Easy Lentil Curry » Joyful Dumplings

This Lentil Curry is a simple yet delicious meal. With everyday ingredients like lentils, veggies, red curry paste, coconut milk, and some spices, it yields amazing results. You’ll feel like a pro chef making it, and everyone will love it.

curried red lentils recipe

It’s reminiscent of the cozy, comforting curries from your favorite restaurant but is so easy to prepare at home. When you cook this lentil red curry, the whole house smells amazing.

It’s a comfort food for those cozy nights in or when you’re craving something hearty but don’t want to spend forever cooking. Perfect for a chill night when you desire something both tasty and simple.

Trust me, once you try this, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your meal rotation.

coconut curried lentils
  • Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber, making this dish not only tasty but also incredibly nutritious.
  • Lentils are an affordable ingredient that makes this dish economical without compromising on taste or nutrition.
  • The addition of coconut milk gives this curry a creamy texture and a hint of sweetness that balances the spices beautifully.
  • This one pot recipe is a lifesaver on busy days. With simple prep and cooking steps, you’ll have a delicious meal ready in no time.
  • Serve it as a main dish with rice, as a side, or even as a filling for wraps. It’s versatile enough to fit into any meal plan.
  • Mild yet flavorful, this curry is a hit with both adults and kids. It’s a great way to introduce more plant-based meals to your family.

Serves: 4-5 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes

lentil curry vegan
  • ¾ cup/150g green or French lentils
  • ½ large/135g red onion, diced
  • 2 small/125g carrots (1 large), peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk/115g celery, diced
  • 1 medium/150g red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp/30ml neutral oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1-2 tbsp/15-30ml Thai red curry paste* (See notes)
  • ½ tsp/1g ground yellow mustard seed**
  • 1-2 tsp/4-8g coconut sugar or palm sugar
  • 3/4 tsp/3-6g salt
  • 1 cup/235ml vegetable broth
  • ½ cup/120ml water
  • 1 2/3 cup/400ml coconut milk
  • ½ cup/8g loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp/15-30ml lime juice
  • To serve: Cooked basmati or jasmine rice

curried lentil soup

1. Finely dice the onion, celery, and carrot.

2. In a large pan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until starting to go translucent.

3. Add the lentils, curry paste, and ground mustard. Cook, stirring consistently for 1 minute, to toast the curry paste.

4. Add the carrot, celery, broth, and ½ cup/120ml water. Stir to distribute and scrape up any curry from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

lentils and curry recipe

5. Slice the red pepper into strips about ¼”/6mm or less. Wash and dry the cilantro and coarsely chop.

6. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the sugar, ½ tsp/3g salt, red pepper, and coconut milk.

7. Cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender.

8. Add in the cilantro and 1 tbsp/15ml lime juice. Stir and adjust lime and salt to taste. Serve over rice.

NOTES

  • *The amount of Thai red curry paste needed will depend on your spice tolerance and the brand. Recipe demonstrated with 1 ½ tbsp.
  • **Mustard helps boost umami flavors.
red lentil curry

🥗 Garam masala or cumin seeds -Add a pinch of garam masala or cumin seeds for an authentic Indian flavor. Stir these in with the curry paste for a deeper flavor.

🥗 Basmati rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice – Serve with basmati rice, brown rice, or for a low-carb option, try cauliflower rice. Each brings a unique texture and taste to the dish.

🥗 Instant Pot or slow cooker – This recipe is perfect for an Instant Pot or slow cooker. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly for an easy lentil curry.

🥗 Spinach or cauliflower – Feel free to add vegetables like spinach or cauliflower. They can be stirred in at the end and simmered until just tender.

🥗 Crushed tomatoes – For a tangy twist, add some crushed tomatoes. They bring a nice acidity and richness to the curry.

🥗 Green lentils, brown lentils, or split red lentils -You can use green lentils, brown lentils, or even split red lentils. Just note that cooking times may vary slightly.

lentils madras recipe

Lentils, a key ingredient in many lentil recipes, including lentil soup and vegan curry, are a powerhouse of nutrition.

