Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Vaishali · This post may contain affiliate links · 7 Comments

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Total time: 40 minutes minutes

Thought you couldn't fit a real dal into a low-carb vegan diet? I've created an incredibly delicious vegan coconut dal that has just 10 grams of net carbs in each serving, and could be worked into the diet of even those who are severely restricting their carbohydrate intake, like keto dieters. To make this dal I used urad dal or black gram lentils with their skin on, which adds lots of fiber. I supplemented the healthy protein and fiber with edamame beans, which add flavor and texture while keeping the net carbs low. All of this goodness is complemented by coconut milk, which adds healthy fat and an exquisitely creamy texture.

Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (1)

This vegan Coconut Dal is my latest delicious offering in a quest to create delicious and healthy low-carb foods that me, my family and so many of you who are looking to improve your health and/or shed the pounds can enjoy.

Ever since I started limiting my carb intake, I've been trying to take some of my favorite foods and see how I can reduce the amount of carbohydrates in them without subtracting the flavor and deliciousness. It's been a thrilling challenge and adventure, and it's been so utterly satisfying when I come up with a recipe like this one.

Table of Contents
  • Creating a low-carb/keto dal
  • Why you'll love this low-carb vegan coconut dal
  • Ingredients
  • How to make Coconut Dal
  • What to serve with vegan coconut dal
  • Storage and freezing
  • More vegan low-carb dinner recipes
  • Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe)
  • Reviews

Creating a low-carb/keto dal

Low-carb diets, and particularly keto diets (which restrict carbs to between 25 and 50 grams a day), usually forbid lentils. These little nuggets are too high in carbohydrates and at the same time devoid of fat: the opposite of what you are supposed to eat on a keto diet. But lentils are incredibly healthy, which you already know if you eat plant-based, and the idea of never eating a dal until I reached my weight loss goals simply didn't sit right with me.

So I dug in and researched and harnessed all I have learned over my many years of cooking Indian food. In the end I came up with a recipe that uses a common Indian dal that is naturally lower in carbs compared to other dals and that is often sold with its skin on: urad dal or black gram dal (not beluga lentils).

The skin reduces the net carbs in the recipe by bumping up fiber. And to add protein and satisfying bulk and texture to the recipe without adding too many net carbs, I used another ingredient--edamame--which fits in perfectly, flavor-wise.

Because low carb and particularly keto diets require foods to be high in fat, I used heart-healthy fats, like coconut milk and coconut oil. If you aren't necessarily interested in eating high-fat, low-carb foods, you can simply cut down on the oil and the coconut milk and you'd still get a lipsmackingly delicious dal.

I did use some garam masala and other spices here that add a negligible amount of carbs. Some of the spices go in whole and can be removed before or while you eat.

This recipe has 212 calories in each serving, with 10 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) and 9 grams of protein. It is healthy all round and I've got tips for those of you who may not be low-carb but love delicious food!

Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (2)

Why you'll love this low-carb vegan coconut dal

  • It's so delicious. Desi, quite the dal connoisseur, loved, loved, loved this dal. It is creamy and perfectly spiced. There's no deprivation here, just tons of comfort.
  • It's healthy. Urad dal and edamame beans are both great foods to add to your diet. They are high in protein and fiber and, like all lentils, packed with nutrients that are good for you. Coconut milk and coconut oil have medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs, that are great for your heart, among many benefits. This dal also has spices and herbs, like garam masala, ginger and garlic, that can improve health.
  • It's everyone-friendly. This dal may be low-carb, but it's not just for low-carb eaters. Gluten-free and nut-free eaters can eat it too. And if you're soy-free, you can leave out the edamame.

Ingredients

  • 1cupurad dal (or black gram dal), with skin on. You can use the split lentil or the whole lentil, but the whole lentil will take a little longer to cook.
  • 2 bay leaves. These add flavor as the dal cooks.
  • Ground spices: ½teaspoonturmeric, 2 teaspoons garam masala, ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder (or any moderately spicy ground chili pepper) and ½ to 1 teaspoon paprika, which is optional and mainly for color.
  • Whole spices: 4 green cardamom pods, 1 black cardamom pod (optional), 4 cloves and a 1-inch piece of cinnamon.
  • 1mediumtomato
  • 2crimini mushrooms. These are a secret or rather a trick ingredient to amp up the deliciousness of your dal (I first shared this idea in my easy Indian curry paste recipe). Even if you don't like mushrooms, or someone in your family doesn't, no worries because you won't know they are here. But they'll add tons of delicious and deep flavor.
  • 2tablespoonscoconut oil. If you want a dal that's lower in fat, you can cut this down to as little as a teaspoon.
  • 1smallonion
  • 1teaspoonginger garlic paste
  • 12 oz edamame beans. Use the shelled beans you can find in the freezer section of your grocery store.
  • 14ozfull fat coconut milk(from a can). You can use half of this, if you want a dal lower in fat.
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

