Fat Free Vegan Slow Cooker Indian Dal Soup With Mixed Vegetables

by on June 25, 2012

Here’s another deliciously easy and affordable fat free recipe that you and your family will love. It’s inspired from a delicious Indian soup from a local restaurant we like, and I tried to make my own version at home. It ended up tasting a little differently of course but still very delicious! It’s also very versatile and you can use any yellow split lentil like chana dal or toor dal. You can buy these lentils at ethnic markets, Indian markets or Amazon. Although these lentils look similar to yellow split peas, they are not the same, so this recipe will taste best if you use yellow split lentils instead of yellow split peas.

I really love using the slow cooker (aka Crock Pot) when I want to make something hearty but don’t have time to watch the stove, or when I’m making something that tends to take a long time to cook such as lentil and bean based dishes. It’s one of those appliances that I love using, but don’t use it all the time. Making a big batch of something in a crockpot is a great time saver when you’re looking for quick meals during the week.

If you or your family is new to Indian food, this is a really easy recipe to start with because it’s savory and mildly spiced without being too “exotic” for those not used to it.

Slow Cooker Indian Dal Soup With Mixed Vegetables

Serves 6


1 lb/454 g chana dal (split chickpeas) or toor dal (split yellow lentil)
2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
15 oz/425 g diced tomatoes
4 cups/1 qt/~1 L vegetable broth (low sodium or homemade)
4-5 cups/1 qt/~1 L water or more vegetable broth (more or less to thin as desired)
2 tbsp cumin seed
1 tsp roasted coriander powder (or regular)
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
2 tsp black mustard seeds

After dal is done cooking add:
3 cups mixed frozen vegetables or other mixed diced vegetables
1 tsp roasted cumin
1-2 tbsp. sugar or sweetener (if desired)
3/4 tsp Herbamare or salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped


  1. Pick over the dal/lentils and remove any discoloured ones or stones. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
  2. Place ingredients into slow cooker, except for frozen vegetables and additional spices and cook on low 10 hours, or high 7-8 hours. You can also cook this overnight and add the additional vegetables and seasonings the next day.
  3. When the lentils are soft and breaking apart, add the vegetables and seasonings and let cook for another 30 minutes or so. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve!

Additional Tips:

I use a 6 quart family size slow cooker like this one because I like being able to set it on a timer, as soon as the timer stops it switches it to keep warm until you’re ready to serve, so it’s really handy.

You can also try yellow split peas, but it won’t really be an Indial dal, but more an Indian spiced split pea soup. You may need to add more water as well depending on how thick or thin you like your soup.

What’s your favourite meal to cook in the slow cooker? 

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda December 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Hi. Are the cumin seeds ground or whole? Thank you.


2 Becca September 13, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Delicious and afforable are perfect adjectives! I love all the flavors and was so greatful to not end up with a bland soup. I dare say aside from the spices, the soup ingredients cost me about $7 and it produced 8-10 bowls of soup!


3 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica September 13, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Awesome thanks for letting me know 🙂 Plant based slow cooker recipes are so easy and affordable to make for a lot of food


4 Riverfarmbec August 8, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Superb! Tried this on the stovetop, served with brown rice and sliced cukes. Just looked too good to wait out the crock pot. Added a jalepeno with the onions, garlic and ginger with a little broth to soften.. Added chunks of zucchini and summer squash with the Dahl, chopped fresh tomatoes all from the garden, spices and enough vegetable broth to make a nice stew. Lovely fresh taste and soft, savory texture (no added sugar). The basic structure worked well and was ready in about 45 minutes. Family loved it! Great for using what’s in the garden and sure to be a warm winter favorite in the crockpot as written for frozen veg. Many, many thanks for such a wonderful recipe and food forum!


5 Tamee July 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM

I never used the sugar. I don’t care for sweet savory. I have not found indian food to be sweet that either. The onion made it sweet. I used a walla walla instead of two yellow onions.
I will make it again.


6 Courtney July 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Hey Veronica,

My husband and I want to try this recipe. In the ingredients, is the double entry of “veggie broth”:

4 cups/1 qt/~1 L vegetable broth (low sodium or homemade)
4-5 cups/1 qt/~1 L water or more vegetable broth (more or less to thin as desired)

A typo?

Thanks 🙂


7 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica July 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

No it’s not. You need a lot of liquid to make it. Veggie broth has much more flavor than water but store bought is expensive, so you can substitute water for half of it if necessary.


8 Em June 27, 2012 at 1:19 AM

Btw, to answer your question – my absolute favourite slow-cooker recipe from the past was my home-made baked beans – they were out of this world (imho) 🙂 – mind you, I never felt like I was really cooking – I just threw in all the ingredients and out came this magical stuff – in this recipe, two bunches of thyme really helped in the alchemy 😉


9 Em June 27, 2012 at 1:14 AM

One more question: do you think it would work Ok with dates as the sweetener? I’m thinking I’d put the soaked dates in at the beginning of the cooking process rather than in the last thirty mins – is that right? I guess one or two would be equal to the 1-2 tbsp sweetener you have listed…


10 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica July 2, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Dates are fine for sweetener if you blend them really well with some water. I used to use that, but sometimes I just use maple syrup now because it’s quick and taste so delicious. Try it out with 2 blended dates. They also vary in size so you just have to try it.


11 Em June 27, 2012 at 1:09 AM

Sounds great! Will make it for my friend – though I gave away my slow cooker when I changed to a high-fruit diet (used to use it at least three-four times a week)… But you know, I still think it’s a useful item to have to cook for others in winter – so that’s it! Am getting another one!

Am assuming if I use frozen chopped veg, that it needs to be thawed before putting it in – especially for the thirty min cooking time you give it. Sorry if that sounds like the dumbest question ever…


12 Carla June 26, 2012 at 4:49 PM

That soup looks so yummy, I can wait to try it.
I’ll have to buy some lentils tomorrow.
I’ve never used toor dal, but I’m sure that it will taste nice.
Do you have to soak the lentils before use?


13 john June 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

hello, good to see indian recipe dairy free. how long to cook in dutch oven ? i do not use slow electrical cooker.


14 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica June 26, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I don’t have a dutch oven and I have not used one. I would assume similar times, you want to cook it over a low flame so you don’t get lentils burned to the bottom and cook until tender. You may need a very large dutch oven, or 1/2 the recipe for a small one.


15 Marie Kellett June 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM

The soup looks wonderful. I am assuming the chickpeas are dried ones. I am looking forward to trying this recipe.

Marie Kellett


16 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica June 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Yes of course, you cannot buy split chickpeas cooked, they come dried. These are not whole.


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