Instant Pot Dal Palak

Instant Pot Dal Palak is an easy and nutritious recipe of spinach with pigeon pea lentils. It is also one of the popular Indian lentil recipes as it combines the goodness of the pigeon pea lentils (known as arhar dal or tuvar dal in hindi) as well as spinach (called as palak in hindi). The recipe is also vegan.

Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K.

instant pot dal palak in a light aqua green bowl placed on a white crocheted napkin on a brown-beige wooden board

Many people are not fond of greens like spinach, fenugreek leaves, amaranth leaves and that is especially true for kids. But when we mix the greens with dals or legumes then the dish not only becomes tasty but also nutritious.

In this recipe, you can substitute spinach (palak) with amaranth leaves (chaulai) or fenugreek leaves (methi) and even kale. I have made a kale dal too.

You can also use moong lentils or a combination of moong+pigeon pea lentils or red lentils (masoor dal)+pigeon pea lentils. I have also shared one more variation of making a satvik Dal Palak without onion and garlic.

Serve Instant Pot Dal Palak with roti, paratha or steamed basmati rice. It will also go well with cu rice or ghee rice.

instant pot palak dal in a light aqua green bowl placed on a white crocheted napkin on a brown-beige wooden board

How to make Instant Pot Dal Palak

1. Pick and then rinse ½ cup pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal or arhar dal) a couple of times in water. Drain all the water. Keep aside. Also chop onions, tomatoes, crush ginger and garlic and slit green chillies.

rinsing pigeon pea lentils

2. Press the sauté switch on normal on the Instant Pot and set the timer to 10 or 12 minutes.

pressing the sauté button in IP
3. Add 2 tablespoons oil and let the oil become hot. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.

adding cumin seeds
4. Fry them till splutter and become fragrant.

cumin seeds spluttering

5. Add ⅓ cup chopped onions. You can also use ⅓ cup sliced shallots instead.

adding chopped onions

6. Stirring often sauté the onions till they turn translucent or light golden.

sautéed onions

7. Now add 1 teaspoon crushed ginger or ginger paste, 2 medium crushed garlic (with or without their peels) and 1 to 2 green chillies (sliced or chopped).

adding crushed ginger, crushed garlic and green chillies

8. Sauté for 4 to 5 seconds till the raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away. You can use the less mode while sautéing.

sautéing ginger, garlic and green chillies

9. Next, add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes.

adding tomatoes

10. Mix very well.

mixing tomatoes

11. Sauté till the tomatoes soften and become pulpy. Stir often when sautéing tomatoes.

sautéed tomatoes
12. Next add a pinch of asafoetida, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper and ½ teaspoon coriander powder. For a spicy dal, you can increase the number of green chilies and red chili powder.

adding ground spice powders

13. Mix very well.

mixing spice powders

14. Add the rinsed pigeon pea lentils.

adding rinsed pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal)

15. Mix very well and deglaze removing any bits or pieces of ingredients stuck to the bottom of the pot.

mixing and delgazing

16. Pour 1.5 cups of water. Mix very well and deglaze if required.

adding water

17. Use the pressure cooking mode and set the timer to 15 minutes on high pressure.

setting pressure cook mode and timer to 15 minutes

18. Meanwhile, when the lentils are getting pressure cooked,  rinse 75 to 100 grams spinach leaves in a colander. Chop them finely and keep aside. You will need 1.5 cups of chopped spinach. Use tender spinach leaves. You can use the stems if they are tender. If the spinach leaves are too large and the stems are fibrous and dense, then only use the leaves and do not add the stems.

chopped spinach

19. When the pressure cooking is complete, allow a natural pressure release (NPR) for 10 to 12 minutes. If there is still pressure in the Instant Pot, then lift the valve for the steam to be released. Open the lid and check if the lentils have cooked and softened. They should be mushy.

cooked mushy lentils

20. Mash the lentils with a spoon.

lentils have been mashed

21. Add the chopped spinach, ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder, ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and salt as per taste to the cooked lentils. Both garam masala and kasuri methi are optional and you can skip these.

adding chopped spinach, dry fenugreek leaves, garam masala and salt to mashed lentils

22. Stir and mix again.

mixing everything

23. Press the sauté button on normal and set the time to 6 or 7 minutes.

Pressing the sauté button in IP and setting time for 6 minutes

24. Begin to simmer the lentils.

simmering lentils

25. Simmer till the spinach leaves wilt. This takes about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir often.

simmering till spinach wilts

26. Once the spinach leaves have wilted, the dal is ready to be served. Check the consistency. Add ¼ to ½ cup hot water if the dal becomes thick. If you prefer a thicker dal, simmer for a few more minutes. For a thin dal, you can add some hot water. This recipe yields a palak dal having a medium consistency. At this step, you can even drizzle  ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice in the dal.

instant pot dal palak is ready to be served

27. Serve Instant Pot Dal Palak with roti or lachha paratha or basmati rice or cumin rice.

instant pot spinach dal in a light aqua green bowl placed on a white crocheted napkin on a brown-beige wooden board

This recipe post is from the archives and has been recently updated. 