How to make Coconut Dal

  • Cook the urad dal until tender. This is best done in a pressure cooker, but you can do it on the stovetop. If using the stovetop method, try and soak the dal for 3-4 hours as this will speed things up. Add water to cover the lentils by at least two inches, add the turmeric and bay leaves, and cook until tender.
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (3)
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (4)
  • While the dal is cooking, place the chopped tomato and mushrooms in a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the whole spices--cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and saute until the spices are slightly darker, a few seconds.
  • Add the onions with salt and pepper to taste and saute until they turn golden-brown.
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (5)
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (6)
  • Add the ginger garlic paste with the blended tomato-mushroom paste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes darken and the oil appears to express.
  • Add the edamame beans to the pot and mix well. Cook a couple of minutes.
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (7)
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (8)
  • Add the cooked urad dal to the pot along with two cups of water or vegetable stock. Mix well, then stir in the garam masala, Kashmiri chili powder, and paprika, if using. This is optional, but to make the dal creamier, you can blend a cup of the cooked dal and add it back to the pot.
  • Stir in half the coconut milk.
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (9)
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (10)
  • Bring the dal to a boil, cover, then simmer for 10 minutes until the flavors have melded. If the dal is too thick for your liking you can add more water or stock.
  • Finish off by adding the remaining coconut milk and lemon juice. Add more salt if needed.
  • Serve hot.
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (11)
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (12)

What to serve with vegan coconut dal

  • If you're a low carb eater, serve the dal over a bed of cauliflower rice. Shirataki rice, made from soluble plant fiber, is also an option. Dal is always served with a sabzi or vegetable side. You can choose a sabzi like these Kashmiri Collard Greens or this Spinach Kootu-- both have just 5 grams of net carbs in a serving.
  • If you're a keto dieter, eat the dal by itself, like a soup, with salad on the side.
  • For those watching their health but not necessarily their carbs, this dal would be great served over quinoa or brown rice.
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (13)

Storage and freezing

This coconut dal can be refrigerated for 3 days. Always reheat before serving and add more water if needed as dal tends to thicken as it stands. If you add water, you might need more salt, so be sure to check.

For longer storage, you can freeze the dal in a freezer-safe container. Thaw and reheat and again, add water and salt if needed before serving.

More vegan low-carb dinner recipes

  • Vegan Low Carb Keto Chili
  • Cauliflower Rice Biryani (Keto + Vegan)
  • Vegan Parsi-Style Tomatoes with Tofu "Eggs" (Low-Carb Recipe)
  • Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Casserole (Low Carb Recipe)
Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (18)

Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (19)

Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe)

An incredibly delicious vegan coconut dal that has just 10 grams of net carbs in each serving, and could be worked into the diet of even those who are severely restricting their carbohydrate intake, like keto dieters. To make this dal I used urad dal or black gram lentils with their skin on, which adds lots of fiber. I supplemented the healthy protein and fiber with edamame beans, which add flavor and texture while keeping the carbs low.

5 from 3 votes

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Course: Main Course/Dal

Cuisine: Indian

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 30 minutes mins

Total Time: 40 minutes mins

Servings: 10 servings

Calories: 212kcal

Author: Vaishali · Holy Cow Vegan

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker or pot for cooking lentils

  • Large pot or dutch oven

Ingredients

US Customary - Metric

  • 1 cup urad dal (split or whole, but with skin on)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 medium tomato (chopped)
  • 2 crimini mushrooms (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 brown cardamom pod (optional)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 12 oz edamame beans (shelled. Frozen)
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder (or any moderately spicy ground chili pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (optional, for color)
  • 14 oz full fat coconut milk (from can)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the urad dal until tender. This is best done in a pressure cooker, but you can do it on the stovetop. If using the stovetop method, try and soak the dal for 3-4 hours as this will speed things up. Add water to cover the lentils by at least two inches, add the turmeric and bay leaves, and cook until tender.

