overhead image of a lentil and bean stew in a white bowl set on a gray table with naan bread stuck in the bowl

Madras Lentils

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 5 cups (4 servings) 1x
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop/one pot
  • Cuisine: Indian


Slightly smoky and spicy, this vegetarian lentil dish is hearty and bold. Serve with warm naan bread or over rice for a delicious and quick weeknight meal. 



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry black beluga lentils
  • 1 (14-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Cilantro, canned coconut milk, naan bread and/or rice for serving


Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven or medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, ginger and garlic; cook until vegetables are softened, 4–6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, garam masala, cumin, salt, paprika, and red pepper flakes; cook 1 minute.

Stir in broth and lentils, increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Stir in beans, vinegar, and honey; season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve lentils over rice or with naan bread, top with cilantro and a drizzle of coconut milk or half and half (optional).

Store lentils in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 


Make it more traditional: You can use black glam/whole urad in place of the black beluga lentils, just be sure to soak the dry lentils 8 hours before using. Drain and rinse, and use as directed in the recipe. You can also leave out the red bell pepper and add a minced jalapeño or serrano. 

Lentil options: If you can’t find black beluga lentils, you can also use green or brown lentils. Decrease the cook time by 5 or 10 minutes and check it frequently towards the end of cooking. 

Make it vegan: use olive oil instead of butter and use sugar or maple syrup instead of honey. 


  • Serving Size: 1 ¼ cups
  • Calories: 214
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 951mg
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 31g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg

Keywords: Madras Lentils, Dal Maharani, Dal Makhani