More Instant Pot Recipes:

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEmany of my recipes have step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Instant Pot Dal Palak

5 from 12 votes
Instant Pot Dal Palak is an easy to prepare delicious and healthy pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal) with spinach (palak), onions, tomatoes and spices.
instant pot dal palak
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:45 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:north indian
Diet:vegan,vegetarian
Servings (change the number to scale):4
(1 CUP = 250 ML)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons oil - can also use ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • cup chopped onions or sliced shallots or 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger - crushed or 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves - crushed with or without peels
  • 1 to 2 green chillies or 1 to 2 serrano peppers, sliced or chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper or paprika
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) - optional
  • cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal or arhar dal ), 120 grams
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.5 cups finely chopped spinach or 75 to 100 grams spinach
  • ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - optional
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala - optional
  • salt as required
  • a few drops of lemon juice - optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Pick and rinse pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal or arhar dal) a couple of times in water. Drain all the water. Keep aside.

  • Press the sauté switch on normal on the Instant Pot and set the timer to 10 or 12 minutes.
 Add oil and let it become hot. You can also use ghee or butter instead of oil.
  • Add cumin seeds and fry them till splutter and become fragrant.
  • Add chopped onions or sliced shallots and stirring often sauté till translucent or light brown.
  • Now add crushed ginger or ginger paste, crushed garlic and green chilies (sliced or chopped).
  • Saute for 4 to 5 seconds till the raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away. You can also use the less mode of the IP while sautéing.
  • Next, add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes and sauté till they soften and become pulpy. Stir often when sauteing tomatoes.
  • Then add a pinch of asafoetida, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder. For a spicy dal, you can increase the quantity of green chillies and red chilli powder.
  • Mix very well.
  • Add the rinsed pigeon pea lentils and mix them very well. Deglaze removing any bits or pieces of ingredients stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour 1.5 cups water. Mix very well. Deglaze if required.
  • Use the pressure cooking mode and set the timer to 15 minutes on high pressure.
  • Meanwhile, when the lentils are getting pressure cooked, rinse the spinach leaves in a colander. Drain all the water. Chop them finely and keep aside.
  • When the pressure cooking is complete, allow a natural pressure release for 10 to 12 minutes. If there is still pressure in the Instant Pot, then lift the valve for the steam to be released. Open the lid and check if the lentils have cooked and softened. They should be mushy.
  • Mash the lentils with a spoon.
  • Add the chopped spinach, garam masala powder, kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and salt as per taste to the cooked lentils. Kasuri methi is optional and you can skip it.
  • Stir and mix again.
  • Press the sauté button on normal and set the timer to 6 or 7 minutes.
  • Begin to simmer the lentils till the spinach leaves wilt. This takes about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir often.
  • Once the spinach leaves have wilted, the dal is ready to be served. Check the consistency. Add ¼ to ½ cup hot water if the dal becomes thick. If you prefer a thicker dal, simmer for a few more minutes. For a thin dal, you can add some hot water. This recipe yields a palak dal having a medium consistency. At this step, you can even drizzle ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice in the dal.
  • Serve Instant Pot Dal Palak with steamed rice, cumin rice, roti or bread.

NOTES

  1. On Spinach: You can use the stems if they are tender. If the spinach leaves are too large and the stems are fibrous and dense, then only use the leaves and do not add the stems.
  2. Frozen Spinach: When fresh spinach is not available, replace with frozen spinach.
  3. Cooking Lentils: When cooking lentils, always use lentils which are fresh and in their shelf period. Aged or old lentils will take more time too cook. In this case, if the lentils are undercooked, then add some more water and continue to pressure cook in the Instant Pot for 10 or 15 minutes more.
  4. Different Lentils: The same recipe can be made wholly or in a half-half ratio with lentils like - mung lentils, red lentils and split chickpeas. For split chickpeas, soak them in water for 30 minutes before pressure cooking. 
  5. Consistency: You can make the dal thin or thick by adding less or more water once the dal is cooked. When pressure cooking the dal, add the 1.5 cups water as mentioned in the recipe. 
  6. Taste & Flavor: Increase the green chillies, garam masala powder and red chilli powder for a spicy dal. For a less spicy version you can decrease these spices. A bit if lemon juice added to the dal gives a nice tang. 

NUTRITION INFO (approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Dal Palak
Amount Per Serving
Calories 167 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 347mg15%
Potassium 341mg10%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 1195IU24%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 57µg54%
Calcium 33mg3%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 141µg35%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 41mg10%
Phosphorus 121mg12%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

Comments are closed.

