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

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

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(358 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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5th Jan, 2020
So tasty and easy to make. A really satisfying meal. I will be coming back to this a lot, when I want a break from cooking with meat (As suggested, I added 2 tsp of the spices, including garam masala and added a little more stock.)
10th Nov, 2019
I needed to make a vegan meal and came across this recipe. Very easy to make and super tasty. I followed the advice and added extra water, 800ml in total and added garam masala. Careful you don't overcook as it will go to mush, 20 minutes was just right for me. Didn't add the basil and served with chapatis and mango chutney.
3rd Nov, 2019
This is an easy dish to prepare and is very tasty. I followed the recipe exactly, but just needed to add extra stock. Will be having this delicious meal on a regular basis.
18th Oct, 2019
A favourite with all the family. I add 2 tsp of spices and 2 tsp garam masala. I add the lentils 5 mins after potatoes as I find they go too mushy if you add at same time. Frozen spinach and ginger save time (and money) and work well in this recipe.
14th Oct, 2019
Absolutely delish recipe! I went veggie a couple of weeks ago and with the weather getting colder this was a lovely hearty dish. I did also have to add water so about 750ml in total and I forgot the spinach but was still good without it. Next time will defo add more of the spices/chilli and try not to forget the spinach.
Belinda Cairns's picture
Belinda Cairns
13th Sep, 2019
Loved this, i did need to add more water and it took a little longer than 20 minutes but the flavours were perfect, no coconut needed and definitely would not put on thai basil, just a dash of greek natural yoghurt
2nd Sep, 2019
Don't listen to the comments tweaking the recipe with coconut milk; It's delicious without it so save yourself the calories. Defo needs extra stock ,and garam masala is a great addition. Also, thai basil? Don't bother.
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 Oct, 2019
Could I replace the red lentils with green lentils?
goodfoodteam's picture
26th Oct, 2019
Thanks for your question. Green lentils generally take longer to cook and have a firmer consistency. The longer cooking time would result in the sweet potatoes becoming overcooked so you'd need to add them later so that they were only cooking for around 20 mins. The red lentils will also give a more attractive appearance in this dish.
Mandy Williams's picture
Mandy Williams
1st Sep, 2019
Can I make this a day ahead or will it go dry?
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can make this a day ahead and reheat. Either reheat in the microwave (ideal) or gently on the hob. If necessary, add a splash of water to loosen. We'd suggest adding the basil and spring onions before serving.
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.


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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