Lentil Veggie Dhansak Recipe. Dal and vegetables cooked with spices. Parsi dhansak Recipe. Make this dal dhansak in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or in a Saucepan. Serve over rice or flatbread or garlic bread. Vegan Gluten-free Soyfree Nut-free Indian Recipe.
Dhansak /dansak /dhan saak is an Indian dish from the Parsi community. It has various regional adaptations. It combines elements of Persian and Gujarati cuisine (cuisine of the state of Gujarat). Dhansak generally is made by cooking some meat with a mixture of lentils and vegetables, while the vegetarian version uses just lentils and veggies.
Dhansak can be simply spiced to retain the flavors of the vegetables or lentils, or can be flavored with various spices. It is often served over caramelized onion rice (rice cooked with caramelized onions). This version is a simply spiced dhansak with a combination of lentils, vegetables and greens. Use any vegetables in this amazing dish.
Flexible to your palate and a delicious 1 Pot meal. Perfect to use up the assorted seasonal veggies and greens and so flavorful. Make it in an Instant Pot or in a saucepan, but definitely make this simple, delicious and nutritious meal! The fresh raw ginger and chile in the lentils and veggies make it a different and fresh flavored stew.
Dhan means grains and Saak/Shak means vegetables. This Vegetable Dal curry is served over brown rice, which is rice cooked with caramelized onion. To make the rice, caramelize an onion with 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt. Add rice, water, salt and bay leaf and cook the rice until done to preference. The version in the pictures has only a few fenugreek leaves for the greens which are mixed in, hence all the prominent yellow dal.
If you make this, do let me know in the comments how it worked for you and also rate the recipe.
More 1 pot Veggie Meals from the blog
- Kohlapuri Veggies – Veggies in sesame coonut sauce
- Mushroom Matar Masala
- Bombay Potato and Peas
- Tofu in Spinach Curry – Saag Tofu
Veggie Lentil Dhansak Instant Pot
Dal and Veggies:
- 3/4 cup (177.44 g) total split dals combination of red lentils(masoor dal and yellow lentils(mung dal) or toor and moong dal)
- 2 cups (364 g) chopped vegetables (heaped) such as cauliflower, eggplant, zuchhini, opo squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli etc)
- 1 cup (40 g) packed chopped greens such as spinach, fresh fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, chard or amaranth
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 hot green chile minced
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) turmeric
- 3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) salt
- 1 1/2 tsp (1.5 tsp) dhana jeera powder* or 1/2 tsp garam masala + 1/2 tsp coriander powder + a good pinch of ground cloves
- 1 tsp oil
- 3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup (80 g) chopped onion (heaped)
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) garam masala or more as needed
- Soak the dals for 15 mins to half hour. Drain and combine in a pressure cooker/Instant pot with the vegetables, and the rest of the ingredients under Dals and Veggies(ginger, garlic, spices)and 2.5 to 3 cups water. Cook for 3 minutes on manual (high pressure). Let the pressure release naturally.
- Meanwhile, make the tempering. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds and let them start to pop. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden, stirring occasionally. (a heavy bottom pan, a good pinch of salt and stirring at regular intervals gives an even golden onion). Add garam masala and mix in .
- Once the pressure has released, open the lid. At this point you can mash the veggies and lentils for a more traditional version..
- Mix in half the tempering into the lentil vegetable mixture in the Instant Pot. Taste and adjust salt and heat(cayenne). Add more salt and garam masala if needed. Garnish with the remaining half tempering, cilantro and lemon juice and serve.
- Serve with rice, flatbread, toasted bread or garlic bread, garlic naan and kachumbar salad (cucumber tomato onion salad).
Oh wow! This was unbelievably good. My meat loving teenage boys were raving about it. Very fresh tasting. I used fresh fenugreek for the greens in it – I’d never tried fenugreek before and it was delicious. I also learnt from the guy in the shop where I bought it that it has amazing health properties! We had the dhansak with kachumba as you suggested and it went together so well. I made roti as well. Thank you for this amazing recipe, and also for introducing us to the fascinating world of the Parsi. We googled ‘who are the Parsi’ and watched a really interesting YouTube video about them. So unsurprised to hear that they are famous for their good food! Thank you again, and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!
