Lentil Curry

This lentil curry is packed with aromatic spices and tantalizing flavors. Serve it with some white rice, fresh cilantro, peanuts, and coconut flakes!

Lentil curry is warmly-spiced and nourishing. It goes perfectly with a bed of rice for a bowl of yumminess to warm the soul. Try these additional delicious curries: Sweet Potato Coconut Curry, Homemade Massaman Curry, and Thai Red Curry

Lentil Curry in a bowl with white rice

Creamy Lentil Curry

This easy to make and healthy Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry recipe is packed full of delicious Indian spices. I love curry.

While it may seem daunting to make your own at home, it really is quite simple. You don’t need to wait to visit your fave Indian or Thai restaurant to get this goodness in your tummy! Not sure if you like curry? This is a good introduction to these aromatic spices, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

You can even turn this into a vegan dish by omitting the chicken without sacrificing any of the delicious flavor. 

Lentils in a measuring cup for lentil curry recipe

Ingredient Tips

Lentils:

  • You can use any color of lentils. The green lentils can be described as peppery, brown lentils can be described as earthy, and red lentils are the nuttiest and sweetest type of lentils. Green lentils typically hold their shape better than brown lentils. 
  • Do you rinse lentils? Rinsing lentils is a good first step! You need to rinse them with cold water and pick out the shriveled lentils and any debris that may have been in the package.
  • How do you know when lentils are cooked? Lentils will plump up without splitting open and becoming overly mushy. Lentils may take longer to cook if salt is added at the beginning of the process, so just be aware that the cooking time may vary.

Spice:

  • Curry paste. This recipe calls for curry paste. You could also use curry powder, and it has some good spice, but not as much heat.
  • How to add spice? If you can’t find curry paste or curry powder you can add more cumin, red pepper flakes, coriander, or turmeric.

Lentil curry in a pot

How to Make Lentil Curry

BROWN. In a stockpot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove and set aside

SAUTE. Add the carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the onion and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the garlic, turmeric, salt, peppers, and curry paste. Stir every few seconds to prevent the spices from burning, Cook for 20 seconds, then pour in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits as you go.

BOIL. Add lentils and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender

GARNISH. Stir in the coconut milk and remove from the heat. Serve over cooked rice, garnish with cilantro, coconut flakes and roasted nuts, if desire

Instant Pot Instructions

To make this curry in the instant pot you need to place all of your ingredients except coconut milk in the instant pot and cook on high for 15 minutes. Then let it naturally release pressure. Mix in coconut milk and adjust your spice levels before serving.

A ladle full of lentil curry

Variations and Storage Tips

Try any of these variations or additions:

  • Sweet potato: add in cubed sweet potatoes with garlic and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the lentils and liquid. 
  • Chickpeas: add a can of chickpeas in 5 minutes before your curry is done.
  • Spinach: Let a handful or so of spinach wilt on the stove before adding it into your finished curry. This will give you some extra greens without the overwhelming taste and texture
  • Make it vegan: Eliminate the chicken to make this a vegan lentil curry.

Storing: Store the curry in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat this on the stovetop. Lentils have the tendency to dry out, so you may need to add some extra liquid (either water or coconut milk) to add some creaminess back into it.

Freezing: Freeze lentil curry in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight and reheat on the stove till warmed through. 

Coconut lentil curry in a bowl with white rice

For more curry recipes, try:

Lentil Curry Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 6
Calories: 392kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb chicken breasts - thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots - peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 yellow onion - diced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tsp ginger - freshly grated
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 3 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb lentils
  • 1 (14oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
garnish
  • chipped cilantro
  • coconut flakes
  • roasted peanuts or cashews

Instructions

  • In a stockpot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove and set aside
  • Add the carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the onion and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the garlic, turmeric, salt, peppers, and curry paste. Stir every few seconds to prevent the spices from burning, Cook for 20 seconds, then pour in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits as you go. Add lentils and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender
  • Stir in the coconut milk and remove from the heat. Serve over cooked rice, garnish with cilantro, coconut flakes and roasted nuts, if desire

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 592mg | Potassium: 894mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3554IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 5mg