Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal on a plate with a fork

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

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(279 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 35 mins


Serves 4

A comforting vegan one-pot recipe that counts for 3 of your 5-a-day! You can't go wrong with this iron-rich, low-fat, low-calorie supper

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal397
  • fat5g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs65g
  • sugars19g
  • fibre11g
  • protein18g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped



    Part of the capsicum family, chillies come in scores of varieties and colours (from green…

  • 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 400g/14oz), cut into even chunks
    Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potato

    sweet po-tate-toe

    Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet-spicy flavour that makes them ideal for savoury…

  • 250g red split lentils
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 80g bag of spinach



    Used in almost every cuisine across the world, spinach is an enormously popular green vegetable…

  • 4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal, to serve
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

  • ½ small pack of Thai basil, leaves torn, to serve



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…


  1. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a wide-based pan with a tight-fitting lid.

  2. Add 1 finely chopped red onion and cook over a low heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened.

  3. Add 1 crushed garlic clove, a finely chopped thumb-sized piece of ginger and 1 finely chopped red chilli, cook for 1 min, then add 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric and 1 ½ tsp ground cumin and cook for 1 min more.

  4. Turn up the heat to medium, add 2 sweet potatoes, cut into even chunks, and stir everything together so the potato is coated in the spice mixture.

  5. Tip in 250g red split lentils, 600ml vegetable stock and some seasoning. 

  6. Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook for 20 mins until the lentils are tender and the potato is just holding its shape.

  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then gently stir in the 80g spinach. Once wilted, top with the 4 diagonally sliced spring onions and ½ small pack torn basil leaves to serve.

  8. Alternatively, allow to cool completely, then divide between airtight containers and store in the fridge for a healthy lunchbox.

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Comments, questions and tips

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29th May, 2019
This is a very easy recipe and very tasty. I made it as a side dish to go with a veg curry and just omitted the sweet potato. Needed some extra liquid as others have said, and added 1 tsp of garam masala.
Emily McCarthy's picture
Emily McCarthy
23rd May, 2019
This is such a lovely meal!! I've made it a few times now and its super delicious and comforting. I like to use a combination of sweet potato and butternut squash, definitely need alot more water i use approximately 1L, little bit extra on the spices and including garam masala is one of the best tips I've read on here! Its such a lovely, warming, spiced dish i cant get enough of it! I use extra spinach and normally serve mine with mango chutney and a dollop of coconut yoghurt. The family love it too and they like to add naan bread or rice but i tend to keep mine a bit lighter. I make this quite often and use it up for dinners/lunches or freeze it. Love this dish it is absolutely delicious!
Marisa Tan's picture
Marisa Tan
29th Apr, 2019
I just made this dish tonight. We loved it! My 7 year old ate it all. Her only feedback was that the ginger was too "spicy", so I would probably use less next time. I'm really just learning how to cook at 40 and these dishes on this site are really easy and very delicious. Thank you!
24th Apr, 2019
Lovely dish! Made a few of the recommended changes my first time doing this: added more stock (700ml instead of 600), more garlic/chilli/ginger/spices. A 160ml can of coconut cream and had cherry tomatoes to use up so added them. And I used 3 potatoes (about 600g). Served with bread/naan. To say this serves 4 though is off I’d say. With a third more potato, I say it’s only 3 portions.
DazzledDesire's picture
21st Apr, 2019
Absolutely love this recipe!! My first time making a dhal, can't wait to make the next one. It does need more stock though, it gets really dry with just 600ml.
10th Apr, 2019
Very nice. Added in garem masala and served with mango chutney and it tasted delicious.
11th Mar, 2019
Very tasty dish and so easy to make. Agree with others that it's worth increasing the amounts of spices used and I added a small carton of coconut cream.
morriliz's picture
18th Feb, 2019
Wow!! So tasty, made recipe as stated but added a splash of coconut milk and upped the spice as I like it hot. Massively surpassed my expectations and the Thai basil was an unexpected winner
Karl Roberts's picture
Karl Roberts
13th Feb, 2019
Absolutely loved it. Definitely cooking it again!
10th Jan, 2019
Lovely easy recipe, although I did increase the garlic to three cloves and added another chilli as suggested in other comments. I needed a litre of stock rather than the 600ml indicated as it was getting a bit dry after 12min. I'm just hoping it will freeze well as it makes loads :)


3rd Jan, 2019
Would you eat this with rice or by on it's own?
goodfoodteam's picture
6th Jan, 2019
Thanks for your question. This dish is great on its own but rice complements it really well too.
Dee K's picture
Dee K
18th Dec, 2018
Hi, would adding chicken to this recipe suit the dish?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Dec, 2018
Thanks for your question. We don't think this dish needs it but if you're keen to add chicken, you could stir through cooked chicken a few mins before the end.
Abitha Pallett's picture
Abitha Pallett
10th Sep, 2018
How long will this keep in the freezer?
goodfoodteam's picture
11th Sep, 2018
Thanks for your question. This will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
5th Sep, 2018
Could I use frozen spinach?
goodfoodteam's picture
6th Sep, 2018
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can. Enjoy!
Jean D
6th Jan, 2018
I’m very new to trying a vegan diet. Am I right in thinking this recipe is vegan? It only says vegetarian. Thank you.
goodfoodteam's picture
8th Jan, 2018
Thanks for your question. Yes, it is vegan too. Enjoy!


Hannah Cassidy
18th Feb, 2019
Really tasty. I added a can of coconut milk too (I think it's necessary as kinda bland without! Def recommend this) and a generous teaspoon of garam masala. Freezes really well as it makes about 8+ portions.
27th Jul, 2016
Love this, but think it works best with 2 or 3 times the amount of liquid. It's nice dry but amazing with a sauce. If I can't get basil, I use star anise and add it at the spices stage.
25th Feb, 2017
You can add a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of coconut milk! yum.
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