Vegan Richa Support
that’s so great! thank you for sharing, i’m glad the recipe and its origin opened some new doors for you!
Made this from the cookbook, absolutely love the flavor! Wonder if I measured something wrong though as it easily makes 4 good sized bowls not the 2 it says it serves. Certainly not complaining about having leftovers as it’s delicious but wonder if anyone found them same?
I used butternut squash and cauliflower as my veg and it was pretty thick
Hi I would like to try this recipe. Do you know how long I would cook it in a stove top pressure cooker. I’m a beginner with a pressure cooker 😅. Many thanks
Usually same time. Cook a minute less as stove tops cook at higher pressure
Hello – I’m making this now for an event and excited to see how it tastes. One question the salt and garam masala that you list for the tempering, is that listed as an amount to try and use as reserve to work with or should the full amount be added to the tempering? I couldn’t see in the instructions where they are used. Many thanks and a joyous 2022 to you and your family! <3
Add just the garam masala to the onion
I made a few variations to this recipe and it is SO GOOD. First instead of doing the tempering in a separate pan, I did it straight in the instant pot first. After it was tempered, I added frozen cauliflower, frozen green beans, frozen squash, frozen peas/carrots, and potatoes. I tripled the recipe so I used 2 cups red lentils (soaked) and 4 cups of water. It tuned out mushy but I like it that way! I ate it with rice and homemade raita (oat yogurt). 5 stars.
Awesome! Most Dals are mushy as the preferred texture. Just adjust cook times to texture preference
Great recipe, Richa! I love the nutritional combo of both the daal and the vegetables in a one-pot meal!
Alas, I live with a meat eater. If I wanted to make this with 1lb of chicken, how much more time would I add?
Thank you so much,
i made this with the veggies I had on hand- cauliflower, multicolored carrots, baby potatoes, and Trader Joe’s cooking greens. I used garam masala since I just got some fresh masala yesterday. I had moong and masoor dals on hand so that is what I used. It turned out perfectly in the Instapot. We loved it!
Thank you for this wonderful recipe! It turned out beautifully and the family all loved it. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Regards, Jennifer
Awesome! Thank you!
I’ve made this several times, with different veggies, and each time it’s been delicious! I love your recipes, thank you so much.
I have never commented on a recipe before, but I have to tell you how fabulous this is. I’m not Parsi, so I don’t know if it’s authentic. It is, however, delicious. For what it’s worth, because my spouse has digestive issues, he cannot eat garlic, onions, wheat, cauliflower, zucchini, and many other things. (High FODMAP foods.) So, I made a batch eliminating the garlic, onions, cauliflower, and wheat and instead used garlic oil (the “bad” stuff in garlic is only water soluble) and asafoetida. It was nevertheless still fabulous. This is going to become a go-to dish for us! Thanks for posting it.
I think I messed this one up. All I had were red lentils . I can’t find yellow Dal or even yellow split peas anywhere in my town. And I tried to double the recipe. But I ended up using too much liquid . And I used two green chiles instead of one. And they were very mature with quite a bit of red on them . They ended up overpowering some of the more delicate flavors. Also I haven’t had much luck pressure cooking dal (red lentils, yellow split peas). They always seem to disintegrate. Oh well. Better luck next time.
Red lentils are quick cooking, so they will disintegrate any which way. split peas should not disintegrate in the 3 to 5 min pressure cooking time, as they are pretty hardy. Dals(dal recipes) with red lentils are supposed to be smooth and disintegrated. And they disintegrate more when you mix after pressure cooking. You an also use whole brown lentils so they dont disintegrate.
The chilies vary really by their mood, so the heat cant be known before hand.
This sounds very interesting but I’m curious on where does the yellow Dahl fit in this color scheme. I know read dissipates very quickly but I’ve never been able to find yellow locally. Could you explain which is the hardest down to which one dissipates the quickest. Thank you
Vegan Richa Support
give this article a look: https://www.veganricha.com/indian-dals-names/“>Indian Dals Names
Hi, sounds amazing. Trying to make it now but a little confused. You don’t add water to the pot with the lentils?
its int he first instruction. i forgot to add the water to the ingredients. See ” Drain and combine in a pressure cooker/Instant pot with the vegetables, and the rest of the ingredients under Dals and Veggies(ginger, garlic, spices)and 2.5 to 3 cups water.”
