With a baby that can walk, we’re pretty limited on the time we have to spend making dinner. That’s why I love our Instant Pot! When you can do the sautéing in the same spot as the pressure or slow cooking, I count that as a win (less dishes). This vegan instant pot dal palak is a great example of a dish that works well in these because it’s a filling and healthy meal that is prepared in the IP in under 30 minutes.
What I love about Indian food is all the hidden vegetables and immunity boosting properties as well as antioxidants. Garlic, turmeric, onion, and ginger are in almost every dish. This dish also has spinach which is a known super food. Lentils keep you feeling full, while you get some additional servings of vegetables. It goes great with ripped up rotis stirred in, or served with a bit of rice. This is a staple meal in most Indian households, and for good reason.
Getting an Instant Pot?
There are a lot of Instant Pots out there. A few recommendations I’d have if you haven’t purchased one yet include figure out what features you want. I have used the yogurt feature, which not all models include. If you like making yogurt, make sure yours has that. Size – we purchased an 8qt and honestly it’s a little big for our needs. If you are a family of 4+ and constantly double or even triple recipes, then an 8qt would be good. Otherwise a 6qt would be sufficient for people’s needs. Rice option is also good so if you don’t already have a rice cooker, I’d recommend one with the rice function.
What you’ll love about Instant Pot Dal Palak?
- It’s simple to make. Sauté the veggies in the instant pot, add spices, tomato, lentils, and water. Cover it and pressure cook. You only create one dish and the pot does all the work!
- Vegan. This is vegan, though you might not realize it. You likely have seen this or a variant on an Indian buffet, but if made without ghee it’s vegan and can be easily made plant-based.
- Gluten-free. Next time you host dinner, this is a great safe option for gluten-free guests.
- Packed with antioxidants and immunity boosting properties. It can help you feel better when you’re sick or eat it before to help boost your immunity.
How to make this dal palak?
- Rinse your lentils with a strainer. Sometimes I skip this step, but it’s good to ensure no foreign materials are in the mix (rocks), and can get extra starch rinsed away.
- Turn on the instant pot to sauté and add the olive oil.
- Add the cumin, garlic, and pepper and allow it to sizzle.
- Stir in the onions and cook until they start to brown.
- Mix in the tomato and dry spices. Allow it to become fragrant.
- Add the lentils and water to the instant pot. Stir it to ensure all lentils are covered. with water and no clumps formed.
- Put lid on and close the vent. Hit cancel and then manual. Turn the pot to high pressure and set the timer for 5 minutes. Let the pot work its magic.
- After the 5 minute timer is done, allow it to sit for 5 minutes before manually releasing pressure.
- Stir in the chopped spinach while it’s hot to allow it to wilt.
- Serve it fresh with rotis, naan, or rice.
- Store any left overs in the fridge for up to one week in an air tight container.
Instant Pot Dal Palak
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 serrano or jalapeno, diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 tsp garam masala (can substitute curry powder)
- 1 tsp coriander cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups spinach, chopped roughly
- salt (to taste)
- Rinse lentils with water until the water runs clear. This will remove any extra dust or starch left.
- Turn on Instant Pot to saute mode and add olive oil.
- Add cumin seeds, garlic, and serrano pepper to pan and allow seeds to simmer (once oil is hot this should only take about 10 seconds).
- Add chopped onion and allow to brown.
- After about 3 minutes, mix in the dry spices along with salt. Then add the tomato.
- Allow this mixture to cook for another minute
- Mix in the water and lentils.
- Turn on the manual pressure on high and cook for 6 minutes. (7 minutes will make for a bit mushier lentils).
- Once it's complete, allow it to sit for 5 minutes before manually releasing the pressure.
- Stir in the chopped spinach and allow it to wilt.
- Top with cilantro or lime juice. Serve with roti or rice.
Did you make this instant pot dal palak? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!