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5 from 2 votes
Bowl of Vegan Dal Makhani topped with cilantro and coconut cream.
Vegan Dal Makhani
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Soak Time
4 hrs
Total Time
9 hrs 45 mins

This vegan dal makhani is made with black lentils, kidney beans and spices in a creamy coconut tomato sauce. A delicious and comforting Indian-inspired curry that you'd never guess was dairy-free!

Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 435 kcal
Author: Alissa Saenz
  • 1 cup dried whole black lentils (urad dal)
  • ½ cup dried kidney beans
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree
  • 1 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut cream, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  1. Place the lentils and kidney beans into a large pot or bowl and cover them with a few inches of water. Soak them for 4 to 12 hours.

  2. When the lentils and beans are done soaking, drain them and place them into a large pot. Cover them with water and place the pot over high heat.

  3. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and boil the lentils and beans until they're soft, 60 to 70 minutes.

  4. Drain the beans and lentils into a colander when they're done boiling.

  5. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion.

  6. Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes soft and translucent.

  7. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and cumin seeds. Sauté everything for about 1 minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning, until the mixture becomes very fragrant.

  8. Stir in the cooked lentils and kidney beans, along with the tomato puree, water, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and sugar.

  9. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick. Add a bit more water if it becomes too thick while cooking. As the beans and lentils become very soft, mash some of them up with a fork or the back of a spoon.

  10. Remove the skillet from heat. Stir in the coconut cream and salt. Taste-test the dal and add more salt to taste.

  11. Serve topped with additional coconut cream, if desired, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

Recipe Notes
  1. The beans and lentils can be soaked and cooked in advance, then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  2. Another time saving option is to use 1 (14 ounce) can of precooked kidney beans and 2 (14 ounce) cans of precooked lentils. You probably won't find the black lentils used in this recipe in cans, but brown canned lentils will still give you a tasty (even if less authentic) dal.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Dal Makhani
Amount Per Serving (1 heaping cup (¼ of recipe))
Calories 435 Calories from Fat 112
% Daily Value*
Fat 12.4g19%
Saturated Fat 5.7g29%
Sodium 705mg29%
Potassium 1129mg32%
Carbohydrates 63.5g21%
Fiber 20.1g80%
Sugar 16.5g18%
Protein 19.4g39%
Calcium 74mg7%
Iron 7mg39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.