Instant Pot Spinach Dal, popularly called Dal Palak in India. This is a comforting lentil soup with spinach mixed in it for extra nutrition. It is so easy to make it in the pressure cooker. Enjoy it with basmati rice or as a soup. This is a vegetarian & gluten-free recipe.

Dal Palak (Lentils with spinach) in a pretty bowl with rice on the side
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I love this lentil soup as it packs the nutrition of lentils and spinach in a single bowl. It is the perfect comforting dinner to make for the whole family.

Make this dal palak in the instant pot, along with pot-in-pot rice to make a complete meal at once. My weeknights are sorted with these easy instant pot dal recipes.

Don’t forget to check out these 29 Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes

Watch How to Make Spinach Dal

What is Spinach Dal?

Spinach dal is nothing but lentils cooked with spinach. In India, this dal is made in every region. However, every region has its own recipe. In North India, it is called dal palak. In the Andhra region of South India, it is called Palakura Pappu, and in Tamil Nadu, it is called Paruppu Keerai Masiyal.

I used split pigeon peas or Toor dal to make this Spinach Dahl. You can also vary the lentils to use masoor dal (red lentils), yellow moong dal, or a combination. Toor Dal, also called Arhar Dal, packs 20 grams of protein in 1 cup of cooked dal.  Spinach provides a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Give this dal a try, and I am sure you will make it again…and again!

Curious about pulses used in Indian cooking? Check out my detailed guide about Indian Pulses.

How to Make Spinach Dal in Instant Pot?

Start with gathering the ingredients for the dal.

ingredients for Dal Palak
Ingredients for Dal Palak

Start with heating ghee or oil in the instant pot steel insert and add the tempering ingredients – cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, and green chilies.  I usually use homemade ghee when making dal, but for a vegan variation, use any plant-based oil.

You can also add asafoetida (or hing) at this time. Skip it for a gluten-free version of the dal.

Then add the tomatoes and spices.  Then the washed lentils.  Now we are ready to pressure cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.

I add spinach after the lentils are cooked.  Lentils take longer to cook, and I don’t like my spinach overcooked, so I add it after cooking the lentils. It also helps to retain the bright green color of spinach.

Steps to make dal with pot-in-pot rice in the instant pot

When the pressure cooking is done, open the instant pot lid and add the chopped spinach, lime juice, and garam masala.  Stir well and let it rest for 2-3 minutes.  At this time, the spinach would have mixed well with the lentils.

Steps for dal palak in instant pot with basmati rice

The dal is perfectly cooked and ready to enjoy. Optionally, you can also add an extra boost of tempering at the end.

Dal Palak (Lentils with spinach) in a pretty bowl with rice on the side

How to make Dal Palak in Pressure Cooker?

Traditionally, Dal was cooked with salt, and tempering was done separately in a pan. Here, I suggest a one-pot method, so the dal, tempered with ginger, garlic, and tomatoes, cooks along with the lentils.

The main difference from the above method for instant pot is the pressure cooking time on the stovetop. We will pressure cook on a high flame until two whistles, then switch off the flame. Then, let the pressure release naturally by itself. Everything else remains the same.

Spinach dal in the pressure cooker

You can add some lime juice for a tangy taste. Enjoy the Spinach Dal with rice or just as a soup.  I had this spinach dal with rice and leftovers the next day as soup.

How to Serve?

This Dal Palak pairs perfectly with basmati rice. You can also pair it with quinoa or cauliflower rice.

Sometimes we also like to add a bit of tempering to the dal when serving. This is the red color oil (or ghee) along with sautéed garlic you see on the top of the bowl of dal in the pictures.

To make the tempering, in a small pan, heat ghee or oil. Add some cumin seeds and finely diced or sliced garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until the garlic becomes golden in color. Then, take the pan off the heat and add a pinch of red chili powder. I prefer Kashmiri red chili powder, as it is not spicy.

Drizzle this tempering over the dal when serving. It adds such a beautiful pop of color!

Spinach dal served with rice garnished with onions and lime

Variations

Make it Vegan: Replace ghee with your favorite plant-based oil to make this recipe vegan.

Vary the Greens: You can use kale or fenugreek leaves (methi) in this recipe instead of spinach. You can also add veggies such as pumpkin to make pumpkin dal.

