Indian Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe - Vegetarian/vegan

Yellow split pea dal - vegetarian and vegan
Yellow split pea dal - vegetarian and vegan. Photo by Getty Images
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (53)

This vegetarian yellow split pea dhal recipe is one of the most popular vegetarian recipes here on TheSpruce. Dal, sometimes spelled dahl or dhal, is a staple of Indian vegetarian cuisine. This easy recipe is for a basic vegetarian and vegan yellow split-pea dhal. Serve it up with rice for a simple vegetarian Indian meal, or, add extra liquid and cook a little longer to make a more soup-like dhal.

Caution - it's got a bit of a kick! Want to make it a full meal? Add a side of vegetable pakoras or baked samosas (try these simple kale pakoras for something completely untraditional but absolutely delicious), and you'll have a complete yet still light and healthy Indian meal.

This easy dhal recipe is very low in fat and is also low-calorie. Use water or an additive-free vegetable broth, and this recipe is also gluten-free.​

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup yellow split peas, uncooked
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. margarine
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin, whole seeds or ground
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Dash pepper, to taste

How to Make It

  1. In a large pot, place the uncooked yellow split peas and the water or vegetable broth, and bring to a slow simmer. Add the turmeric, cayenne, and salt, and cover.
  2. Cook for at least 20 minutes, covered, until the yellow split peas are fully cooked, stirring occasionally.
  3. You can also continue to cook your dal for an additional 10-15 minutes, if you prefer, to allow the yellow split peas to break up and have a smoother texture. 
  1. Either way, once the split peas are almost done, in a separate large skillet or frying pan, heat the onion, cumin, and clove in the margarine. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until onion, is soft (if you happen to have some asafoetida/hing on hand you can also add a little in for about 30 seconds just for extra flavor) 
  2. Add the onion and spices mixture to the split peas, and allow to simmer for at least 5 more minutes.
  3. Add a dash of pepper and more salt, if desired, and serve hot with rice or alone in a soup bowl.

If you're using yellow lentils or something other than yellow split peas in this recipe, you can cook them a little less than the suggested 20 to 35 minutes. 

This Indian food recipe is both vegetarian and vegan.

Nutritional information:

Based on four servings:
Calories: 207
Fat: 3.5 g; Saturated Fat: .6 g
Cholesterol: 0mg, 0%
Total Carbohydrates: 32.8g, 11%
Dietary Fiber: 13.2g, 53%; Protein: 12.5g