This rich and creamy coconut lentil curry is the perfect dinner idea if you are looking for something flavorful, healthy, and quick to make.
I absolutely love curries! They are one of my favorite meals to make. They are so rich, flavorful, and comforting! Plus, they are healthy and can be quick to make if you use some simple tricks!
And this coconut lentil curry is no exception. If you tried my chickpea curry or my butternut squash with chickpea curry, you know I am a big fan of keeping things simple. There is no reason to complicate our lives in the kitchen, especially considering how busy we are.
I promise this recipe will make any curry lover in the house extremely happy. And if you make an extra batch, you will have an incredibly delicious meal ready for lunch the next day!
This coconut lentil curry is incredibly easy to make, it takes less than 30 minutes, and it’s perfect for an indulgent night in.
The trick here is to use canned lentils. This removes a good 35-40 minutes out of the cooking time without compromising the final result.
Yes, canned lentils are a bit more expensive than using dry lentils. But hey, when you have no time, anything helps.
When cooking with canned lentils, always check the ingredients and use lentils without added salt. If you can afford organic, even better.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The complete list of ingredients might seem long, but what I love about this recipe is how versatile it can be. It’s hard to go wrong, and it’s easy to substitute ingredients while still obtaining a rich, comforting meal.
This is what you’ll need:
- Shallots and Garlic: To form the base.
- Carrots: To add some sweetness.
- Lentils: I use canned lentils to save time. Brown or green lentils are both great alternatives. If you want to use dry lentils, see the note below.
- Coconut milk: I always use full-fat coconut milk, as it’s richer and creamier.
- Crushed tomatoes
- Leafy greens: I used fresh kale. Don’t have fresh kale? Use frozen kale. Don’t like kale at all? Use spinach! Or any other green veggie you have in the fridge or freezer.
- Ginger: Go for fresh if you can. If you only have ginger powder, use 1 teaspoon.
- And, of course, lots of fragrant spices: Here, I used cumin seeds, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and some chili flakes. If you miss any of the spices, you can easily add a bit more curry powder or garam masala.
Dry Lentils: If you want to use dry lentils instead of canned lentils, you will need more time. The process will be exactly the same, but you will need 1 cup of dry lentils and 3 cups of water. Add the dry lentils and 2 cups of water at the same time. Keep an eye on the lentils, and if they are becoming dry, add another cup of water a bit at a time. Before adding your greens, let them simmer for 30-45 minutes until cooked (each type of lentils might have a slightly different cooking time).
How to make
- The first step is to prepare the coconut curry sauce: heat the coconut oil in a large pan. Add the chopped shallots, crushed garlic, grated ginger, and cumin seeds and toast for a couple of minutes until brown. Then add the garam masala, curry powder, and turmeric.
- Add the chopped carrots, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk.
- Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the cooked lentils, chili flakes, and chopped coriander, and season with salt.
- Add your greens and let them cook for 10-15 minutes until they are nice and tender. Stir a few times, and if the curry looks dry, add the extra water a bit at a time.
And you are done!
I love to add some extra chopped coriander on top and serve it with fluffy basmati rice or brown rice. But it’s great with naan bread too!
Is Lentil Curry Good For You?
This coconut lentil curry is incredibly healthy, especially if cooked with a low oil amount (like in this recipe).
It’s great served as a main meal as it contains all the nutrients your body needs. Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, folate, and iron. Plus they are cheap to buy!
This curry is also naturally vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free, making it the perfect meal if you have anyone in your home with special diet requirements.
A great crow pleaser!
How to store
This curry is perfect for meal prep.
Fridge: You can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. The spices will melt with the lentils and tomatoes and make the curry richer every day. All you need to do is add some extra water before you heat it in a skillet or pan.
Freezer: You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. If you plan to make a bigger batch and freeze it, use fresh leafy greens instead of frozen kale or spinach.
Why I love This Coconut Lentil Curry
- It’s comforting, filling, and warming.
- Rich and creamy!
- Filled with plant-power and made with wholesome, nourishing ingredients.
- Vegan and gluten-free!
More recipes you’ll love
And if you like this recipe, check out these:
- 10-Minute Chickpea Curry
- Butternut Squash And Chickpea Curry
- Chickpea and Potato Curry (Chana Aloo)
- Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
- Carrot & Ginger Soup
And for more make-ahead plant-based recipes, check these 100+ Vegan Meal Prep Ideas.
If you try this coconut lentil curry recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Coconut Lentil Curry
Coconut Curry Sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil - (or olive oil)
- 2 shallots - (or 1 medium onion)
- 2 cloves of garlic - (crushed)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger - (or 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
- A pinch of red chili flakes
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes - (from a can or jar)
- 1 can coconut milk - (15 Oz – 400ml)
- 2 cans cooked brown or green lentils, rinsed - (2 15 Oz cans – 480g rinsed )
- 2 cups water - (to be added a bit a the time, if necessary)
- 3 cups chopped fresh kale leaves - (or fresh spinach, or 2 cups frozen spinach or frozen kale or any other leafy greens of your choice)
- A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped shallots, crushed garlic, grated ginger, and cumin seeds and toast for a couple of minutes until brown. Then add the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric and stir well for a minute or so.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the chopped carrots, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk.
- Let everything simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the rinsed lentils, some chili flakes, chopped coriander, and some salt, and season to taste.
- In the meantime, wash and chop your greens (if using fresh). Add your greens, bring to a boil and let the curry cook gently for 10-15 minutes until your greens are nice and tender. Stir a few times, and if the curry looks dry, add the extra cups of water a bit at a time.
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve hot over basmati rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice. Or with naan bread.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!