Here’s why they’re great in dishes like red lentil curry or creamy coconut lentil curry:

  • Rich in Protein: Lentils are an excellent source of protein, crucial for body repair and muscle growth. This makes them a great choice in vegan or vegetarian recipes, especially for dishes like vegan lentil curry or chickpea curry.
  • High in Fiber: They help in digestion and keep you full longer, which is beneficial if you’re trying to manage your weight. Fiber is also essential for a healthy digestive system.
  • Packed with Nutrients: Lentils contain essential nutrients like iron, folate, and manganese. They are also a good source of potassium and B vitamins.
  • Dietary Flexibility: Whether you’re making a curry on the stove or a coconut curry in a pressure cooker, lentils are perfect for those who prefer gluten-free or vegan diets. They can be used in place of meat in recipes like butter chicken for a vegetarian or vegan alternative.
  • Cool Down: After your lentil curry is made, especially if it’s a creamy curry with coconut milk, let it cool to room temperature. If you’ve made a tofu curry or a lentil curry without coconut milk, the same rule applies.
  • Airtight Container: Transfer the cooled curry into an airtight container. This is crucial to maintain the flavor and prevent any fridge odors from seeping in.
  • Refrigerator Storage: Place the airtight container in the fridge. Your curry will stay good for up to 5 days. This method works great whether you’ve used red lentils, brown lentils, or green lentils.
  • Freezing Option: For longer storage, you can freeze the curry. Lentil curry freezes well, and the flavors often meld and deepen over time. Just make sure to leave some room in the container for expansion.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to eat, you can reheat the curry on the stove or in the microwave. If it’s too thick, add a little water to bring back the right consistency. Remember to heat to low and stir the pot occasionally to ensure even warming.
  • Serving Suggestion: Enjoy your reheated lentil curry with fresh naan or white rice. If you’ve added Indian spices like 1 teaspoon of ground coriander or ginger, you’ll find that the flavors have intensified beautifully over time.
  • Note on Coconut Oil: If you used coconut oil in a large pot to make your curry, you might notice the oil solidifying in the fridge. This is normal and will melt once reheated.

LENTIL RECIPES

Vegan Lentil Tacos with Sweet Potatoes: This recipe combines the heartiness of lentils with the sweetness of potatoes. It’s a great recipe that’s perfect for a fun and filling meal. 

Vegan Lentil Bolognese Recipe: This is a must-try for anyone who loves a good Bolognese but wants a plant-based version.

CURRY RECIPES

Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry: This dish is a creative vegan spin on the classic Japanese Katsu Curry. It features crispy tofu as a delicious alternative to the usual meat, coated in a golden, crunchy layer and served with a rich, flavorful curry sauce.

The Best Mild Thai Green Curry: For lovers of milder flavors, this Thai Green Curry is a dream come true. It’s a gentle yet flavorful dish that uses Thai green curry paste and tofu, making it a hearty and nutritious choice.

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curry and lentils

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE THIS CURRY WITHOUT COCONUT MILK?

Absolutely! You can make lentil curry without coconut milk. For a different flavor, you can use almond milk, cashew cream, or even a tomato-based sauce. The curry will be less creamy but still delicious.

Q. HOW CAN I ADD MORE FLAVOR TO THE CURRY?

Enhance the flavor by adding a mix of Indian spices like curry powder, garam masala, or cumin seeds. You can also add the coconut oil at the beginning to sauté the onions and spices, which helps release their aromas.

Q. WHAT ARE SOME GOOD SIDE DISHES TO SERVE WITH THIS CURRY?

This lentil curry pairs wonderfully with white rice, naan, or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option. You can also serve it with a side of spinach and frozen peas for added nutrition.

Q. WHAT IF MY CURRY IS TOO THICK AFTER COOKING?

If your curry is too thick, you can add 1 cup of water or more coconut milk to thin it out. Be sure to stir in the lentils well and heat to low to integrate the added liquid evenly.

Q. HOW CAN I THICKEN THE CURRY IF IT’S TOO RUNNY?

If your curry turns out too thin, a good method is to simmer until the lentils are more cooked, as this will naturally help thicken the sauce. Another option is to stir in the lentils a bit more, allowing them to break down slightly and thicken the curry.

Alternatively, you can mix a small amount of cornstarch with water to create a slurry and add it to the curry, stirring well to integrate and thicken the sauce.

curried red lentils recipe

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • 1. Finely dice the onion, celery, and carrot.

  • 2. In a large pan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until starting to go translucent.

  • 3. Add the lentils, curry paste, and ground mustard. Cook, stirring consistently for 1 minute, to toast the curry paste.

  • 4. Add the carrot, celery, broth and ½ cup/120ml water. Stir to distribute and scrape up any curry from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • 5. Slice the red pepper into strips about ¼”/6mm or less. Wash and dry the cilantro and coarsely chop.

  • 6. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the sugar, ½ tsp/3g salt, red pepper, and coconut milk. 

  • 7. Cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. 

  • 8. Add in the cilantro and 1 tbsp/15ml lime juice. Stir and adjust lime and salt to taste. Serve over rice.

*The amount needed will depend on your spice tolerance and the brand. Recipe demonstrated with 1 ½ tbsp.
**Mustard helps boost umami flavors.

Serving: 1person | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 717mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6006IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 6mg | Net Carbohydrates: 19g

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