34 comments/reviews

  1. Amazing recipe, Dassana!! I used a combination of toor dal and moong dal . I served this dal with steamed basmati rice and sabji. Thanks again for sharing !
    Best wishes,
    Angela5 stars

    • thank you angela for sharing this lovely feedback. any combination of split and husked lentils can be used. even with moong lentils spinach dal tastes good. sometimes i only make spinach dal with moong lentils. most welcome and best wishes.

  2. Hi Dassana

    Your website is a blessing for me , I started cooking only after marriage because of prior lack of interest and I was a true rookie. I could never understand a recipe just by one narration, and asking over and over again used to get embarrassing. So your simple and detailed notes , providing ample options and the photos helped me a great deal. Today the same rookie is now considered a good cook and its to quite an extent due to you .
    Thanks a million , god bless you , lots of love !5 stars

    • so glad and happy to read your comment ritika. thanks a lot. hugs to you and stay blessed.

  3. Very nice recipes explained with pics I usually check your website for veg recipes .5 stars

    • thank you shruthi.

  4. Tried this recipe without adding onions and all the spice powders…Just turmeric..It tasted good that way too. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

    • Welcome Nisha. Thanks for sharing this info. I am sure it will help others readers.

  5. I have referred to other recipes of ‘spinach dal’ in the past. But this turned out to be the best recipe to date! Definitely the yummiest spinach dal I’ve ever tasted! Keep up the good work….

    • thanks prajakti for positive views 🙂 glad you liked the recipe.

  6. Loved it… Thank u so much 🙂5 stars

    • welcome aarti and thanks for the feedback.

  7. Hi love your site. Can i use yellow moong dal for this recipe?

    • yes pari, you can use moong dal.

  8. i love your site and have just downloaded the app. ur efforts in writing and maintaining the same standard are clearly visible. both printable version and photographs are available..
    and it has definitely made me a cook if not as good as anyone else.. but i am very happy about it. it gives me the courage to try new things.

    • pleased to know this aakanksha 🙂 thankyou so much for your kind, positive and encouraging words. glad we could help you in boosting your cooking skills and wish you all the best.

  9. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes Dassana. I have become a fan of my own cooking after following your recipes. Will make the recipe today and am sure this will taste yummy just like your rajma or palak paneer.
    Thanks again

    Ipsita5 stars

    • pleased to know this ipsita 🙂

  10. Loved it dasana….dal was superrrrr….I tried so many recipe’s all of them came out very tasty….thank you so much
    Don’t have words to express…awesome blog.5 stars

    • welcome hema. nice to know this. thanks for your encouraging words.

  11. Dear Dassana,
    I never write comments for anyone. But this recipe is really good. I never use to like dal palak but this one is really good. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe. I have started trying ur most recipes, they are all good.5 stars

    • welcome tressia. glad to know this. thanks for sharing your positive review on recipes.

  12. Dear Dassana , another winner of a recipe. Instead of making the lemon juice optional (and in fact anytime you make spinach greens solo as in palak paneer or in combination with dal) , you should always add 1 tbsp lemon juice since not only does it impart a nice tang , but more importantly, it aids in absorption of iron from iron-rich foods. I think this holds true for dal as well. Else these will just pass harmlessly through the system without leaving the benefits! I’m sure you are aware of this , just thought i’d share
    Regards

    • thanks anusha. i am aware of this. i learnt in my nutrition class. i kept it optional as some people do not like lemon juice to be added. i have a few family members too. even when i tell them to add lemon juice in palak paneer or any palak based dish giving the reasons, they just don’t agree. so as it is with my family, i though there will be people who do not like lemon or lime juice. hence i added it optional.

  13. Hi Dassana

    I am an ardent fan of all ur recipes and have tried many of them…my husband who never liked Palak paneer started loving the dish after I followed ur style of preparation..I am writing this post in the middle of preparing the dal and am very sure it will turn out yummy…

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing ur wonderful recipes and tips. .I have recommended ur blog to my cousin who is a beginner ..she’s a student in the US n her friends are loving all the dishes that she has been preparing following ur advice

    thank u once again ☺☺

    Regards
    sharada
    Dubai,Uae5 stars

    • welcome sharada. thanks for sharing positive review on recipes. glad for referring the blog to your cousin. glad to know this.

  14. At which stage hav u added Tomato ..

    • thanks tina for asking this question. add tomatoes after you add ginger+garlic+green chili paste. i have updated the recipe.

  15. what if i boil the palak with the dal?
    will it make any diffrence.

    • the taste will be a bit different.

  16. Dassana, thanks again for posting this recipe. Your recipes are the most (from any blog) that I have tried and they never fail to impress me.

    • thanks a lot famcook… thats a great compliment for me 🙂

  17. perfect recipe!!

  18. perfect recipe , turned out delicious !