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Vegan Red Lentil and Channa Dal || Instant Pot

If you are part of the Guided Wellness Community or follow me regularly on social media  you know I’m all about making extra-large batches of almost everything! THE FREEZER IS MY FRIEND and it should be yours as well (whether you are cooking for one, two or six like me!).

Cooking extra-large batches = being more efficient in the kitchen.

Making the most of your valuable time!

Batch cooking is just one of my many meal prepping solutions and works perfectly for those slow cooked meals that taste even better re-heated and keep well in the freezer for weeks! Comforting dishes like stews, chili, soup or this yummy Red Lentil and Channa Dal. It only takes a few additional minutes chopping or prepping extra ingredients to make a larger batch of the same recipe and this way I’ll have enough for not just one dinner to feed my family of six, but two or three! Which means we can enjoy the meal again as a quick reheat on a busy weeknight, use the leftovers for lunch or my favorite – freeze a batch and add it to my FREEZER STASH of meals (more on this in an upcoming meal prepping post!)

On to the recipe…

DAL (or DHAL, DAAL) = dry legumes (pulses) that are split – like lentils, peas and beans.

Dal also refers to various dishes prepared from these pulses.    

CHANNA DAL (or CHANA DAL) = baby chickpeas, dried and split.   

MASOOR DAL = red lentils, dried and split (bright orange in colour).

Channa dal and Masoor dal are of the most important staple foods in South Asian countries, especially India.

They are quick cooking and are delicious in stews, soups and curries.

The Instant Pot is perfect if you want to prepare a meal that will taste like it has been cooking for hours (although it really may have only taken you 30 minutes from start to finish!). Perfect for this flavorful Indian inspired dish or my Beef Barley Stew. No need to sit by the stove stirring or watching over to make sure nothing spills over or burns. Just SET it and FORGET it. That way this mom of four can be doing the laundry and stick handling homework while a delicious meal is minutes away from being served. Don’t have an Instant Pot? That’s fine – just get our your largest pot and make this on your stove top (just don’t go off to put a load in the washer and forget about it!). I tend to make this dish all year round. I love it best in the winter months but also in the summer months when my garden is overflowing with fresh mint, cilantro and chilies.

You’ll notice I’m using water instead of vegetable broth and have not included any flavoring cubes. I find that store bought broths and flavoring cubes generally contain MSG and excess sodium. As with all my soups and stews – I prefer using fresh herbs and spices and sea salt to my own taste. Trust me you won’t be disappointed with the flavor!


    • 2 medium chopped yellow onions
    • 5 cloves chopped garlic
    • 2 chopped ripe tomatoes
    • 2 tsps Garam Marsala
    • 2 tsps ground turmeric
    • 2 tsps ground coriander
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 tsps sea salt
    • 2 tsps grated fresh ginger
    • 3 cups red split lentils (dry, rinsed)
    • 3 cups split chickpeas (dry, rinsed)
    • 8 cups water
    • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil 
    • Juice of 1 fresh lime
    • Fresh chopped green chilies (optional)
    • Fresh cilantro and mint – for garnish


Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to “SAUTE”. Once “HOT” add coconut oil and sauté onions for a few minutes until transparent. Add chopped garlic, cumin seeds and spices and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently.

Step 2: Add salt, fresh grated ginger, split red lentils and split chickpeas and stir until everything is well combined before adding the water.

Step 3: Select “CANCEL” on the Instant Pot and set to “PRESSURE COOK” manual – for 5 minutes. When time is up let the pressure come down naturally (about 10 minutes) before lifting lid.

Step 4: Add the juice of 1 fresh lime, plenty of chopped fresh cilantro and chopped green chilies, if you like it spicy!

Step 5: Serve warm with basmati rice, potatoes, naan or my favorite – homemade Savory Indian Chickpea Flour Pancakes (recipe coming soon!).

Guided Wellness Tip: When making stews, chili, soups or this Red Lentil and Channa Dal be sure to make an extra-large batch so you can enjoy the meal again as a quick reheat on a busy weeknight, use the leftovers for lunch or freeze a batch and start creating your own handy FREEZER STASH of meals.

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