I saw almost directly after posting this. I’m sorry, thanks for responding. It was absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing 😊
I very rarely comment on anything online…but I have to say, this is absolutely delicious! It has become a weekly fixture in our house. I have bought one of your books for my kindle and am looking forward to trying out some of your other recipes. Thank you.
Thank you! glad it turned out so good! Happy cooking.
Do you mince the garlic and ginger or add them whole?
Vegan Richa Support
“1 tbsp minced ginger
4 cloves of garlic minced”
Can this be made without an instant pot? If it can, how long do you cook it for?
Yes, See the recipe notes section for saucepan instructions.
Every time I cook one of your recipes for the 1st time I think it’s the best one yet. Every time I prove myself wrong 🙂 Just had a bowl of this delicious veggie lentil dhansak and decided this was the winner! Thankfully I made double the amount. Thanks Richa ❤️
thank you for this wonderful note! I am glad the recipes turn out well and impressive 🙂
For doubling the recipe, how much time and liquid? I know from another one of your instant pot recipes with lentils you had 1.5x the water rather than double, but just wanted to be sure. Thanks!
yes double everything except water. 1.5x should be good. if its too thick, you can add in some water while still hot when you open the lid.
perfect, thanks for the super fast response! just got an instant pot and am making this tonight (right now actually!). Thanks again–your recipes are fantastic!!!
Delicious i want to make it.
My whole family loved this dish! We tripled the recipe because there are 5 of us, and it made a ton of food! We used eggplant, broccoli and carrots plus spinach for our leafy green. It was so good, we are already planning to have it again next week with a different combination of veggies! I love how easy and versatile this recipe is!! Thank you!
I forgot to mention, my kids are 12, 6 and 1 &1/2, and the all devoured this dish! My non-vegan husband loved it too!
i too found this very bland i’m afraid no depth to flavours – sorry ! i did in pan as dont have pressure cooker but i have cooked better and with a better tempeh to be honest – sorry i normally really like ur stuff 🙁
maybe it needed more salt and garam masala? i usually use less garam masala coz mine is sometimes too potent.
Oh wait, where is the salt? lol. i forgot to add it with the lentils no wonder. Updating now. Salt always brings all the flavors together. the salt amount makes or breaks the recipe!
Sorry about the missed salt. Hope the salt and spice fixed it when you made it. Thanks for catching it!
Thanks for the recipe! I made this tonight, and while the flavors were very good, it ended up being overcooked. I followed the Instant Pot directions exactly. Is it because I doubled the recipe? Or maybe because I have the newest model? I cooked it for 3 minutes on high pressure mode.
It could be because of doubling. Double-ed up the pressure would take longer to reach adding the extra time before the counting starts. Were the veggies very over cooked or just the lentils?
Both were over cooked 🙁
Try 1 minute with a quick release with the larger quantity. The food starts cooking while the pressure is building and longer pressure building time is what might have cooked the veggies and the lentils.
If you are doubling or tripling the recipe how do you adjust cooking? New to using the Insta Pot! Made one of your recipes so far and loved it.
Cooking time for manual stays the same. the IP will take longer to come to pressure and that automatically adds some extra time. everything else is doubled except water. You want to start with 1.5x water. If the dish comes out too thick, just add some more water while it is still hot when you open the lid.
An excellent recipe for my daughter, The Pure Doctor out of Costa Rica.
Made this tonight for dinner along with the Kachumbar salad. It was an easy, one pot meal that didn’t take long to make. We loved it! It was complex and perfectly spiced. We also made some papadum to go with it. Yum! We’ll be making this again.
I used my new instant pot for the first time and made this. The texture was good, but I found the taste was actually really bland – I had to add quite a bit of salt afterwards to give it any flavour. The chilli gave it heat but it was missing the “depth” of flavour I was hoping for….what do you think I did wrong? I used cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato and mushrooms for the veg, and a mix of lentils as you suggested. Help!
