The Ultimate Lentil Recipe

Red lentils help stabilise your blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and are a high source of protein. Here's how Sharmadean Reid cooks a tarka dhal.

By Sharmadean Reid

11 March 2023

A decade ago, I watched a documentary on how to live longer and the one surprising food that stood out to me for longevity was red lentils. Prior to learning about it's low GI Index, high protein and other health benefits, I had never even thought about lentils. And now? They're my go to recipe for a gut reset.

My lentil recipe is randomised and easy. It takes no time at all and should be tweaked to your tastes. I tend to make a big batch and freeze it. Let me know how yours goes.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes (But I don’t prep my ingredients, I just cut and throw in while cooking…) Cooking Time: 30 Mins

• Take a heavy big pot, like a Le Creuset or Staub and put a large tablespoon of coconut oil in on a medium heat. Throw in a one chopped red onion, and two cloves of minced garlic.

• Fry the spices to release the flavour. This is the “Tarka” part of Tarka Dhal and it’s usually added at the end, but I start with it. Sprinkle some cumin seeds, cinnamon and mild chilli in the oil and fry on high heat stirring into the onion and garlic.

• Add one cup of red lentils to the pot and cover with three cups of water. I don’t soak my lentils beforehand but you should to reduce bloating in your belly.

• Add a dusting of your favourite curry power and stir the whole thing so that all the lentils are coated in the spices.

• Grate a large knob of ginger into the pan. This is the killer ingredient for this recipe. The ginger is the difference between nice lentils and great lentils. Add a little more salt than you feel comfortable with and black pepper to taste.

• Bring to boil and then turn the fire down low and let it simmer for 25 Mins.

• Now the fun part is adding whatever vegetables you like. I love using the recipe to get rid of leftover veg. What works for me is tomatoes, celery, spinach and peas.

• While the lentils are cooking you could also roast a cauliflower with a squeeze of lemon over rit and throw it on top at the end.

• Pour the lentils in a bowl and top with fresh coriander.

• Serve with your fave bread.


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