Lemon, tomato and Cardamon dahl

…with spinach (or chard!) and cashew & coriander topping

This fragrant dahl, has a fresh feeling that means it is as well suited on a summer eve as a winter night, perhaps with a seasonal twist: in autumn or winter you could leave out the fresh tomatoes and replace with some grated squash for the last 10 minutes of cooking.  A great way to join in with Veganary, the annual January movement that encourages us all to increase our plant based foods, & perhaps keep that trend beyond the traditional month of ‘resolutions’!

A perfect vegetarian / vegan / wheat & dairy free side dish, or, if cooked down a little longer, an inspired dip to serve with summer drinks in the evening or crusty bread at lunch.


For the dhal:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (de-seeded if you like)
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (de-seeded if you like)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • The seeds from 6 cardamom pods, ground
  • 200g dried split red lentils, washed
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 100g baby spinach, washed
  • 4 ripe vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 16 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)

For the topping:

  • 100g toasted cashew nuts
  • 1 green chilli (de-seeded if you like)
  • ½ unwaxed lemon
  • A small bunch of coriander


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a deep saucepan and fry the onions over a medium heat with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until they start to soften.
  2. Add the chillies and cook for another couple of minutes until everything in the pan is soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds and when the mustard seeds start to pop, stir in the ground turmeric and cardamom. 
  4. Add rinsed lentils, coconut milk & stock. Bring the dhal to the boil, then turn the heat down to gently simmer.
  5. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the lentils have softened and are cooked through. 
  6. Now make the herb & cashew topping: Roughly chop the cashews & green chilli, and the whole lemon half, (having removed pips).
  7. Add the coriander and chop the all ingredients together with a good pinch of salt to make a rough lemon salsa. 
  8. Back to the dhal: stir through the roughly chopped spinach and chopped tomatoes
  9. Wilt spinach (or chard) a little, then taste it and add the juice of up to 2 lemons, depending on your preference.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. If you are using the curry leaves, melt about a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan and when the surface is shimmering, fry the leaves for about 15 seconds to crisp up. 

To serve, spoon the dhal into bowls, top with the curry leaves & cashews, and serve with rice or warm roti breads.

Waste Not –

  • This is a perfect way to use up over wintered home grown chard leaves, or the last bit of cabbage – simply tear or shred leaves and add towards the end of cooking time.
  • Recipe originally from Anna Jones’ One Pot, Pan, Planet; a greener way to cook. Delicious recipes for now and the future – eating for health and sustainability – an emphasis on ‘no waste, fresh food and health for the planet and for oneself’.

10 thoughts on “Lemon, tomato and Cardamon dahl

  1. Looks fabulous, Emma! I’d need a major shop for most of those ingredients but it does look good, and not difficult to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo! Yes, quick and easy to make and lovely and fresh! 👍🙂


  2. That sounds our kind of dish. It’s on the list to try any day now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you enjoy it Margaret – I think it’s a winner! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It looks it – and should taste wonderful.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks yummy and a great dish for Veganuary.

    Liked by 1 person

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