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

Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

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(356 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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Rob Potter
30th Jul, 2017
Really really nice! I used 4 garlic gloves, and more like a tablespoon of the spices plus garam masala and it's worked great. Didn't have any Thai basil so used coriander and spring onion to finish. Lovely
4th Jul, 2017
Very nice indeed. Lovely flavour and healthy too. I stirred in a bit of mango chutney and Warm naan bread. cracking!
25th Jun, 2017
Very tasty. Needed to add a bit of extra water, also added chilli powder as very mild
7th Jun, 2017
I made this recently and it was delicious. I highly recommend par-boiling the sweet potatoes before you pop them in with the lentils though, as it took me ages for the dish to cook without doing this. I had to actually take the chunks of sweet potato out of the pan and boil them separately to the dahl. Apart from this, the recipe is really easy to follow & is great - all my family tried it & were hooked.
Katie Fitzsimons
2nd Jan, 2018
I found adding a little extra water halfway through cooking meant there was enough liquid to cook the potatoes (if cut into small cubes).
pontifex maximus's picture
pontifex maximus
9th Jun, 2017
Thank you for sharing this great recipe! I added garam masala too. I served it with sour cream, sorry vegans, to make it a complete meal. Added this to my "saved recipes". Awesome!
16th May, 2017
Just cooked this for the first time, and whilst it took a lot longer, as we're beginners, the final result was amazingly tasty, and so so healthy!
15th May, 2017
This is a really tasty dish, i added quite a bit extra stock (950ml) as comments suggested and doubled the spinach and garlic. The consistency was lovely, served with naan bread and yoghurt. I left out the basil leaves but the dish is still full of flavour.
14th May, 2017
Awesome! I used waaaaaay more spinach (like 300g worth), threw in some chickpeas (for some reason I have about a million tins of chickpeas in my cupboard, so any excuse to use them up) and frozen green beans (towards the end of cooking so they don't fall apart!), and added some garam masalla to the spices. Keep the seeds in the chilli and be liberal with the spices (but keep an eye on the salt)! I don't actually think the spring onions and thai basil are needed in order for this to work. I had to use chicken stock, too, which if you're a veggie is obviously a no-go, but I found it added a slightly more robust flavour. I love this. It's healthy as anything and cheap cheap cheap! And I can make a tonne if it for lunch to take to work. Bloody ace recipe!
5th May, 2017
Delicious easy recipe. Make double as freezers well and also keeps well in fridge for a couple of days, in fact it just tastes even better. I add more garlic and spinach. Nice topped with cucumber raita and some mango chutney. Eldest even takes ro school as he can use a microwave there


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