Instantpot Dal Palak – Vegan Spinach Lentil Curry

Dal Palak / Spinach Lentil Curry is healthy, wholesome Indian dinner curry packed with plant protein and fiber. Pair it with steamed rice for a delicious, nutritious and comforting meal. You can make this recipe in under 30 minutes.

This vegetable dal recipe is super easy to make. All you need is basic pantry staples and fresh or frozen spinach to make this delicious curry. This recipe is perfect for busy weekly meals. It also does not need much pre-planning.

This Dal Palak recipe is vegan, gluten-free, nut free and soy free. You will love that using only basic ingredients and spices that are already in your pantry, turns into a comforting healthy meal.

Dal Palak with a spoon in a white bowl

Dal (dahl) is a basic staple across all Indian subcontinent. Dal is a generic term used to describe all dry legumes/lentils, beans and even peas.

For vegetarians, it provides an extremely good source of plant based protein and complex carbohydrates, it is my go to choice for making healthy one pot complete meals.

Spinach , widely regarded as Super food, is very nutritional dense addition to any meal. It is high in vitamins including folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C. It also provides important minerals including iron, potassium, manganese, zinc, magnesium and even some plant calcium to the body.

Spinach is also rich in pigments like beta-carotene, lutein, xanthene, and chlorophyll. Similar to other green leafy vegetables, spinach has very low-fat content. It also helps boosts metabolism.

With increasing screen time for all of us including our precious kids, maintaining and improving eyesight is a major concern. Spinach with it’s well regarded benefits helps with that naturally. So, we try adding in spinach in most meals possible.

I prefer to cook spinach along with most beans and lentils or even grains like rice and quinoa to get all the extra benefits while making a naturally healthy meal.

Spinach Lentil Curry with onions, lime wedges and rice

Can I Use Dal Palak / Spinach Dal as A Meal Prep?

You absolutely can. You also can easily double or triple the recipe. Cooking time will remain the same. It freezes well and makes excellent choice for wholesome and delicious lunch.

I often pack it with Basmati rice, some cool cucumber slices and Flax Seed Chutney. This budget friendly recipe provides nutritious and comforting lunch at a fraction of cost. All without much of hands on cooking. A win win for sure.

Spinach Lentil Curry with Rice in a lunch box container

How To Make Dal Palak / Spinach Lentil Curry?

To make this Dal Palak / Spinach Lentil Curry, you can use InstantPot or Stovetop cooking method. If using Instantpot, you can do tampering of the oil, sauté the washed dal and cook it with spices.

Traditionally, dal is cooked separately and then spices and oil tampering is added later. However, doing it one go saves times, and makes it a one pot wonder meal. Less dishes to clean and less time monitoring the cooking too.

Dal Palak with Rice and turmeric in serving bowl

What are Ingredients of InstantPot Dal Palak?

Dal – As the name suggests, the dal and the spinach are the star ingredients of this recipe. I use 1/2 cup each of Moong dal and Toor dal ( called Arhar Dal in Hindi) . You rinse and wash these lentils and drain the water. No pre-soaking is required.

Spinach – I also use a cup of chopped spinach. You can use fresh or frozen. I often have Trader Joe’s Organic Frozen Spinach bags stocked up in my freezer. I use them for almost all my recipes that require spinach.

Garlic and cilantro – We add garlic cloves for additional flavors and cilantro for garnish.

I like to keep this dal simple. So very few spices are used. We tamper the oil with mustard and cumin seeds and add curry leaves for extra flavors. The red chili powder and turmeric powder and garam masala round up the spices.

Curry leaves add a distinctive earthy flavor to the daal. It is widely available in most Indian grocery stores. However, if you can’t find it easily, you can easily skip it and won’t sacrifice much of the taste. You can always add a bay leaf for additional flavors.

Spices used in making Spinach lentil curry.

How to Make Dal Palak and Rice together in InstantPot?

While you are preparing the daal, In the same pot, you can make up to 2 cups of rice using PIP –“Pot In Pot” method.

Make the mixture of the dal as described above in the main insert. Put a tall trivet in the middle of the mixture. Use a stackable container.

Add rinsed rice grains, add 1:2 ratio of water for rice to cook. Since the dal and rice cooks at the same time. You get one complete, healthy, nutritious meal in one pot.

Cooked spinach and lentils in Instantpot

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Dal Palak with Rice and turmeric in serving bowl

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Instantpot Dal Palak - Vegan Spinach Lentil Curry

Dal Palak with Rice and turmeric in serving bowl

Dal Palak or Spinach Lentil Curry Is delicious and comforting Indian staple recipe. This nutritional main dish is packed with plant protine and fiber. Wholesome, healthy dish is vegan and glutenfree. It easily can be made in the Electrical Pressure Cooker.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

InstantPot Directions:

Turn InstantPot on SAUTE. Add oil, once heated, add cumin and mustard seeds. Once they crakle,  add curry leaves and minced garlic and cook for 15 seconds.

Add spinach , turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add both the lentils (dals) and 2.5 cups of water. Mix well. Close the lid. Cancel Sauté. Change it to Manual 6 minutes High Pressure.

Once InstantPot does cooking, let pressure release naturally. NPR

Adjust consistency of lentils by adding more water if needed . Adjust seasoning and salt if needed. Garnish it with chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot.

In the same pot, you can make up to 2 cups of rice using PIP -Pot In Pot method. Since the daal and rice cooks at the time . So you have one wholesome, healthy, nutritious meal in one pot.

Stove Top Instructions

On a medium heat, add oil in a Soup pot or Dutch oven. Once oil feels hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. Once they splutter in a minute or so, add minced garlic and curry leaves. The oil will sizzle some.

Add all other ingredients except spinach and cilantro and mix well. Cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Check frequently to make sure there is enough water for it to cook. The dal should be smooth and tender. Add spinach and cilantro and let it cook further for 5 minutes. Mix well with ladle and serve hot.

Notes

For WFPB Oil Free Cooking - Simply skip the oil tampering part. You can use 2 tablesppons of warm water and follow rest of the instructions.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 138Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 480mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

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