  • While the dal is cooking, place the chopped tomato and mushrooms in a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the whole spices--cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and saute until the spices are slightly darker, a few seconds.

  • Add the onions with salt and pepper to taste and saute until they turn golden-brown.

  • Add the ginger garlic paste with the blended tomato-mushroom paste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes darken and the oil appears to express.

  • Add the edamame beans to the pot and mix well. Cook a couple of minutes.

  • Add the cooked urad dal to the pot along with two cups of water or vegetable stock. Mix well, then stir in the garam masala, Kashmiri chili powder, and paprika, if using. This is optional, but to make the dal creamier, you can blend a cup of the cooked dal and add it back to the pot.

  • Stir in half the coconut milk.Bring the dal to a boil, cover, then simmer for 10 minutes until the flavors have melded. If the dal is too thick for your liking you can add more water or stock.

  • Finish off by adding the remaining coconut milk and lemon juice. Add more salt if needed.

  • Serve hot.

Recipe notes

  • To make the recipe lower in fat, you can reduce the amount of coconut oil to as little as 1 teaspoon and cut the coconut milk by half.
  • To make the recipe higher in fat, serve the dal with more coconut oil drizzled over.
  • If you're a low carb eater, serve the dal over a bed of cauliflower rice. Shirataki rice, made from soluble plant fiber, is also an option. Dal is always served with a sabzi or vegetable side. You can choose a sabzi like these Kashmiri Collard Greens or this Spinach Kootu-- both have just 5 grams of net carbs in a serving.
  • If you're a keto dieter, eat the dal by itself, like a soup, with salad on the side.
  • For those watching their health but not necessarily their carbs, this dal would be great served over quinoa or brown rice. This coconut dal can be refrigerated for 3 days. Always reheat before serving and add more water if needed as dal tends to thicken as it stands. If you add water, you might need more salt, so be sure to check.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the dal in a freezer-safe container. Thaw and reheat and again, add water and salt if needed before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe)

Amount per Serving

Calories

212

% Daily Value*

Fat

13

g

20

%

Saturated Fat

10

g

50

%

Polyunsaturated Fat

1

g

Monounsaturated Fat

1

g

Sodium

12

mg

1

%

Carbohydrates

15

g

5

%

Fiber

5

g

20

%

Sugar

1

g

1

%

Protein

9

g

18

%

Vitamin A

152

IU

3

%

Vitamin C

7

mg

8

%

Calcium

40

mg

4

%

Iron

6

mg

33

%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Tried this recipe?Please leave a comment and recipe rating below!

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Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (20)

About Vaishali

Hi! I'm Vaishali, a journalist turned food blogger. At Holy Cow Vegan I share easy, tasty recipes made with clean, wholesome ingredients that the entire family can enjoy.

Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a comment:

  1. Meg

    Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (21)
    Hi Vaishali, my husband and I have been eating low carb and it was so hard to find vegan recipes we enjoy. I tried this dal last night and it was a super hit. We took seconds and thirds. Thanks for this and other low carb vegan recipes you've been posting. Look forward to more.

    Reply

  2. LisaH

    This looks fantastic! How long should I pressure cook the lentils? You have instructions for stovetop, but not for using a pressure cooker. If I use the pressure cooker, will I need to soak the lentils first? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Vaishali

      Hi Lisa, if you are using a pressure cooker with a pressure regulator (or whistle), cook for four whistles. If using another kind, cook for 10 minutes after the cooker reaches pressure. In an Instant Pot you will need to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. And if using a pressure cooker or IP you don't need to soak. Some pressure cooker manufacturers warn against cooking lentils, so be sure to check that.

      Reply

      • LisaH

        Perfect! I've cook other lentils in my pressure cooker with great success (it does take a couple times to get the timing just right) but never Urad dal. I’m so excited to try this and will let you know how it turns out.

      • Vaishali

        Awesome, so happy you will be making it!

  3. prity

    Vegan Coconut Dal (Low-Carb Recipe) (22)
    Nice job! Vaishali - we are going low carb so more recipes would be lovely.

    Reply

    • Vaishali

      Awesome, happy to hear! And yes, absolutely, so stay tuned. You can browse other low-carb recipes here meanwhile. https://holycowvegan.net/low-carb-vegan/

      Reply

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