Instant Pot Dal

Admittedly, I am an unapologetic Texas-born carnivore. If I don’t have a double protein meal by 10am every morning, then you might wanna avoid me. My favorite snack? Yup, Amish turkey jerky. At the in-laws one holiday weekend, I shook the very foundation of the honorary Mackey dinner table when I skipped my baked potato and opted to finish my entire t-bone steak instead. It was scandalous! Despite my carnivorous appetite however, for several years now I have absorbed as much information about locavorism as I can, and I make very determined efforts to buy the freshest ingredients I can find, but honestly, I don’t do as well as I could in procuring all my meats from local farms. Ya know, because life and all. Nonetheless, we rotate vegan and vegetarian dinner dishes religiously every week and maintain a healthy balance with a variety of plant-based proteins. Because of this practice, I’ve developed a handful of quick weeknight meat-free recipes, like this curried red lentil dish, which comes together in no time at all in an Instant Pot.

The wifey’s less spicy Dal garnished with fresh jalapenos.


2 cups red lentils

12-14oz can coconut milk

1 cup vegetable broth

4-6 curry leaves, or curry paste of choice

1 tsp Penzeys Now Curry powder

2 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1″ in piece fresh ginger, skin removed and minced

4 cloves garlic, skins removed, trimmed, and minced

1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped

2 med tomatoes, diced

1-2 tablespoons Ghee or EVOO

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Thai Bird chilies, trimmed and chopped, optional garnish


Turn on the Saute function of an Instant Pot to med high. Add in the Ghee or EVOO and allow to just shimmer. Toss in the curry leaves and saute about 3-5 minutes until they are very fragrant, then remove and discard the leaves. Next add in the onion and ginger and saute 2 minutes more until the onions are soft and the ginger fragrant. Stir in the garlic, curry powder, turmeric, and garam masala and continue to saute 1 minute longer. Add in the remaining ingredients and turn off the Instant Pot.

Stir until the coconut milk, broth, and lentils are well combined with the seasonings and aromatics. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the release valve to the pressure cooker setting. Set the Instant Pot to the Soup/Stew setting and pressure cook the lentils for 20 minutes, following the Instant Pot instructions. Carefully remove the Instant Pot lid and allow the Dal to rest for several minutes. Once cooled a bit, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve Dal with Basmati Rice or Naan of choice. Garnish with Thai Bird chilies, if using.

Thai Bird chilies: be careful! Those are very hot!”

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