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Indian Toor Dal

This Indian toor dal recipe is creamy, tangy and made from wholesome ingredients. The flavors of ginger, garlic, and spices mingle with lentils to create a delicious stew that can be prepared in about 30 minutes. This vegan dal recipe is also soy-free, dairy-free, and plant-based!
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There is nothing more welcoming than a steaming bowl of soup at the end of the day. This ultra-comforting, Indian-inspired toor dal recipe features the nuttiness of split pigeon peas, sweet warmth of ginger and mild spices, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to balance out all of the flavors.

This toor dal recipe is bursting with flavor and packed with nutrients! The nutrients in toor dal feature protein, fiber, good carbohydrates, and more. This recipe is adapted from the Indian toor dal soup with turmeric in the Heavenly Vegan Dals & Curries cookbook by Rakhee Yadav.

A bowl of toor dal on a wooden serving board.

What Is Toor Dal?

This recipe is a special one because it is Indian inspired and uses a special ingredient: yellow split peas (also known as pigeon peas or toor dal). This flavorful soup also features health-promoting ingredients like carrots, ginger, turmeric, and garlic. Whether it’s flu season or just one of those times when you feel a bit run down, this heavenly soup will hit all the right spots. 

With a thick and creamy texture, this vegan dal recipe is the perfect way to end a busy, stressful day. Serve it with toasted bread smeared with some vegan butter and treat yourself. This is a moment to unwind and enjoy, slow down and disconnect.

Toor dal in a white bowl with herbs to the side.

Why This Toor Dal Recipe Is So Awesome

This Indian stew is so dreamy! This recipe is simple and quick but so yummy and delicious at the same time. All of the spices work together to create a fantastic aroma, and you can leave the stew semi-pureed or blend it to be as silky smooth as you’d like. Here are more reasons why we love it:

  • Inexpensive to make
  • All of the ingredients may be easily found at your local supermarket
  • Highly nutritious
  • Minimally processed ingredients
  • Can be easily stored and leftovers are easy to reheat
  • Super-filling and perfect for weeknights

You can expect this toor dal recipe to be:

  • Super creamy
  • Comforting and warm
  • Wholesome and simple

Star Ingredient—Pigeon Peas

You can find pigeon peas canned or dried. This recipe uses split pigeon peas which have a unique nutty flavor and takes about 30 minutes to cook. If you can’t find split pigeon peas, don’t worry. Red lentils can be used instead! Here are more reasons why we love the mighty pigeon pea:

  • High in fiber
  • Low in saturated fat and calories
  • Excellent source of plant-based protein
  • Rich in folic acid

This recipe is also:

  • Soy-free
  • Nut-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Vegetarian and vegan
  • So delicious!

Ingredients Notes

Ingredients for toor dal, shot top-down against a white background.
  • Toor Dal (Yellow Split Pigeon Peas): These can be found in the bulk section of your supermarket or in any Indian grocer. If you can’t find them, feel free to replace them with red lentils.
  • Fresh Ginger: Who doesn’t love the warm and slightly peppery taste of fresh ginger? This flavor here will mellow as it cooks down with the other ingredients.
  • Carrots: These are the second main ingredient, and you can add any other veggies that might complement its unique flavor. Sweet potato or celery could be great additions! Just make sure whatever you’re adding doesn’t clash with the creamy texture too much.
  • Turmeric Powder: This gives the stew its beautiful and bright ochre color. Turmeric is a plant related to ginger and is an amazing antioxidant. This recipe is a great way to add some into your diet!
  • Coriander Powder: This spice is produced from the round, tan-colored seeds of the coriander plant. The flavor is earthy, tart, and sweet.
  • Cumin Powder: Also earthy and sweet, cumin adds a slightly bitter flavor that is balanced out by the other ingredients.
  • Lemon Juice: The lemon juice brings an acidic kick and lifts all the flavors in this dish, highlighting and providing contrast to the other elements.

How To Make This Vegan Toor Dal Recipe

Step 1: Cook the onion, ginger, and garlic, carrot and spices together in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot.

Toor Dal being prepped in a pot.

Step 2: Add the broth and the pigeon peas and bring to a boil. Cook the pigeon peas over low heat until they are soft. Then use an immersion blender to puree everything until completely smooth.

You can also use a high-speed blender, but make sure the soup is completely cooled before blending it. Feel free to leave it semi-pureed if you like a little texture in your stew! Add a little bit of water to thin it out if it’s too thick.

Toor dal simmering in a pot.
Toor dal being pureed with a stick blender.

Step 3: Season with salt and pepper and mix in the lemon juice. Serve with garnishes as desired. Simple, quick and delicious! 

Toor dal after being pureed in a pot.

It’s so silky, gorgeous and aromatic once complete. Look at that vibrant orange the turmeric gives the stew!

How To Garnish This Toor Dal

When it comes to toppings, the sky is the limit. Get creative and choose what works for you! This toor dal recipe calls for pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs, but you can also garnish with diced and roasted potatoes if you’d like! Here’s how to do it: 

  • Cut two large red potatoes in small cubes, then put them in a bowl and spice them up with lots of black pepper, sweet paprika, cumin, and sea salt. Add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast if you like a more cheesy flavor. Drizzle some olive oil on top!
  • Mix everything up and transfer them onto a baking sheet in a single layer to promote even cooking. Roast them for 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until slightly golden. Use them to top off your soup!
A spoonful of toor dal being held over a bowl.

