Vegan Red Lentil Indian Sambar Recipe

Sambar, lentil dish. Indian food
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  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4

Sambar (sometimes spelled sambhar) is a popular vegetarian Indian food dish, and this spicy lentil vegetarian sambar recipe is vegan as well. It's made with red lentils, mustard seeds, onion and fiery green chilies. Vegetarian red lentil sambar recipe reprinted with permission from "Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes" by chef Robin Robertson.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.

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What You'll Need

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 hot green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sambar powder(see note below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

How to Make It

Note: If you don't have a local Indian grocery source for sambar powder, here's how to make your own sambar masala.

  1. Combine the lentils and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until soft, 30 minutes. Set aside, do not drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the onion, garlic, chiles, and ginger and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, then add the sambar powder, coriander, cayenne, cumin, and salt.
  1. Add the carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and eggplant. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add the vegetable mixture to the reserved lentils, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 20 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more water.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro and cook 5 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Vegetarian Indian red lentil sambar recipe reprinted with permission from "Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes" by chef Robin Robertson.

If you like this vegetarian lentil sambar recipe, you might also want to try some more vegetarian Indian recipes, such as non-dairy lassi, vegetarian palak paneer or vegetarian aloo gobi.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 436
Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Unsaturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 166 mg
Carbohydrates 74 g
Dietary Fiber 16 g
Protein 21 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)