Indian Spiced Lentils

6 Servings

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes

Diet Style


Tools You'll Need

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Whisk
  • High-sided pan or large saucepan
  • Small skillet


  • 1 cup red lentils, picked through for stones
  • Handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 serrano chili, sliced in half (seeds removed and diced, optional*)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ inch thick piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, low sodium
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Rinse lentils

    Place the lentils in a strainer and rinse them under cold running water.

  2. Soak lentils

    Place lentils into a bowl, cover with water, and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  3. Combine ingredients in skillet

    Using either a large, high-sided pan or a large saucepan, combine the 2 cups of water, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato sauce, chili, and the lentils over medium-high heat.

  4. Bring to a boil

    Bring to a boil, skimming off any white foam that comes to the surface.

  5. Simmer ingredients

    Lower the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook until the lentils are tender (roughly 30–40 minutes).

  6. Combine remaining seasonings

    In a small bowl, combine the cumin, mustard powder, turmeric, and paprika.

  7. Preheat skillet

    Place a small skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.

  8. Sauté spices in oil

    Once the oil is hot, stir spices in using a rubber spatula. Gently mix until the spices become fragrant and have absorbed the oil (about 1 minute).

  9. Combine both mixtures

    Pour the spice and oil mixture into the lentils, and whisk to combine.

  10. Salt

    Add salt to taste.

  11. Garnish and serve

    Transfer the lentils to a serving dish and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy immediately!