Instant Pot Split Pea Dal

Overhead closeup view of split pea dal with pickled red onions

This Instant Pot Split Pea Dal comes together with minimal effort with the help of your electric pressure cooker. These delicious bowls of dal are topped with quick-pickled red onion and tangy yogurt for an unforgettable, vegetarian meal that’s perfect for Meatless Monday or any day of the week.

Growing up, my dad was a vegetarian, and I fondly remember eating Indian food with him. One of the first dishes he introduced me to, and my favorite still to this day is dal (or dahl). The versions of dal that I’ve eaten in the past have always been made with lentils – green, red, or yellow – but I recently came across a recipe on Bon Apetit that used split peas. And, since I had some split peas on hand from this recipe, I decided that I had to try it right away.

I did make a few tweaks to the original recipe, however. Their original recipe called for yellow split peas. I only had the traditional green variety on hand, so I swapped those in. I also adapted the recipe so that it could be made in my Instant Pot – I just love how easy, and hands off the Instant Pot makes the process, so you’ll pretty much find me using it whenever I can. As with other Instant Pot recipes I’ve tested, I find that when cooked in the Instant Pot, the spices become a bit less noticeable, so I amped up the spices in this Instant Pot Split Pea Dal a bit too – adding in a good dash of my favorite spice, cumin, and a pinch of cayenne for some heat. Of course, if you’re sensitive to heat, you can always cut back on the cayenne, but I did not find it to be very spicy at all. If you are a fan of heat, definitely feel free to add in a bit more. You can even adjust the heat at the end of the cooking process.

I’ve been participating in the Half-Cup Habit program, which means I’m doing my best to get in at least ½ cup of pulses into my diet three times per week. “Pulses” are the dry, edible seeds of plants in the legume family, which includes chickpeas, lentils, beans and the split peas found in this Instant Pot Split Pea Dal. They’re naturally high in protein and fiber, but low in fat. And, if you’re looking for ways to eat healthier, sneaking pulses into your daily routine is definitely a great way to do it.

While this Instant Pot Split Peal Dal takes just 15 minutes of cooking time, you will also need to account for the time it takes for the pressure to build and release in the Instant Pot. When I tested this recipe, it took about 15 minutes for the pressure to build, and then I let the pressure release naturally at the end of the cooking time for 10 minutes too – So, overall (with prep time) this recipe should take you about 45 minutes from start to finish.

But my favorite part is that because the Instant Pot makes the cooking process so hands off (no stirring or babysitting the pot) it leaves you plenty of time to prepare the toppings and rice that you’ll want when serving up the dal.

The topping are simple – but stunning. A bit of quick-pickled red onion makes an amazing contrast with the otherwise boring looking dal. To make them, just thin slice some red onion and give it a quick massage with a bit of lime juice, lime zest and some salt and sugar. These onions are so good and so easy, they make just replace my traditional pickled red onions. And, to add a bit more tang and creaminess, a swirl of salt and pepper seasoned Greek yogurt goes in at the end too.

Overhead shot of split pea dal in bowl served with lime wedges on the side.overhead closeup of instant pot split pea dal next to bowl of yogurt and rice

Serve it all up on a bed of basmati rice and prepare to be wowed by this vegetarian dinner. You’ll not only want it for Meatless Monday, but every day of the week. PS – This Instant Pot Lentil Dal can also be made totally vegan if you just omit the yogurt.

Overhead closeup view of split pea dal with pickled red onions

Instant Pot Split Pea Dal

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Time for pressure to build and release: 25 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 362 kcal

This Instant Pot Split Pea Dal comes together with minimal effort with the help of your electric pressure cooker. These delicious bowls of dal are topped with quick-pickled red onion and tangy yogurt for an unforgettable, vegetarian meal that’s perfect for Meatless Monday or any day of the week. 

