Instant Pot Spinach Dal makes an easy gluten-free lunch or dinner. This feel-good dish packs a punch in both flavor and nutrition. It’s actually a meal all on its own, but pair it with cumin rice or naan for a hearty dinner tonight. Can be vegan too!
What do you look for in a weeknight meal? If you are like me, then you will probably say it should be healthy + one-pot meal + authentic + family approved and ready in no time. If your answer is a yes, then my dear friend, this recipe is just for you!
Besides, today’s recipe Spinach Dal or Dal Palak is an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s like all the goodness delivered in one bowl. It’s that good.
- Comes together in less than 30 minutes,
- Is healthy,
- Wholesome, and
- Made with real and good-for-you ingredients.
Why Cook in An Instant Pot?
If you had asked me this question last year, I would have replied, “It’s useless to cook in an Instant Pot.”
Seriously, I was not an Instant Pot person. In reality, my Instant Pot sat in the box for months before I actually started using it.
But when I used it for the first time to cook MataPaneer (Indian cottage cheese and peas gravy), I was impressed at its convenience and multi-tasking. It’s the best electric appliance I have ever owned.
Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker with multiple cooking options. It has –
- made life easier
- offers mess-free cooking
- is time efficient and
- cooks food at lightning speed without compromising on the taste.
So, are you ready to hop on the Instant Pot wagon? I would highly recommend it.
In the meantime, if you don’t own an instant pot then feel free to make this recipe the traditional way – stovetop method.
What Lentils to use for Instant Pot Spinach Dal?
I have used a combo of Yellow Moong Lentils (Moong Dal) and Red Split Lentils (Masoor Dal). Both the lentils complement each other perfectly as these two lentils are-
- light on the stomach
- easy to digest
- free from heaviness and flatulence
- excellent source of protein and dietary fiber
- cooks very fast and
- absorbs all the flavors well.
This recipe calls for Yellow Moong Lentils (Moong Dal), but if you don’t have a liking for yellow dal, then you can certainly use the Chana dal (split chickpeas dal) or Toor/tuvar dal ( split pigeon peas). If using another dal, cooking time will vary.
How to make Spinach Dal in an Instant Pot?
Making Spinach dal in the Instant Pot is a no-brainer recipe. Start by preparing the tempering/tadka first in the Instant Pot, add chopped spinach, spices, followed by lentils and pressure cook for 4 minutes on ‘High Pressure.’ That’s it. Now let the Instant Pot do all the work for you.
After the pin drops, open the Instant Pot – lentils and spinach will appear thick just like a stew. Adjust the water consistency, do the taste test, give the final tempering and you are all set.
In the end, squeeze a lemon for a burst of flavor and a warm, comforting, spinach dal is ready that needs nothing else apart from soft, warm rotis or white rice to serve along with it.
From now on, I ‘ll be making my spinach dal in the Instant Pot. I love the fact that there is no soaking required. Simply quick-wash the lentils, dump everything in the pot, and a tasty meal is ready in minutes.
Instant Pot Spinach Dal Freezes well!
This super filling and healthy spinach dal is a perfect leftover recipe. Store the leftover dal in the fridge in an airtight container. Often lentils thicken up after refrigerating. No worries, thin it out with a little water, reheat and enjoy. It tastes better the next day.
Additionally, this dal freezes beautifully. Store the dal as individual servings and freeze. Thaw the dal overnight in the refrigerator then reheat it for lunch the next day. It tastes yum and I hope you like it too.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe. Feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries, and I would be happy to answer them.
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Instant Pot Spinach Dal
FOR THE LENTILS
- 1/2 cup Yellow Moong Lentils (moong Dal)
- 1/2 cup Red Split Lentils (Masoor Dal)
- 1/2 tablespoon Ghee (Vegan option – coconut oil or any oil)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon Garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large Tomato, chopped
- 1.5 cups Fresh Spinach, chopped,
- 1.5 cups Water
- 1/4 cup Water (to be added after the dal is cooked)
- Wash lentils and rinse chopped spinach. Set it aside. Start the Instant Pot in ‘SAUTE’ mode and heat ghee/oil in it. Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and as it starts to crackle.
- Stir in chopped onions and garlic. Saute for a minute until the onions turn translucent.
- Add chopped tomatoes and
- All the spices.
- Mix it well. Cook for a minute.
- Add the rinsed chopped spinach and washed lentils to the Instant Pot. Pour in water.
- Give it a good stir and seal the lid of the Instant Pot with the vent in sealing position. Cancel the saute mode. Select the ‘PRESSURE COOK OR MANUAL’ mode. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When the instant pot beeps, do a quick pressure release and when the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water. Adjust salt at this point.
- Adjust the consistency to your liking. Press SAUTE mode again and simmer the dal for 2 minutes. As it starts to boil, close the saute mode.
- Prepare the final tempering by heating ghee in a pan, add whole red chilies and red chili powder. Cook the tempering for 30 seconds on a low flame.
- Pour this tempering over dal and mix it well.
- Spinach dal is ready to be served. Serve spinach dal hot with boiled rice!
- Of course, you can! Some tested and tried good options are – Kale and collard greens. They taste equally good and add nutritional value too.