Hmm, it could be either of some things. The spices (old and hence not enough payback or new), correct salt amount to preference, how long the whole spices are tempered as they release a lot of flavor when roasted correctly. Amount and type of veggies, heartier veggies will need additional spice. You can double the tempering for added flavor. Or it could just be this dish. Not all Indian dishes are strong or complex flavored. Many Everyday meals use light spices to keep the wholesome flavor of veggies or the lentils.
Ok thanks! I’ll try longer tempering and invest in some new spices! Kind regards J
I just updated the recipe, i had forgotten to add salt while cooking the lentils. So that might be why it was bland.
I made this today, as I had everything on hand. For vegetables, I put cauliflower, broccoli and a sweet potato. I had a bit of spinach and beet leaves that needed to be used fast. I used a regular pot, and mashed the veggies. This was beyond my expectations! I shall make this again, even if I have to hunt for ingredients. Thank you.
I made this a few weeks ago and it was very nice. Different spicing for me, but still comforting–does that make sense? Anyway, I froze some, and I think it was even better that time. I think next time, I will make even more of the tempering, bc I really liked what it added to the final flavor of the dish 😀
Yes definitely. I usually add a medium amount for the blog recipes. Mustard seeds add a slight bitter after profile which can be an acquired flavor in larger amounts. If you like them then the spices can easily be doubled in the tempering along with more of the garlic and onion
Thank you for this recipe! We are Parsi and my mom always made dhansak for special occasions. Hers had mint leaves and methi added 🙂 I love your blog and will be ordering your book.
Thanks! mint will be amazing in it!
I made this using okra, cauliflower and mustard greens, and I pureed the soup. It was pretty good, but I didn’t like the greenish colour. Next time, I’ll go with cauliflower and carrots, and will add the greens after the pureeing stage. Also, I added kala namak to the soup. Not traditional maybe, but I found this really enlivened the dal. This is the best dal I have made so far.
Awesome! yes some kala namak or chaat masala is like a zing from lemon or other refreshing tang
One more question, sorry but I love your recipes so much I want to make this as you did……..I see carrots and cauliflower in there, any other veggies?
I used carrots, cauliflower some leftover sweet potato and zucchini in small quantities and a handful of spinach.
What is the red, almost looks like onions on the top?
they are onions. The tempering of onions, garlic and spices. Half of which is mixed in and the other half is used as garnish
Richa, this was wonderful! So easy and full of flavor. Thank you for the recipe. 🙂
Can I make the dal in the instant pot today, then tomorrow, reheat and do the tempering? Will that still taste good? Or will it be tastier, if I prep everything today and cook everything tomorrow?
Yes, that will work fine. Indian food anyway tastes better the next day as the spices infuse it well 🙂
Thanks! My first recipe in the instant pot! Will be my go to way for making dal now! So easy!
One of my life goals is to make everything (EVERYTHING) in your cookbooks, but I’m never going to succeed if you keep posting amazing recipes on your site! I’m serious, your recipes are among my top few life goals.
I used red and yellow dal, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and was lucky enough to get fenugreek! I love the combination of Instant Pot and the tempering. And the ginger is wonderful. I look forward to trying new combinations. I still need to work on my onion caramelization techniques though.
Thats awesome! I hear you. Sometimes I have to pause and have weeks of making my own favorites. Its the nature of online blogging. Gotta keep posting so the blog stays popular with google search and people can find the recipes!
Oh please please please never stop making new recipes!! That’s not what I meant 🙂
Is there any dhana jeera in the cooking or just for garnish?
its added with the lentils, veggies. See under dal and veggies. All of the ingredients and added to a pot and cooked. You can use more for garnish
Thanks Richa, I thought that must be it but just wanted to check! Making this tonight 🙂
Now I’m seriously craving Indian food! Lentils and veggies are the key to my soul. I’ve never actually heard of this recipe but this take looks wonderful!
Thank you Cassie. This one is really delicious!
To do all in an instant pot, can I do the tempering in the pot before adding the dal and cooking the veggies?
Yes, you can make the tempering in the pot. Reserve half of it for garnish later. Add the lentils to the pot and proceed.
I grew up eating a similar kind of daal. That was however prepared with masoor daal. So comforting and soul satisfying with a bowl of steam rice.
Chelsey @ Chelsey Crafts
This looks so delicious and comforting.
This looks fabulous, just like all your recipes. I cant wait to make it!