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Lentil Curry

Lentil Curry is packed with seasoned veggies and tender lentils that have been simmered in fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and creamy coconut milk.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword lentil curry
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 411kcal
Cost $6.39


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or melted coconut oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely diced yellow onion (~1 small onion; 1/2 large onion)
  • 1 cup finely diced carrot (~1 large carrot)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (~3 cloves)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon finely minced ginger (~1 inch piece)
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen which is vegetarian & mild spice)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder (See Note 1)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon EACH: garam masala, paprika, ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup green or brown uncooked lentils (See Note 2)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) coconut milk (lite or regular)
  • 3 cups chicken stock or broth (Use vegetarian broth or stock to keep this vegetarian/vegan)
  • 1/3 cup finely diced cilantro
  • Optional: zest and juice of a lemon
  • Optional: serve over cooked basmati rice (See Note 3)


  • PREP: Measure the lentils and pick over to remove debris or shriveled lentils, and then thoroughly rinse with water. Add them to a bowl, cover them in room-temperature water and let soak for 15-20 minutes. Prep the veggie:; finely dice the onion and carrot; finely mince the garlic cloves and finely mince the ginger.
  • SAUTE: Add the 3 tablespoons butter or oil to a large pot. Heat to medium and once the butter is melted or oil is shimmering, add in the 1 cup onion, 1 tablespoon garlic, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoon ginger. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add in the 1 cup diced carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 6-8 minutes or until everything is golden. Nothing should be overly browning or burning; if so, turn down the heat. While everything is cooking, measure out the spices.
  • SPICES AND TOMATOES: Add the 2 tablespoons red curry paste, 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 3/4 teaspoon turmeric. Season with salt and pepper; I add 1 and 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Increase the heat to high, and stirring constantly, cook for 1-2 minutes or until very fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium. Stir and cook for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits. Add in 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • LENTILS AND LIQUIDS: Thoroughly drain the lentils. Add to the pot along with the can of coconut milk and 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth/stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 5-8 minutes or until curry is thick and creamy and lentils are completely tender. If the mixture thickens too much, add a splash of broth or stock and if it's too thin (or lentils aren't tender), increase the heat a bit and simmer without the lid.
  • FINISHING: Add in the 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro and if desired, stir in the zest and juice of a lemon. Taste and adjust any seasonings; flavors should sing, so add extra salt,pepper or lemon juice if needed. Serve over cooked basmati rice if desired (Note 2) and enjoy hot.


Note 1: I use McCormick or Simple Truth Organic or Great Value Organic -- all of which are very mild, but curry powders vary in spice so add slowly if you are concerned.
Note 2: I use brown lentils in this recipe; green lentils will cook the same. For canned lentils, drain and rinse them; they'll cook in about 20-25 minutes (uncovered the whole time). Red or orange lentils will cook in about 20-25 minutes (uncovered the whole time). I do not recommend using French lentils; they won't cook correctly in this curry.
Note 3: Here's how I cook basmati rice:
  • Measure the basmati rice (this method doesn't work with other varieties) and rinse  in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
  • Place the rice in a bowl and cover with water to soak for about 5-10 minutes.
  • While the rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water and set to boil.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice and add it to the pot.
  • Cook, without reducing the heat, for 5 minutes; drain and fluff with a fork.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.8g | Protein: 16.3g | Fat: 21.4g | Cholesterol: 22.9mg | Sodium: 543.1mg | Fiber: 7.8g | Sugar: 6.8g