Spiced Coconut Dhal

Spiced Coconut Dhal topped with lots of goodies


“Yum. Great dhal, darl”

Jokes aside, dhal (a staple Indian dish) is packed with flavour and nutrition, and is a great option when you need to feed a crowd. Our Spiced Coconut Dhal make 4 generous serves, plus there are leftovers for a couple of lunches…perfect if you’re heading back to work after the summer break and want something delish and nourishing in your lunchbox!

It’s cheap and cheerful (less than $3 a serve, and depending on which veggies you choose to roast can even come in at under $2/serve) but don’t think that low price means boring and flavourless…this dhal is really tasty. Inspired by chef Josh Emmett, I’ve added more of a TEA slant in terms of variety and nutrition (with optional extras) but still kept it as a simple dish. We use dried red lentils in our Spiced Coconut Dhal, these don’t need to be soaked before using like a lot of other pulses and legumes, so are quick and easy to use in recipes. And if you’re currently stuck in a cooking rut, head over to our website Shop for loads of other recipes, wellbeing challenges and meal plans.


Cheap and cheerful red lentils can be purchased from most supermarkets and food shops for ~$3 a packet


Nutritional Powerhouse

Nutritionally, this Spiced Coconut Dhal really packs a punch:

  • A great source of fibre to support your gut biome (the trillions of beneficial bacteria that live in your lower bowel and have been implicated with mood, weight and immune function) and particularly SOLUBLE fibre, which can help reduce blood cholesterol and glucose levels
  • Contains a range of ANTI-INFLAMMATORY foods and spices to help dial-down the inflammatory response
  • A good source of zinc, vitamin B, lycopene and a range of other nutrients and ANTIOXIDANTS to help you feel your best and bridge nutritional gaps you may have
  • Provides plant-based protein to help satisfy you and keep you feeling fuller for longer

If you’d like to learn more about your wellbeing and for a personalised nutrition consult to check on your nutritional status, get in touch for a consult with me, Sarah Percy (registered dietitian)!


Spiced Coconut Dhal – serves 4-6

½ medium sized cauliflower, cut into florets

2 carrots, cut into 2cm chunks 

½ onion, sliced

1 tablespoon oil

1 and ½ teaspoons turmeric

1 and ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Good pinch salt

Pinch chilli flakes (optional)


1 tablespoon oil

½ onion, finely sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2cm ginger, grated

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon each turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander (or just use 2 tablespoons curry powder but I like the cumin and coriander flavours!)

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 and ½ cups dried red lentils

1 litre veggie stock (or if you’re not going completely plant-based you could use chicken stock) or water

1 teaspoon garam masala (optional but adds great flavour)

½ cup coconut cream

To serve – coriander leaves, sliced almonds, lemon cheeks, basmati rice or naan bread


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Pop the cauliflower and carrots in a roasting dish and drizzle the oil over the top. Sprinkle on the turmeric, cumin, coriander and salt (plus chilli if you’re using it) and mix through thoroughly. Cook for 20 minutes, add the onion and give it all a good stir. Cook for a further 20 minutes or until the veggies are browned and tender.

In a large wok or saucepan, heat the second measure of oil over moderate heat and add the second measure of onion. Cook for 5 minutes until softened, then add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, second measures of turmeric, cumin and coriander, heating for another minute or so until the veggies are coated in the spice mix and are fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, lentils and hot stock/water, stir thoroughly and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally so they don’t stick on the bottom of the pot) or until the lentils are plump and tender. Add the garam masala if using, and the coconut cream, simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes. Stir in half the roasted cauliflower, carrot and onion mixture. Check the seasoning and add in salt and pepper as needed.

Ladle into bowls and top with the remaining roast veggies, coriander leaves, almonds and a lemon cheek (or wedge!) and serve with fluffy rice or naan bread. Pop leftovers into containers to enjoy for lunch tomorrow!


  • Use different veggies if you prefer – roasted broccoli, zucchini and/or capsicum are all great
  • Add in some spinach leaves or frozen peas when you add the coconut cream for extra veggie goodness
  • If you don’t have all the individual spices, good old curry powder can do the trick
  • Use different herbs or nuts to top the dhal if you prefer
  • I added some turmeric and coconut cream to my rice before cooking which made it extra yum


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