difference between lentils and dahl (daal, dhal, dal)

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For the last two months I have been experimenting a lot with lentil recipies on custommealplanner because of their amazing benefits:

  • high in protein
  • inexpensive
  • very fast cooking, no overnight soaking required
  • high in fiber
  • great neutral flavor

When you search for lentils on Amazon, often you get dahl showing up in the searches. By the way, dahl is also spelled as dal, daal, dail, and dhal – its all the same thing.  Anyway, I bought a bunch of dahl because it was cheaper and I assumed it was the same thing.  As you can see here, they look very similar.


Difference between dahl and lentils

There are many varieties of both dahl and lentils and lots of colors from greens to browns, yellows, and oranges.  All of these come from the same basic plant which is why its so confusing when you are shopping for lentils/dahl online.  The thing that is not explained anywhere online is that processing is the only difference!  Lentils are the whole legume.  Dahl is the legume with the husk removed.  Both are very high in protein but dahl has almost no fiber and lentils have a lot.  Think of it this way, dahl is polished white rice and lentils are brown rice.  Thanks to Abhishek on Facebook for help in making sense of all the conflicting information.   Lets take a look at the nutritional labels:


In terms of protein and carbs, dahl and lentils are very similar but the big difference is with the fiber.  Dahl is nearly fiberless like a grain whereas lentils are packed with fiber.  Not only is fiber excellent for GI health but is recommended for disease prevention as well.  Blah, blah, blah.  Let me get your attention: fiber is better for fat loss because it fills you up with fewer calories :)

Red Lentils Dahl
portion size 52g 52g
calories 190 152
protein 13 (27%) 10 (26%)
carbs 32 (67%) 27 (71%)
fiber 14 1
fat 1 1

Lentil and dahl recipes

Here is my favorite recipe because its so easy.  Easy to me means no chopping and no fresh ingredients required so you can keep the supplies to make this in your pantry for months.  You dump the stuff in a pot which takes about 60 seconds then you cook it – easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Here is the recipe for spicy lentil dahl


Use lentils, not dahl.