Palak Chana Dal: To make this recipe with Chana Dal (split chickpeas), follow the same steps, but cook the dal for 15 minutes under high pressure.

Palak Moong Dal: This recipe can be made with yellow moong dal or red Masoor Dal. The cooking time will remain the same.

Andhra Palakura Pappu: To make this recipe Andhra style, use mustard and cumin seeds. Saute 1/2 onions of onions for a couple of minutes before adding in tomatoes. You can use tamarind in place of lime juice at the end too.

Lentils with spinach Instant Pot. Pressure Cooker Dal Palak

Common Questions

How to store leftover dal?

Leftover cooked dal can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in an airtight container. You can also freeze the dal for up to 4 months.
Transfer to the refrigerator to defrost, then reheat in the microwave for 1-3 minutes, depending on the quantity of dal.

Is dal palak healthy?

Yes, with the nutrition of lentils and spinach, this dal is rich in protein and fiber. Hence it is a balanced and healthy addition to your meal.

spinach dal served with rice in a white plate

Try this Spinach Dal and let me know how it turned out.  Leave a comment below.

If you like this recipe, you might like other lentil recipes

4.84 from 95 votes

Pressure Cooker Spinach Dal (Dal Palak Recipe)

Spinach Dal, also called Dal Palak, is a comforting lentil soup with added spinach made in the Pressure Cooker.  It is so easy to make it in the pressure cooker. Enjoy it with basmati rice or as a soup. This is a vegetarian & gluten-free recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Spices

For pot-in-pot basmati rice (optional)

Instructions 

Instant Pot Method

  • Start the instant pot in SAUTE mode and heat oil in it. Add cumin seeds, green chili, ginger and garlic. 
  • Saute for 30 seconds until garlic turns golden brown, then add chopped tomato, lentils, spices and water. Stir well.
  • (Optional) Place the trivet. In a bowl, add all ingredients for basmati  rice and place it on top of the trivet.
    Steps to make dal with pot-in-pot rice in the instant pot
  • Press CANCEL and close the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position. Press MANUAL or Pressure Cook mode for 5 minutes. After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually (5 minute NPR). Open the lid.
  • (Optional) Using tongs, carefully take out the bowl of basmati rice. Then take out the trivet. 
  • Add chopped spinach, lime juice and garam masala. Give it a good stir. Let the dal rest for 2-3 minutes. The spinch with soften and mix with the dal.
    Steps for dal palak in instant pot with basmati rice
  • Spinach dal is ready to be served. Enjoy over rice or as a soup.
    Dal Palak in a pretty bowl topped with tempering

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method

  • Heat oil in the pressure cooker on medium-high flame. Add cumin seeds, green chili, ginger and garlic.
  • Saute for 30 seconds until garlic turns golden brown, then add chopped tomato, lentils, spices and water. Stir well.
  • Cover the lid, turn the heat on high flame and pressure cook it until your hear two whistles. Turn off heat and let the pressure release naturally. 
  • Open the lid and add chopped spinach, lime juice and garam masala. Give it a good stir. Let the dal rest for 2-3 minutes. The spinch with soften and mix with the dal.
  • Spinach dal is ready to be served over rice or as a soup!

Video

Notes

Make it Vegan: Replace ghee with your favorite plant based oil to make this recipe vegan.
Green Chili Pepper: I typically use Thai, Birdeye or Serrano Chili Pepper in my recipes. Don’t forget to adjust the amount to your taste.
Vary the Greens: You can use kale or fenugreek leaves (methi) in this recipe in place of spinach.
Vary the Dal: This recipe can me made with yellow moong dal or red Masoor Dal too. The cooking time will remain the same. To make this recipe with Chana Dal (split chickpeas), follow the same steps but cook the dal for 15 minutes on high pressure.
Note: Nutrition facts do not include calories from rice ingredients.  

Nutrition

Calories: 224kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 13gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 650mgPotassium: 646mgFiber: 16gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1740IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 5mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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4.84 from 95 votes (65 ratings without comment)

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86 Comments

  1. Tried this Dal, after a very long time, turned out to be amazing, my children loved it, the entire family relished it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    1. Delicious. The balance of spices, garlic, and ginger was perfect. A great vegan-friendly meal.
      Thank you!
      Svetlana