Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (2023)

February 7, 2022

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Delicious Lentil Curry – it’s a vegan dish that’s brimming with well spiced Indian flavors, a creamy coconut sauce, and it’s perfectly hearty and filling thanks to the fiber and protein-rich lentils.

Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (1)

Coconut Lentil Curry

This meat-free lentil curry recipe is such a tasty main dish that pairs beautifully with white rice, cauliflower rice or naan.

It has a delicious complexity of flavor, the lentils make it a nutritious choice, and the coconut milk adds some body to make it more substantial.

It makes an excellent vegan dinner and any extra that’s left is perfect for lunch the next day (you can even freeze it).

If you haven’t yet had lentils this is a great place to start. With the rising prices of meat these days it’s a great recipe to add into the dinner rotation since lentils are a much cheaper alternative to meat.

And by using a the homemade spice blend here (which is basically a curry spice blend) you can control the amount of heat that goes into the dish making it as mild or spicy as you prefer.

Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (2)

Lentil Curry Recipe Ingredients

  • SPICES: coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, fennel seeds, mustard powder, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, fenugreek (or bay leaves), salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Brown or green lentils
  • Vegetable broth
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Cilantro

See below for full amounts and recipe with print option.

Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (3)

How to Make Indian Lentil Curry

  1. Measure out spices: To a small bowl add coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, pepper, fennel, mustard powder, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper, set aside.
  2. Saute aromatics in pot: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and saute 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  4. Pour spices from bowl into pot and saute 30 seconds.
  5. Add liquids and lentils: Pour in broth, tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils and fenugreek. Season with salt to taste (add a little less than you want because sauce will reduce and saltiness will become more concentrated, I start with just 1/4 tsp).
  6. Simmer until tender: Bring mixture to a simmer. Then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 35 minutes. Preferably stir once halfway through.
  7. Remove lid and continue to simmer until lentils are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
  8. Garnish: Serve warm garnished with cilantro (it pairs well with naan or basmati rice).

Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (4)

Red Lentil Curry Variation

  • This dish can also be made using red lentils. If doing so keep in mind the simmer time will be about half of what is listed.
  • Note that the simmer time directed in the recipe is longer than what is traditionally needed for lentils (as listed on the package). This is because there is some acidity in the sauce (from the tomatoes) which slows the speed of the cooking process and it takes longer for the lentils to become tender.

Slow Cooker Option

  • If you’d like to make this in the slow cooker increase amount of lentils to 1 3/4 cups and reduce garlic to 3 cloves (they’ll be harsher without sautéing first).
  • Add everything to the slow cooker except cilantro.
  • Cover and cook on low until lentils are completely tender, about 7 to 8 hours.

Storage

  • Lentil curry will keep 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Or freeze up to 3 months.

Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (5)

More Tasty Lentil Recipes to Try

  • Asian Lentil Lettuce Wraps
  • Italian Vegetable Lentil Soup
  • Lentil Tacos (Slow Cooker)
  • Mexican Lentil Soup
  • Moroccan Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (6)

5 from 5 votes

Review Recipe

Lentil Curry

A vegan dish that's brimming with well spiced Indian flavors, a creamy coconut sauce, and it's perfectly hearty and filling thanks to the fiber and protein-rich lentils. Recipe makes about 6 cups.

(Video) Lentil Curry - the most amazing EASY Lentil Recipe in the world!!!

Servings: 5

Prep20 minutes

Cook1 hour

Ready in: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed*
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste, it's spicy)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (13.6 oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tsp fenugreek leaves, finely crushed after measuring**
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • To a small bowl add coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, pepper, fennel, mustard powder, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper, set aside.

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.

  • Add garlic and ginger and saute 1 to 2 minutes longer.

  • Pour spices from bowl into pot and saute 30 seconds.

  • Pour in broth, tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils and fenugreek. Season with salt to taste (add a little less than you want because sauce will reduce and saltiness will become more concentrated, I start with just 1/4 tsp).

  • Bring mixture to a simmer. Then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 35 minutes. Preferably stir once halfway through.

  • Remove lid and continue to simmer until lentils are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

  • Serve warm garnished with cilantro (it pairs well with naan or basmati rice).

Notes

*To crush the fennel seeds I place in a small resealable bag and crush with a meat mallet. Another option is to chop them.

**If you don't have fenugreek on hand you can substitute 2 bay leaves left whole (and removing them at the end of cooking). While they have a much different flavor it's still a delicious option for this curry to build up flavor.

Nutrition Facts

Lentil Curry

Amount Per Serving

Calories 392Calories from Fat 171

% Daily Value*

Fat 19g29%

Saturated Fat 12g75%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

(Video) Easy Lentil Curry packed with flavor

Monounsaturated Fat 5g

Sodium 719mg31%

Potassium 1030mg29%

Carbohydrates 45g15%

Fiber 16g67%

Sugar 9g10%

Protein 15g30%

Vitamin A 1351IU27%

Vitamin C 21mg25%

Calcium 115mg12%

Iron 8mg44%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

Categorized:

  • Healthy
  • Main Dish

Tagged:

  • cilantro
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • coconut milk
  • coriander
  • crushed tomatoes
  • cumin
  • fennel seeds
  • fenugreek
  • garlic
  • lentils
  • mustard powder
  • onions
  • paprika
  • turmeric
  • vegetable broth

You Might Also Like:

  • Vegetarian Lentil Tacos (Slow Cooker)
  • Asian Lentil Lettuce Wraps
  • Red Vegetable Curry
  • Mexican Lentil Soup

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13 Comments

  • Celeste

    I’ve made this a few times now. Tonight I decided to double it so I could have it again for lunches. Doubling the broth made it a lot soupier than I was expecting. I think it probably only needed 5c instead of 6.

  • Pamela

    Delicious and satisfying!

  • Robin

    This was delicious! Will be making this again and again

  • Sheila

    Hi Jaclyn!
    We just tried your recipe and it was so flavorful and delicious!!! Thank you for the easy to follow instructions :)
    Be well and happy :)
    Sheila

  • Jessika

    Omg Jaclyn, this was delicious. I made it identical to your recipe, also adding a little dollop of sour cream to each. We had it with brown rice.

    The next day for the leftovers, I reheated and then mixed in some baby spinach until wilted. I dipped it into some cooked frozen pita. Wonderful! Thank you so much. I love your one pot style recipes

    (Video) Lentil Curry Recipe - How To Make Lentil Curry - Vegan Lentil Curry Recipe - Protein Rich Recipe

    • Jaclyn

      Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (12)

      Your additions sound delicious Jessika! Thanks for your feedback!

  • Cathie Goltra

    If I substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth, will it substantially change the overall flavor? I realize it wouldn’t be vegan anymore. 😉

    • Jaclyn

      Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (13)

      That will also be a delicious option. I hope you enjoy it Cathie!

  • Wendy

    Can I just use curry powder instead of all the spices? If so how much would I use?
    Thank you

    • Jaclyn

      Lentil Curry - Cooking Classy (14)

      Yes I would probably start with 1 Tbsp then go from there, and you can add other more prominent spices like coriander and cumin if you have them as well.

  • Teresa

    I made this the day I got the email – it’s so good! I love curry and this did not disappoint. I didn’t make the spice mix – I had Penzey’s sweet and maharaja curries so I used those (after checking the ingredients lists) and since I like spicy I added more cayenne. I think I stayed within the spirit of the recipe as everything else was the same. Served with basmati rice – a warming and exotic comfort dish. And my house smelled so good! Thank you, Jaclyn, this recipe is worth a repeat performance.

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