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A healthy recipe for Lentil Dal with Spinach, sometime called Saag Dal, this is bursting with authentic Indian flavors!

Spinach Lentil Dal

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4
  • Category: vegetarian, main, legumes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Spinach Lentil Dal- an Indian lentil recipe with a flavorful spinach sauce that is full of flavor and nutrients and that can be made in 30 minutes. Serve with Basmati Rice, and naan bread!


  • 23 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno, finely chopped (or serrano)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 lb BABY spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 10 mint leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons water (if using fresh spinach)
  • —–
  • 3/4 cup water
  • —–
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 34 cups cooked black lentils (or aka caviar lentils, beluga lentils or French green lentils)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. If cooking black lentils and basmati rice, start them first (see notes)
  2. Make the Spinach Sauce: Sautee the onion in ghee, in a large pan, over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic, ginger and chilies. Saute until fragrant and golden. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and garam masala and stir two minutes. Lower heat to low. Add the fresh spinach, mint and water. Cover pan, 2-3 minutes, letting spinach wilt. Give a few stirs.
  3. Blend Spinach Sauce: Place the wiled spinach mixture in a blender and add the 3/4 water. Pulse and few times (hold lid down tight). If you want a smooth sauce, blend until smooth. I left a little texture here.  Pour it back into the pan, set on low heat.
  4. Combine: Mix in the yogurt, lentils and salt. Adjust salt to your liking, adding more if necessary! You want this slightly salty because you are serving over rice which will mellow it out a lot. For more heat add a pinch of cayenne or chili flakes.
  5. Serve with the basmati rice and naan bread!



SPINACH: If using fresh spinach, be sure to use baby spinach, as mature spinach and their stems can be bitter.

Cook black lentils according to package or try the pasta cooking method: simply boil 1 1/4 cups dry lentils in 6 cups of salted water until just tender, strain. Size of lentil will determine cooking time. Little black lentils take 20-30 minutes.

Feel free to sub other whole lentils for the black lentils. Feel free to sub other greens for the spinach.

Cook Basmati Rice the same way!

Yes, you can sub oil or butter for the ghee– but in my opinion, the ghee really elevates and adds so much flavor.


Keywords: lentil dal, black lentil dal, Indian dal recipe, dal with spinach, saag dal, saag dal recipe, spinach dal, lentil dahl