Red Lentil Dahl with Seasonal Vegetables

– By Billabong Chef, Susan Thomson


Dahl is the perfect nourishing meal any time of year. In summer, serve alongside raw and lightly cooked vegetables, while in winter it pairs perfectly with garlicky braised greens and roast pumpkin. I love adding a small serving of pickled or fermented seasonal vegetables to add texture and flavour. There are numerous benefits for adding more culinary spices in your everyday diet, including supporting gut and microbiome health, blood sugar balance and reducing inflammation. 


By cooking the lentils separately it prevents them overcooking, while spending time developing the flavour of the stew component. Served here with brown rice, grilled asparagus, carrot salad, lime pickled red onions, coriander chutney and greek yoghurt.


Serves 4.



  • 1  cup dried red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes (or adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes



  1. Wash the lentils well until the water runs clear, then strain in a colander. Add to a medium saucepan with 2 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, until tender (but still retaining a little structure, not mushy).
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in another saucepan on medium heat. Add the cloves, mustard seeds and fennel seeds. Cook for about 1 minute, until they become aromatic and mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes until slightly golden.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further couple of minutes, then add the remaining spices, salt and pepper. Add the canned tomatoes. Return to a simmer and cook, covered for a further 8-10 minutes, to create a rich stew.
  4. Using a slotted spoon add the lentils, straining the water on the side of the pot as you go. Add some of the cooking water, a little at a time to achieve desired consistency. Cover the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes. Taste and add a little more salt, pepper or chilli, if needed. Adjust the consistency with the lentil cooking water if it has thickened too much while cooking. Enjoy!