Print

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely grated
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger peeled and finely grated (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne more if you like your indian food spicy
  • cups dried split peas rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For Serving:

  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped + extra for garnish
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked basmati rice

Quick Pickled Red Onion:

  • 1 small red onion very thinly sliced into rounds, rinsed
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • Pinch of sugar

Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to SAUTE, add heat the oil. Add onions and a pinch of salt and sauté until softened, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne  and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Hit the CANCEL button and add split peas, water, tomatoes, salt and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  4. Cover and seal the lid - turn the vent to sealing. Press the MANUAL (high pressure) button and set the timer to 10 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then the display will show a countdown timer.
  5. Meanwhile, make your toppings.
  6. In a small bowl, combine lime zest and juice, red onion, sugar, and a large pinch of salt. Massage the onion for 1 minute to help it soften.
  7. Mix yogurt and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Once the 10 minutes are up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.
  9. Open the lid, stir in the cilantro and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  10. Serve dal over rice drizzled with yogurt and topped with pickled onion and additional cilantro.

If you loved this Instant Pot Split Pea Dal I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Split Pea Dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 362 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 326mg 14%
Potassium 993mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 53g 18%
Dietary Fiber 20g 80%
Sugars 9g
Protein 21g 42%
Vitamin A 15.9%
Vitamin C 21.7%
Calcium 10%
Iron 23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post was sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.

Wine Pairings for Instant Pot Split Pea Dal:

  • Look for an off-dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer to compliment this well spiced Indian dal.

overhead closeup of instant pot split pea dal next to bowl of yogurt and rice

Be sure to sign up for the Half-Cup Habit, and see how easy it can be to add ½ cup serving of pulses to your diet 3x per week. Just one serving of this sound has a cup of pulses, making it even easier to get those benefits!

Here are some other delicious recipes containing pulses to help make that Half-Cup Habit happen:

Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

Hearty Sausage, Kale & Lentil Soup

This Hearty Sausage, Kale & Lentil Soup will warm you up and keep you wanting more! | platingsandpairings.com

Instant Pot Persian Beef Stew

Overhead shot of instant pot persian beef stew in bowl with rice

Slow Cooker Chipotle Lentil Soup

Slow Cooker Chipotle Lentil Soup is a warm and comforting hearty soup that’s perfect for chilly Fall days! The chipotle peppers give it a bit of heat and a great smoky flavor. | platingsandpairings.com

Instant Pot Split Pea Dal comes together with minimal effort with the help of your electric pressure cooker. These delicious bowls of dal are topped with quick-pickled red onion and tangy yogurt for an unforgettable, vegetarian meal that’s perfect for Meatless Monday or any day of the week. #instantpotrecipe #instantpot #dal #splitpeadal #yellowdal #dahl

9 comments

  1. Meg

    This looks fantastic! A great way to use the Instant Pot.

    Reply

  2. Debbie

    I haven’t tried the recipe yet. Just trying to learn about pressure cooking right now, but I have cooked a bunch of Indian recipes.

    Re the spicing, Indian recipes tend to saute their spices for much longer than 1 minute, adding a little liquid in the form of tomato, yogurt or both part way through the saute. They also often add a pinch of garam masala or sauteed spices at the end of cooking. It brings out a lot of depth of flavor.

    Bean and whole grain recipes take a long time on the stovetop, though! Looking forward to trying your pressure cooker methods.

    Reply

  3. Aimee

    This looks so delicious and it’s a combo of flavors I’d never even think to put together. I can’t wait to try this out for my own meatless Monday and am sending the recipe to my sister-in-law too since practices it as well. Love this recipe, Erin!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Thanks Aimee – This is definitely a perfect recipe for Meatless Monday! I hope you both love it!

      Reply

  4. cakespy

    Looks absolutely wonderful. So cozy for these final frigid days of winter (no matter what the calendar says it doesn’t feel like spring yet!)

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Right?! I’ll still be eating comfort food for at least a few more weeks I think.

      Reply

  5. Lynn D.

    This was fantastic! The condiments are essential, they make a rather dreary looking dish look (and taste) beautiful. Meatless Monday has never been so elegant. Wine pairing was delicious also.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad you liked it Lynn! Cheers!

      Reply

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