Dhal with fork on plate

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

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(411 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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Samantha Ali's picture
Samantha Ali
16th Mar, 2020
This was ok but I would not say great. I used frozen sweet potato and dried basil. The dal kind of mashed up and became mushy. I increased the recipe amounts. I also used 2 maggi chicken tomato buillion cubes as the seasoning. The ish tasted kind of plain, I should have added other ingredients like the other commenters. However, it was filling.
11th Mar, 2020
A great recipe and so quick to make! As usual, I took notice of others' advice and made a few 'tweaks.' Used 3 cloves of garlic. 2tsps of both turmeric and cumin and 1tsp Garam Masala. Definitely needed 800mls stock. Added lentils 5 mins after sweet potatoes so they didn't go mushy. Added halved cherry tomatoes towards end to add a little sweetness. Didn't have Thai basil but the spring onions were a great addition. Served with poppadoms, mango chutney and yogurt. No rice or naan breads are necessary.
6th Mar, 2020
So easy to cook and really delicious!! My meat loving partner loved it and so did my toddler. Will cook this again for sure. Only change I made was adding some paprika for my personal preference.
Molly Weller's picture
Molly Weller
25th Feb, 2020
Easy to make for a not so experienced cook and absolutely delicious!
13th Feb, 2020
Really easy to make and delicious. Perfect for dinner and can make enough to have lunches for the rest of the week for work. Will definitely be adding this to my go to recipes.
Giovanna Viscardi's picture
Giovanna Viscardi
2nd Feb, 2020
I made this for dinner tonight! I used yellow dried lentils that I soaked for a few hours but would have been better if I soaked overnight as they were still a little hard but still nice! The amount of vege stock was just right, I used fresh kale instead of spinach which added such a nice texture... I cooked the shallots instead as I didnt have an onion and I only used one large sweet potato as the dish was only for myself and leftovers! Will be making this again!!
mg2010's picture
29th Jan, 2020
Amazing! Delicious and kept me full. Inexpensive, healthy, hearty, and easy to make. What more could you want?
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.


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.


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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