Nutrients In Toor Dal

We covered the nutritional benefits of pigeon peas above, but here’s another reason this vegan dal recipe is so healthy: turmeric! Turmeric is a spice that has been around for ages, and is touted for its amazing anti-inflammatory properties (and even anti-cancer properties).  

Turmeric (or Curcuma) is a plant related to ginger, and it has been used in Indian cuisine and medicine for thousands of years. It’s also a favorite of ayurvedic medicine, and it’s been known to be used in India to dye fabrics thanks to its super intense color. This is an excellent example of sustainability! Turmeric can be used in cooking, as a healing supplement and for naturally dyeing your clothing. Pretty cool, right?

Apart from its fantastic color, this spice has some true superpowers! It’s an amazing antioxidant and can have the same effects (or better!) as over the counter anti-inflammatory medications. Dr. Michael Greger, author of the New York Times bestselling book How Not to Die and founder of NutritionFacts.org, recommends incorporating turmeric into your diet every day. 

Is Indian Food Vegan-Friendly?

Indian food captivates many of us in a very special way. Its colors, aromas, deep flavors, and simplicity gives it that amazing touch and takes us somewhere unique and beautiful every time we savor it. India has so many different regions, and each one has its own amazing cuisine, although they all have something in common.

Indian food is also incredibly vegan-friendly. Many fantastic Indian dishes are legume-based, full of vegetables and spices, and use coconut milk instead of dairy. There is a huge array of dahls, curries, naans, and pakoras to choose from. Just watch out for ghee!

Next time you’re struggling to find a vegan restaurant or vegan take-out, try finding your nearest Indian place. They will like have many vegan-friendly options!

Two bowls of toor dal, garnished in white bowls.

More Vegan Indian Dish Favorites

Easy Indian Toor Dal Soup

Author: Rakhee Yadav
5 from 10 votes
This toor dal recipe creates a creamy and tangy soup-like lentil stew. It uses split pigeon peas and cooks in less than 30 minutes. The nutty flavor of the pigeon peas mingles with garlic, ginger, and spices to warm up your kitchen and create a comforting and flavorful stew. This vegan dal recipe may become your new go-to recipe for weeknights!
A bowl of garnished toor dal in a white bowl.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • ½ teaspoons turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • cups yellow split pigeon peas, toor dal or replace with red lentils
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pumpkin seeds, to garnish
  • Fresh herbs, like cilantro, to garnish

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a deep pan over high heat. Once hot, add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook until the onion is transparent and the raw smell of the ginger and garlic is gone, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the carrots, turmeric, coriander, and cumin and stir well to mix.
  • Cook for a few minutes and then add the broth and the peas. Bring to a boil on high heat and then cover with a lid and let simmer on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until the peas are thoroughly cooked.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree everything until completely smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix in the lemon juice. Serve with garnishes as desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1019mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 8151IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Keyword recipe of toor dal, toor daal recipe, toor dal, toor dal recipe, vegan dal recipe

The “Heavenly Vegan Dals & Curries” Cookbook

Heavenly Vegan Dals & Curries is a stunning book! There are lots of beautifully photographed plant-based Indian recipes created by passionate vegetarian Rahkee Yadav. Currys and dals are so easy to make and such a great way to incorporate veggies and legumes into your diet.

Rahkee Yadav is a cook, born and raised in India, who decided to put all her childhood cooking experience to good use. She manages to simplify all her favorite Indian dishes and make them entirely vegan and uber healthy. With beautiful photos and carefully crafted recipes, this book is one to hold on to.

Why not give it to someone as a gift? Giving vegan cookbooks to your loved ones is a great way to spread the word and practice some indirect activism. Once people realize vegan food can be delicious and uncomplicated, they will open up to the possibility of making it a lifestyle.

This vegan Indian toor dal soup recipe is reprinted with permission from Heavenly Vegan Dals & Curries by Rakhee Yadav, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Article written by Beatriz Buono-Core and edited by Rachel Lessenden. Photos by Amanda McGillicuddy for World of Vegan, all rights reserved.

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Recipe Rating




10 comments
  1. 5 stars
    This soup looks so delicious and comforting

  2. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    Carrot soup is full of goodness!

  3. Gina House says:

    5 stars
    This soup is the best! I’m a huge fan of carrots and this soup is very satisfying. Mmmm!

  4. 5 stars
    Nothing says health like this soup! So delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    Such a comforting and invigorating soup recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    This is pretty different from the recipes I usually make but it was SO good! Highly recommend!

  7. 5 stars
    Not only beautiful (the color!), but also super creamy, luscious tasting soup! I love how warm and comforting it is and it’s perfect when you have company coming over. This recipe will knock their socks off!

  8. 5 stars
    We love soup and this was a winner. Healthy and flavorful!
    Creamy deliciousness!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this for my husband and we both loved it! So healthy, flavorful, and warming. We’ll definitely be making it again!