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Palak dal or spinach dal in gray bowl with jeera rice and papad on brown table

Palak Dal (Spinach Dal)

Shilpa Joshi
Spinach dal is an easy one pot, healthy comfort food. Dal means lentils so this is a hearty lentil soup packed with iron rich spinach. This has an Instant Pot, stovetop and pressure cooker methods.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people
Calories 269 kcal


  • Instant Pot or
  • Pressure cooker or
  • Plain old pot!


  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups toor dal split pigeon peas, tuvar dal, can substitute masoor dal
  • 2.5 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 inch ginger minced
  • 2 green chillies chopped (keep pieces bigger if you want to take out before serving)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder lal mirch
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tbsp dhana jeeru powder (coriander seed powder and cumin seed powder) Sold as a mix. If you don't have mix can use: 3/4 tbsp coriander seed powder, 1/4 tbsp cumin seed powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4-5 stems chopped cilantro optional, garnish


Instant Pot Method

  • Wash lentils and prep/chop veggies (spinach, onion, garlic, ginger and green chilies).
    Washed toor dal/split pigeon peas
  • Add oil to pot. Put Instant Pot in SAUTE mode. Once oil is hot, add in cumin seeds. Once begin to sizzle, add hing (asafoetida) then onions. Cook for 1 minute, stirring onions.
    Tadka for dal, oil with cumin seeds and onions
  • Next, add in green chilies, ginger and garlic. Add in that order as garlic burns quickest. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.
    Tadka for spinach dal. Oil with cumin seeds, hing, onions, green chilies, ginger and garlic
  • Add in crushed tomatoes and spices (red chili powder, salt, turmeric, cumin/coriander powder, garam masala and sugar). Mix.
    Crushed tomatoes and spices
  • Add in dal (washed lentils)
    Lentils in crushed tomatoes and spices
  • Add water. Dal should have about 2 inches of water above it. Cancel SAUTE mode. Turn on PRESSURE COOK mode and cook for 5 minutes and do quick release.
    Water in dal
  • Add chopped spinach and stir thoroughly
    Chopped spinach in cooked dal
  • Dal palak (spinach dal is ready to eat!)
    Dal palak (spinach dal) served with rice, salad and papad

Stovetop (using pot)

  • Heat oil in pan. Add in cumin seeds. Once they sizzle add in asofoetida then onions. Cook 1 minute, stirring. Add in green chilies, ginger and garlic in that order. Cook 1 minute stirring again.
  • Add in crushed tomatoes and spices. Mix.
  • Add in washed lentils and water. Bring to boil. After it reaches boiling point, cook on medium- high for 20 minutes until lentils are cooked.
  • Put on low. Add in chopped spinach and mix. Cover and turn off heat. Spinach dal is ready.

Pressure Cooker (stovetop)

  • Follow same instructions except use pressure cooker.
  • After adding in dal and water close pressure cooker.
  • Cook until 2 whistles. Then let cooker cool down and pressure is released. Spinach dal is ready.


Note: Total cook times reflected in recipe card are for Instant Pot recipe


Calories: 269kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 12gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1077mgPotassium: 272mgFiber: 11gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 307IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 3mg
Keyword indian dal, indian dal with spinach, instant pot dal, palak dal, spinach dal
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