Thursday, June 28, 2018

Spinach Dal Soup in the Instant Pot (or Not)

palak dal at

Spinach Dal, known in India as Palak Dal, is a hearty soup made with channa dal or yellow split peas. Dal (also spelled as daal or dahl) is a Hindi word for dried split lentils, dried peas, or dried beans. Dal may refer to the legume itself or the finished recipe.

toor dal

I made this vegan soup in a 6 qt. Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt. It cooked for 16 minutes, I let the pressure release naturally, and it was delicious. It can also be made in a soup pot on the stove top.

yellow split pea soup

One recipe will serve 10, so there is enough to eat as soup for dinner one day and then eat leftovers over rice for lunch the next day. Either way dal is delicious, satisfying, full of essential fiber and valuable nutrients.

Fast and Easy to Make 
I simply sautéed onions, tomatoes, garlic and spices for 5 minutes right in the IP (Instant Pot) and then added my yellow split peas. I switched from sauté setting to manual setting and then pressure cooked for 16 minutes! 
(Recipe at end of post)
Yellow split pea soup is high in protein
The cooked Dal Before adding the spinach -

I add the freshly chopped spinach after the soup was cooked and watched the greens wilt right into the pot! So Good!

Split peas contribute fiber, vitamins, minerals and
a significant amount of protein - 16 grams per uncooked cup.
The added spinach greens makes this soup a powerhouse of good nutrition!

baby spinach

If you want to know more about Dal, here is a NY Times article 
The Why and How of Dal 

Author of the blog: Judee Algazi 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 21 minutes (Plus allow time for IP to pre-heat)
Serves: 10

My Spinach Dal Soup Recipe (American-ized) 

2 cups of diced onion 
2 cups of diced tomatoes 
1 cup of chunky salsa (mild, medium, or hot)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cracked black pepper
1/2 cup of vegetable broth to sauté (or use 2 tablespoons oil) 
1/4 teaspoon curry powder or to taste 
4 cups vegetable broth  
4 cups water
1 16 ounce package of yellow split peas
2 cups chopped fresh spinach (chopped into ribbons strands)
Himalayan salt to taste


1. Place diced onion, tomatoes, salsa, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper, in the Instant Pot. 
2. Turn on the sautee function and saute for 5 minutes in 1/2 cup of vegetable broth (stir frequently)
3, Turn off the sautee function and turn on the manual function and add the split peas, 4 cups of  broth and 4 cups of water. Cover, seal, and set to cook at high pressure for 16 minutes.
4. When soup is done, allow the steam to release naturally. (It may take 20 minutes).
5. When all steam is released (according to the manufacturers instructions), remove lid and stir in the spinach, salt, and curry powder to taste. Taste and add additional seasoning and vegetable broth if necessary especially after the soup sits (it will thicken). 

My notes and advice

1. Get an Instant Pot !!!- If you don't want one- you can cook this on the stove top -However, it will take much longer to cook and probably be a little messier.

2. Split peas may foam and expand, so make sure your IP pot is at least a 6 qt.

3 I use this one -Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker,  (affiliate link)

4. Split Pea soup tends to thicken as it sits especially by the next day- so if you find that it has become like a thick paste, just add water or vegetable broth and mix well to desired consistency before reheating.

5. Important! Add the curry powder after the soup is done cooking, otherwise your IP will smell like curry forever!!!

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Linking up with  Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series and Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sunday


  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe and interesting info about Dal and how to do it up. Wonderful ingredients. Healthy, economical, and flavorful!

    1. Hi Nancy,
      I think we both are on the same page about eating healthy! I appreciate you stopping by and leaving your comments

  2. It looks right up my alley! Delicious and healthy, Judee.

    1. Angie,
      I agree! a bowl provides protein, fiber, and nutrients making it a good choice for a delicious soup

  3. Your soup looks interesting, but its been over 90º here every day, and I don't belong to the school of thought that likes hot food in hot weather!
    best... mae at

    1. Mae,
      You know me- I like soup in the summer- but 90 might be too hot for me too.

  4. Mae,
    You are so right- I'm good with soup up to about 80 - today it's 95 NO SOUP for US today. I made this last week when it was 68-- the weather is surely vacillating!

  5. I love Indian food and I've been wanting to get an Instant Pot. This recipe sounds really good!

    1. Vicki,
      The best investment I ever made in an appliance is my instant pot!!

  6. I love spinach dal but have never tried it myself - This looks great -

    1. Thanks- as you read , it was my first attempt and it tasted awesome. However, I'm sure many people would like a more authentic version that includes hot chilis !

  7. Your dal does sound good, though I'd probably just put it in a regular pot and let it simmer for a bit. Lentils cook pretty fast. Don't you just love the amazing variety of spices in Indian food?

  8. You are right they do cook rather quickly, but there is so much less mess with the IP

  9. I love dal and this one looks really delicious. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week! ;-)

    1. Thank you Deb for hosting each week! I enjoy all your wonderful soups and book reviews!

  10. I too love dal and I think the IP is perfect for dried legumes, peas, and beans.

    1. Beth,
      Now that I use the IP - It's my only way to cook- today I'm converting a ratatouille recipe to the IP

  11. This is a great recipe for the Instant Pot! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  12. Visiting you again from another blog party. Your recipe it tops!

  13. This is superb, my husband will love this soup come winter time.
    I visited you via Weekend Traffic Jam Reboot! My entries this week are numbered #48+49
    Please join and share your posts with us


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