, and I adore Indian pulse recipes, and yet I’ve made shockingly few of them. You’ve got me rethinking that gap in my culinary repertoire. I’m looking forward to playing around with this, including making it with different lentils and maybe urad dal. I’ve got a cupboard full of pulses looking to be used up!
I can already tell this is going to become my easy go to weeknight dinner! Love all the flavors in it and how easy it is!
This is perfect for fall! Which I’m *totally* excited for, already. This dish is so cozy and hearty, but healthy. Which is such a nice change when it comes to comfort food. I’ll be dipping tons of naan and pita in this once the cooler weather arrives!
I’ve never made my own dal, but I love the look of this recipe! My Instant Pot will definitely come in handy this year because this looks like the perfect welcome to fall dish. I can’t wait to scoop this up with some hot naan.
Big fan. Don’t be afraid to get a little loose with the red pepper flakes and Cayenne.
Great tip 🙌 And thanks for letting us know how much you enjoyed it!
-Alisha at Champagne Tastes