Dhal with fork on plate

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

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(481 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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Gail Currie's picture
Gail Currie
4th Jul, 2020
Stunning. Did exactly to the recipe. Incredibly tasty. Will make again and again. I cook with lentils quite a lot, don’t over stir or overcook. Really easy to make too.
29th Jun, 2020
Excellent recipe. Added cauliflower, broccoli, kale and lime leaves. Wow, a great combination. Anything left (if we’re lucky) gets puréed into a soup and freezes very well.
Alva 1's picture
Alva 1
12th Jun, 2020
Delicious recipe, doubled the amount of stock given in the ingredients
6th Jun, 2020
had to add a bit more water but honestly so tasty
Alex C's picture
Alex C
3rd Jun, 2020
The lentils were overcooked so next time I will add them after the potatoes, but it was still a fantastic dish. The raw spring onions add just the right amount of kick to the meal (I used 6). I loved this meal and I will definitely be having it again.
29th May, 2020
Delicious and easy to make. Like many others added extra stock and spices. Should have also added the lentils after the potatoes as they were a little over cooked. Served with basmati rice.
28th May, 2020
We loved this I added a few mushrooms and a tsp of garam masala also an extra clove of garlic. I didn't have and Thai basil so used a small amount of Tarragon instead. Needs 800mls of stock and like others suggested I popped the potatoes in with the stock for about5-8 mins before the lentils. I am sooooo full!
7th May, 2020
This was my first time cooking a dhal and I am incredibly impressed by this recipe. The flavour is beautiful and it really isn't difficult to prepare and cook at all. I used vegetable stock which was entirely broccoli based from a broccoli soup I'd made earlier on in the day. Also, I don't know about anyone else but, don't peel the sweet potato skin away! It's delicious and really good for you. I didn't have any problems with the recipe and looking at the video I seem to have gotten the right consistency first time, probably a stroke of luck :D
6th May, 2020
Surprisingly delicious...thought it might be a bit 'worthy' but was really lovely. Will make again.
Fin Tate's picture
Fin Tate
1st May, 2020
Delicious and easy to make


11th May, 2020
Should I peel the potato or not? Thanks.
lulu_grimes's picture
13th May, 2020
Hi, You can peel them if you like, I prefer too. If you don't want to waste the potato peelings you can make them into crisps, make sure they are very clean. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/5-ways-vegetable-crisps Lulu
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.


8th Apr, 2020
My partner and I pretty much live on this for our lunches. Kale works well instead of spinach, if you like a bit more crunch
Kieran Spivey's picture
Kieran Spivey
25th Feb, 2020
Forget coconut milk add half a block of creamed coconut to elevate this dish to perfection! Also, yes. More stock is required usually between 800 ml and 1L will suffice
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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