Quick and Healthy Indian Themed Dinners

Welcome to Northern India, where cooking is an important family affair and meals are full of flavor. Big Indian families lead to many helpful hands in the kitchen and traditional recipes might take all day to prepare. Hinduism is the largest religion in India, which is why there are many vegetarian dishes. A typical Northern Indian meal uses rice and beans as staple foods paired with vegetables and Indian spices, such as curry.

Want to try using Indian staple foods and flavors in a quick, tasty meal? You can recreate Indian dishes with less effort and time by using a slow cooker. Slow cookers can cook all day while you’re at work, leaving you with a tasty meal ready to serve when you walk in the door. Turn traditional Indian dishes (and your favorite stovetop recipes) into a slow cooker recipe with these tips.

Try this tasty Lentil Dal slow cooker recipe that features common Indian foods and flavors.

Lentil Dal with NaanIngredients

  • 1 ¼ cup of water
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup tomato chopped
  • ⅔ cup dried lentils
  • ½ cup chopped onion (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or ⅛ teaspoon dried ground ginger)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric ground
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • Dried or fresh chopped cilantro for garnish


  • Add ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low for eight hours.
  • Serve over rice or with naan, a traditional Indian flatbread, and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!
  • To make this recipe even easier, use a ready-made curry mix in place of ginger, cumin, turmeric, garlic, and cilantro.

More Shortcuts for Quicker Indian Dishes

  • Save time and buy ready-to-use ingredients such as canned beans or premixed Indian spices.
  • Skip washing, rinsing, and chopping fresh veggies by using frozen versions.
  • Make a double portion of your recipe and freeze half to use later. On busy weeknights, you’ll have a meal that’s ready to eat as soon as it’s reheated!
  • Batch cook side dishes, like brown rice or roasted veggies, to eat with different meals throughout the week.
  • Use one-pot meals to save time on clean up. Soups, stews, curries, and other saucy dishes can be made on the stove top or in a slow cooker. Cook your veggies in the same pot with your protein  – no need to dirty another dish.

Dishes from Northern India are a great way to try new foods and flavors. With these tips, you don’t have to worry about long cooking times! What’s your favorite Indian dish or slow cooker recipe?

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