Slow Cooker Indian-Style Dal Tacos

Slow Cooker Indian Tacos

Each December, my children’s school hosts a craft fair that is as homespun as they come. Parents and middle schoolers spend months making handmade goods that range from colorful sock puppets to delicate wreaths crafted from tree branches. An entire section of the fair is devoted to edible crafts, mostly cookies and cupcakes made by fledgling young cooks. Tempting as the sweets may be, though, my favorite booth is manned by one of the teachers whose family hail from India. He brews up a pot of savory lentils called dal, which he spoons over tortillas, finishing the whole business with yogurt and chutney. Lines form to buy one (or several) of these Indian-style dal tacos. They’re often the first to sell out.

What Are Indian-Style Dal Tacos?

Today’s easy recipe is a nod to those craft fair tacos. It comes courtesy of our crock pot experts Jane McKay and Meg Barnhart of the Zen of Slow Cooking. And while it might sound sort of unusal, the recipe calls for familiar ingredients and requires minimal fuss in the kitchen. Lentils stew alongside ginger and a host of Indian spices until tender and flavorful. The result is not only delicious, but a nutrient powerhouse, packed with protein, folate, fiber, and iron.

Health Benefits of Lentils

Clearly this isn’t your typical taco recipe. Aside from the fact that it’s not remotely Mexican, it’s also made with lentils instead of more standard beans. Lentils are a nutrient-packed legume that provides protein, fiber, and a decent dose of iron, which can be hard to come by if you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Adding yogurt means a dose of probiotics and a hit of protein to boot. Choose a whole-grain tortilla and you get even more fiber in every taco.

How to Make Slow Cooker Tacos

You start by sautéeing onion with ginger and garlic until tender. Then, in goes a variety of Indian spices to perfume your pot. After that, everything gets transferred to the slow cooker, where it stews for a couple of hours until tender. Once the lentils are done, it’s a matter of assembly. I like to spoon the fixings into a small flour tortilla, but corn will do the trick, too. To finish, add a dollop of plain yogurt, fresh cilantro, and Indian chutney if you have one on hand.

Top Tips to Make Indian-Style Dal Tacos

Here are a few simple tips to make a successful pot of these healthy tacos:

  • Be sure to pick through the lentils before using to eliminate any tiny stones or debris.
  • This recipe relies heavily on spices. Check to make sure yours aren’t antiques. If they’ve been in the pantry more than a year or two, it might be time to replace them.
  • Tortillas are that much tastier when slightly blistered, either directly over a gas burner, or in a pan set on the stove.
  • This is an entirely vegetarian recipe. If you prefer it to be vegan, look for a plain, plant-based yogurt.
  • If you want to make this for a bigger crowd, feel free to double the recipe.

When you’re lentils are done and everything is on the table, you’ve got a meal worthy of family dinner, or perhaps, your next craft fair.

Be sure to check out these other tasty vegan recipes!

Coconut Lime Chickpea Stew

Instant Pot Rice and Vegetable Soup

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

Green Lentil Daal by Slow The Cook Down

Vegan Enchiladas by Oh She Glows


Slow Cooker Indian Tacos
4.75 from 4 votes

Slow Cooker Indian-Style Dal Tacos

An easy slow cooker recipe that gives traditional tacos a decidedly Indian spin. Lentils are seasoned with south Asian spices and then piled onto tortillas with yogurt, cilantro, and if you happen to have it in your pantry, Indian chutney.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 475 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • 1 ½ cups French green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 2 medium diced carrots
  • 2- inch piece minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 Corn or small flour tortillas
  • Garnishes: roughly chopped cilantro, plain yogurt, favorite Indian chutney


  1. Pick through the lentils to be sure there is no debris or tiny stones.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion, carrot, ginger, garlic and optional jalapeno. Saute gently for 3 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric, cumin and curry powder and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the tomato paste, lentils and broth and stir well to combine the ingredients.
  3. Cook on high for 2 ½ hours until the lentils are tender. Add the salt, stir, and taste to see if more salt is needed. 

  4. When ready to serve the lentils, warm the tortillas directly over a gas burner or in a cast iron skillet until just slightly blistered. Store in a clean dish towel until ready to serve. Make tacos by topping a tortilla with a generous spoonful of lentils, a dollop of yogurt, a pinch of fresh cilantro, and if you have it, a dab of your favorite Indian chutney.

Recipe Notes

Very slightly adapted and used with permission from the Zen of Slow Cooking, where you can find an abundance of fabulous slow cooker recipes.



05.19.2015 at10:14 AM #

[email protected] Athletic avocado

these look so good! pinning 🙂

05.19.2015 at10:14 AM #


Thanks Rachel! And so easy.

05.19.2015 at1:39 PM #

Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

Such a good idea! My two favorite cuisines! Mexican and Indian! Ah!

05.19.2015 at1:39 PM #


Two of my favorites on one plate too!

05.20.2015 at12:39 AM #


!!!! Those are the best!!!

05.20.2015 at12:39 AM #


Perhaps you need an SF field trip come December!

05.21.2015 at9:06 AM #

aida mollenkamp

These sound delicious!

12.28.2015 at11:38 AM #

Jessica @ Nutritioulicious

Most popular recipe of 2015? I’ll definitely be giving this one a try!

01.09.2016 at12:25 AM #

Katie B - Australia

We’ve been enjoying these every couple of weeks since you posted them. We’re a mad keen on Mexican family so I love tha my two little people (4 and 7) adore these meat free options.

Thanks for an awesome blog Katie (great name btw) I’ve introduced a bunch of my friends to it, you make me look great on a regular basis. Here’s to a magnificent 2016!

01.09.2016 at12:25 AM #


Hi Katie

So nice to hear from you. We’re big fans of those tacos, too. I so appreciate you spreading the word down under. Happy 2016 to you too.

09.24.2017 at8:24 PM #


These were terrific!

09.24.2017 at8:24 PM #


Probably my favorite slow cooker dinner recipe. Glad you liked it too.

10.28.2017 at1:59 PM #


Can I use Red Lentils instead of the green lentils?

10.28.2017 at1:59 PM #


Without having made it with red lentils, I couldn’t say what to expect in terms of results. Red lentils cook much more quickly than other lentils and they also tend to fall apart a bit more, so it might be a bit mushy. If you want to use red lentils, I’d suggest making my Red lentil coconut curry soup.

09.06.2018 at7:48 PM #

Rebecca E Case


09.10.2019 at5:03 AM #


I added 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Turmeric is so good for you, but the piperine in the black pepper increases the bio-availability. It looks like a great recipe and I can’t wait to try it.

09.10.2019 at5:03 AM #


Great addition! And yes, you are right about the turmeric and black pepper.

09.10.2019 at1:47 PM #


Would this work in an instant pot?

09.10.2019 at1:47 PM #


Hi Christine, I definitely think this recipe lends itself to the Instant Pot. That said, I’ve not tried it, so can’t say how to adjust the liquid and cooking time. A little Google research on cooking lentils on the IP might provide some insight.

07.10.2020 at10:24 AM #


Hi Katie. I’m such a fan – thx for all you do. These sound delish & I’d like to make them this afternoon. Quick Q for you: I don’t have a slow cooker. Instead, could I put in my Le Creuset, in the oven, at say 300 or so for a couple hours? Is that too hot, or too long? I’d appreciate any thoughts.

07.10.2020 at10:24 AM #


Absolutely. Maybe set it to 300. I’ve never done it this way, but I’m guessing cooking time would be closer to an hour and I’d keep an eye on the liquid to see if it needs more. Let me know how it goes.

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