Soulful, comforting Sweet Potato & Lentil Dal topped with a flavorful “tempering oil”. A quick 30-minute vegan meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices.

Sweet Potato Dal-a comforting Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful "tempering oil". A 30 minute vegetarian meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegan adaptable! #lentils #dal #lentildal #sweetpotatodal #sweetpotatoes #vegan #glutenfreeNo matter how successful we have been in the outer world, judged by standards external to us, if we are not living in accord with the intent of our soul, depression is likely to follow. ~James Hollis~


Sweet Potato Lentil Dal is humble comfort food for the soul. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, it’s a very simple but deeply satisfying meal, that awakens your taste buds while nourishing your whole body down to the core.

A lentil stew of sorts, it is finished with an optional, but delicious, “tempering oil,” which is basically whole spices like mustard seedsfennel seeds,and cumin seeds briefly seared in coconut oil (or ghee), releasing an incredible aroma into the house, before it is drizzled over the dal for an extra burst of flavor.

For added texture, sprinkle with coconut flakes. Serve this with fluffy basmati rice or toasty naan bread, for a fast 30 minute, economical, soul-satisfying meal. To me, this is pure comfort food.

Lentil Sweet Potato Dal | 60-second Video 

The wonderful thing is this can be personalized to your taste. Today I added a stray sweet potato, but try adding roasted cauliflower, roasted butternut, peas, carrots, bell pepper, spinach, kale, or any other vegetable that needs to be eaten. You can also add cooked chicken if so inclined, although it is traditionally vegetarian. The ghee (clarified butter) is of course optional, but I have to say it is so yummy! It can be found at Trader Joe’s and upscale markets like Whole Foods.

What is Dal?

Dal, if unfamiliar, is both a dish and an ingredient. A flavorful vegetarian stew commonly found all over India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh- it is comforting, hearty and a good source of protein.

The word “dal” also refers to a dried pulse that has been “split” –  most commonly you see this with lentils, peas, chickpeas and some legumes.

What makes Dal special are the warming spices. Traditionally dal is served over basmati rice, or scooped up with roti (a tortilla-like bread)  or mopped up with chapati or naan bread. It’s delicious over other whole grains too – like quinoa, farro or buckwheat.

Soulful, Comforting Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful "tempering oil". A quick 30 minute meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegetarian | #lentils #dal #lentildal #sweetpotatoes #vegan #glutenfree

Here I used red split lentils called Masoor Dal, which have been in my pantry for… I don’t even want to tell you how long!

I guess the good thing is they really don’t go bad, or so I like to tell myself. 😉


Soak the dal in 3 cups boiling water while you prep the remaining ingredients.

soak the split lentils in boiling water.

The addition of whole spices cooked in ghee ( or coconut oil) gives the dal its delicious flavor!

saute the whole seeds

Saute the onion, garlic, ginger and chilies.

Add the spices and tomatoes.

saute the onions garlic ginger and add the tomatoes

Add the lentils and the hot water.

add the lentils

At this point you could also add the sweet potatoes, or for even better texture, roast them!

I prefer to roast these, but cooking them directly in the dal is an option – especially if short on time.

And the last step is to make the flavorful tempering oil, which you will spoon over the dal.

make the tempering oil.

Trust me when I say, this brings dal to another level! Don’t skip this step!

Sweet Potato Dal-a comforting Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful "tempering oil". A 30 minute vegetarian meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegan adaptable! #lentils #dal #lentildal #sweetpotatodal #sweetpotatoes #vegan #glutenfree

More Indian recipes you may like: 

Sweet Potato Dal-a comforting Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful "tempering oil". A 30 minute vegetarian meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegan adaptable! #lentils #dal #lentildal #sweetpotatodal #sweetpotatoes #vegan #glutenfree

The leftover dal makes for a nutritious and filling lunch and can be microwaved and scooped into naan or served over basmati Rice.

I hope you like it!


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Sweet Potato Dal-a comforting Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful "tempering oil". A 30 minute vegetarian meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegan adaptable! #lentils #dal #lentildal #sweetpotatodal #sweetpotatoes #vegan #glutenfree

Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes

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Soulful, Comforting Red Lentil Dal with Sweet Potatoes and a flavorful “tempering oil”. A quick 30 minute meal that is simple to make and full of fragrant Indian spices. Vegan! See notes about roasting the sweet potato vs. cooking it with the dal.


Units Scale
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 cup red lentils (split lentils)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon grated (or minced) fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or substitute ground cumin)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 13 fresh chilies- serrano chili pepper, (or jalapeño) slit down the side vertically (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala Spice
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves ( optional, but tasty)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (or one 14-ounce can diced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium sweet potato or yam, diced into 3/4 inch cubes, skins OK (other veggies include cauliflower, green peas, spinach, kale, carrots, etc) SEE NOTES.
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves or chopped scallions for garnish
  • Toasted Flaked coconut- optional

Tempering oil – highly recommended!!!


