Creamy coconut & spinach dhal

“This meal is a complete hug in a bowl. Substituting half of the rice for quinoa not only adds extra wholegrain goodness but also boosts the meal’s fibre and protein content. Alternatively, wholegrain brown rice serves as an excellent alternative. A squeeze of lemon juice is an excellent way to include vitamin C, aiding in the absorption of iron from the lentils and spinach.” — Dr Chintal Patel

  • Prep:10 mins
    Cook:30 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 724
  • fat 27g
  • saturates 16g
  • carbs 84g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 12g
  • protein 30g
  • salt 0.17g


  • 300g red lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large tomatoes (around 225g), roughly chopped
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 100g quinoa
  • 320g baby spinach
  • 100g basmati rice
  • 25g coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 green chillies, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)


  1. Rinse and drain the red lentils thoroughly at least three times and soak them in cold water until needed.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until it's softened and just starting to brown, about 5-6 mins. Stir in the cumin seeds and fry for 1 min.

  3. Add a pinch of salt and the turmeric, stir well, then tip in the tomatoes. Drain the lentils and add them to the pan along with 350ml water and the coconut milk. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. Cover and let it simmer over a medium-low heat for 15 mins.

  4. Rinse and drain the quinoa and rice at least three times to remove excess starch. Tip into a large saucepan with 1.5 litres of salted boiling water. Bring back to the boil, simmer for 10-12 mins until tender, then drain.

  5. Mix together all the kachumber ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Set aside.

  6. Remove the dhal from the heat, uncover and stir in the spinach, letting it wilt. Season to taste.

  7. To make the tadka, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the chillies and garlic. Just before the garlic begins to brown, 1-2 mins, add the chilli powder, if using. Stir for a few seconds and remove from the heat. Set aside.

  8. Serve the quinoa and rice in bowls topped with the dhal, tadka and chopped coriander, and the kachumber on the side, if you like.

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