Chana Saag Dal

I used to think that I could only have Indian style food from a take-away! I thought it was much too difficult and time consuming to make my own dals! Okay, so you do need a bit of time, but you can easily make a dal without too much effort – once you know how! If you’re not au fait with Indian food terms, let me explain. Chana is chickpeas or garbanzos. Saag is spinach, and dal is lentils. So, this dish is basically called chickpea, spinach, lentil, or as we tend to say chickpea and spinach dal!

Chana Saag Dal

Chickpeas and spinach are added to this tasty lentil dal.

Cuisine: Indian, vegan
Keyword: chickpeas, dal
Created by:: Laurena @LifeDietHealth
  • Splash or dash of oil of choice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kulonji seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic granules
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 medium onions sliced
  • 300 g split red lentils washed
  • 1-1.2 litres water
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas (white or brown) (keep the liquid)
  • Salt to taste
  • 200 g baby spinach
  1. Heat or melt the oil, then add all of the seeds (cumin, coriander, kulonji, mustard). Stir and watch until they start to spit and sizzle, then stir in the powdered spices (turmeric, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika).

  2. Immediately add the onion, stir to coat, cook for 60 seconds, then add in the drained lentils. Mix well and allow to cook for a further minute before adding the water. Stir and cover. Cook on high until it is just starting to boil. Reduce the heat, stir, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  3. Stir the chickpeas in (add some of the liquid from the tin too), then season well. Cover and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Remove the lid and cover the pan with the spinach leaves. Gently push the spinach into the pan until it starts to wilt and reduces in size. Cover and allow to cook through for 1-2 minutes. Do a final taste test and adjust seasoning if needed.

  5. Serve immediately or allow to cool and store refrigerated for up to 3 days. Scatter with fresh coriander leaves before serving. Enjoy!

Usually we would serve this with rice, or bread, or add it to part of a meal with other Indian foods such as these lentil pakoras, a vegetable curry or some samosas.

If you’re new to cooking, or plant based cooking, have a look here for some kitchen inspiration or some plant based ingredients! Below are a few items useful for this recipe…

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Speak soon

Laurena x


  • Eva Gallon 14th January 2020 at 20:09

    Hi Laurena, I hope this dal tastes just as nice without the kulonji seeds which I don’t have ( I have a feeling I may have said that before lol). I made a spicy pumpkin soup today with one of the pumpkins I bought back in October, the other two aren’t showing any signs of mould yet?

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 14th January 2020 at 23:45

      Hello Eva. I’m sure it will still taste great (get yourself some panch puran when you’re next over)! Ooo, spicy pumpkin soup sounds delicious… we’ve still got pumpkins too! I made a spicy veg soup today (with chickpeas)- definitely warming food weather at the minute!


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