  1. Rinse lentils and soak in 3 cups hot water in a bowl.
  2. In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat ghee over medium heat.
  3. Add whole seeds- cumin, fennel mustard seeds and saute until they begin to sizzle.
  4. Add onion, saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring, then add ginger and garlic, and saute until tender and golden, about 5 minutes.  Add fenugreek, bay leaves, garam masala, fresh chilies, tomatoes and salt. Saute 3-4 minutes until they start breaking down.  Add the sweet potatoes (***if roasting, add these at the end, see notes) lentils and hot water, along with honey.
  5. Give a stir, bring to boil, cover, and turn heat down, and let gently simmer, about 10-15 minutes, or until lentils are tender. After 15 minutes, uncover and check consistency, If watery, continue to simmer uncovered until it reduces and becomes thicker.
  6. Adjust salt, adding more to your taste, keeping in mind you want this to be slightly salty if serving over rice.
  7. Make the tempering oil to drizzle over top:  heat oil or ghee over medium-high heat, add seeds and curry leaves and swirl or stir until you hear popping about 30- 45 seconds. Turn heat off. Spoon it over the dal, after plating it up.
  8. Serve with toasted naan bread, or basmati rice, garnishing with cilantro and flaked coconut.


  1.  I really like ROASTING the sweet potato – which gives this a better texture in my opinion. But to save time here, I added the sweet potato directly with the lentils to cook. Up to you! If roasting, do this first- toss the cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast on a parchment-lined sheet pan at 400F until tender, about 20 minutes, while you cook the dal on the stovetop. Spoon it in after the dal is cooked.
  2. To add more richness, without adding ghee, you could also add a little coconut milk.


  • Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
  • Calories: 355
  • Sugar: 5.1 g
  • Sodium: 470 mg
  • Fat: 14.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45.7 g
  • Fiber: 8.2 g
  • Protein: 13.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg



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  1. This is so good. We e made it twice now and there’s more than enough for two nights of dinners for my husband and I. We love that it’s full of nutrients and still super filling. We added peas, but are definitely looking forward to trying some other veggies, as well.

  2. This was divine! I threw in a whole jalapeño and a serrano and made it perfectly hot. I also threw in a red bell pepper, diced, and a couple of handfuls of spinach. My roasted sweet potato was sweet and worked perfectly with all that spice. And I loved the tempered oil added at the end. What a great addition to the dish. Served it over plain basmati rice. Thank you for a delicious recipe.

  3. Love this recipe and have made it a number of times. I used split yellow mung dal which is sturdier than the red lentils and I think works better. Amazingly delicious. Rave reviews from the hub. Just replenished ingredients to make again. Thanks for the awesome library of amazing recipes Sylvia

  4. This is so yummy! I have wishing I could make dal like this for years. This quickly became the favorite thing I have made for my friends and family. I used honey, definitely not too sweet for me. I used one dried red chili instead of the fresh peppers, gave it a good but not overpowering spice. I’ll try to find the fresh peppers for next time. Going to make this many more times!

  5. This recipe is amazing! I have made it 3 times so far – my whole family loves it. A great way to use up random veggies that are sitting around. It is super quick and easy too!

  6. It was good but didn’t pack the flavor of Indian dishes I am use to. I think the sweet potato threw the whole thing off for me especially with the maple syrup. It was way too sweet for me personally especially combined with this set of spices.

  7. If you have a peanut allergy do not use fenugreek. It’s in the peanut family. Otherwise this is a tasty recipe.

  8. This dish is easy to make and delicious!! It has become a family favorite. Good idea to make extra. It’s even better the second day.

  9. Such a great dish! Absolutely dahliscious. So quick and easy to make with ability to use whole spices and just some chopping. The tempered oil gives it a real restaurant quality.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Ren- I don’t see why not? I haven’t tried canned lentils, but I think it would be fine!

  10. Absolutely phenomenal recipe! I can’t recommend the tempering oil highly enough, oh my goodness it is divine! I will definitely be making this recipe a staple in my weeknight dinner rotation.

    I did made a few small alterations and everything turned out perfect for my personal taste:
    -I used vegetable broth instead of water and ended up adding about and extra half cup
    -I started the sweet potatoes in the water-tomato mixture over medium heat about about 10-15 minutes before adding the lentils, this allowed them to get to the perfect tender texture
    -I added about 2-3 tsp of lime juice and 1 tsp of turmeric

    For the Garam Masala recipe included:
    -I didn’t have cardamom
    -I used about half the cloves in the recipe as I always find them so incredibly overpowering for my taste

  11. Currently making this recipe and it smells great. One comment on how the recipe is written tho – I had roasted sweet potatoes that I would have loved to use but I didn’t know when to add them. Would this be after the boil or after it cooks for 15 minutes with the lid on?

  12. This is such a delicious dish that I was just completely blown away. I’d never made a tempering oil before, and your reccomendation to make it was spot on…it really just takes this dish to the next level.
    Funnily enough, I accidentally bought Japanese sweet potatoes instead of American Sweet potatoes, and I had never had Japanese sweet potatoes before. They are delicious, and were such a tasty compliment to the dish!! I bet that they would have gotten even softer and started to break down into the lentils (like the sweet potatoes did in your photo) if I had cooked the dish a little bit longer or roasted them first. I plan on making this dish again tonight, and I can’t wait.


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