Vegetarian Red Lentil Coconut Curry is a flavorful veggie-packed meal that can be made in just over 30 minutes. Perfect for meal prep lunches or as a quick weeknight dinner!
Meet your new favorite all around meal: Red Lentil Coconut Curry!
These cooler fall days call for something cozy and nourishing, and a big batch of vegetable-packed curry fits the bill.
This recipe can do it all: meal prep lunches, as a family dinner served with buttery naan, and even rolled up into burritos.
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I like to make a batch of red lentil curry on Sunday to enjoy throughout the week, but this recipe is also perfect for when you need an inexpensive last-minute meal.
If you would like to make curry in the Instant Pot, check out my recipe for Instant Pot Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes. Otherwise, let’s get going with this stove top curry!
Coconut milk: Full fat coconut milk makes this curry extra creamy. If you are looking for a lighter option, reduced fat or lite coconut milk also work.
Red lentils: Not to be confused with green or brown lentils, red lentils cook quickly and lose their shape easily, whereas green and brown lentils keep their shape and take longer to cook. Yellow, orange and red lentils all work in this recipe.
Chickpeas: Adding a can of chickpeas is an inexpensive way to stretch this recipe further while also contributing fiber, protein, and important nutrients like iron and manganese. I also like the texture that chickpeas give to an otherwise soft meal.
Spices and aromatics: Minced ginger and garlic with diced onion makes the base of this recipe. A variety of spices, including Garam masala and curry powder, create a warming and flavorful dish. We will also use ground cumin and salt to emphasize the flavors.
Vegetables – This curry is veggie-packed and the fiber in all those vegetables makes this recipe very filling. Add frozen green peas and chopped carrots for color and texture and stir in a few handfuls of chopped kale or spinach for a source of plant-based iron.
How to make
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or medium stock pot over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, ginger, and carrots, sauteing a minute more.
- Stir in spices, green peas, red lentils, chickpeas, coconut milk and vegetable broth.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer over medium-low and cover. Simmer until the red lentils are cooked, about 15 minutes.
Once cooked, stir in the spinach or kale.
You can’t go wrong with a serving of rice. I usually go for short-grain brown rice for the nutty flavor, but any white rice will also work.
I actually originally intended to use this recipe for burritos, but I liked it so much on its own that I skipped the burrito idea.
That being said, once the curry is cooled (it will thicken up) you can easily make burritos. Add fresh spinach and thinly sliced peppers for the crunch factor.
Vegetarian Red Lentil Coconut Curry
- 2 cups dry brown rice see note
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion from 1/2 yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots from ~2 carrot sticks
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 13.5 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 cups dry red lentils
- 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
- 3 cups vegetable broth choose reduced sodium if possible
- 3 loosely packed cups spinach or kale
- lime wedges and chopped cilantro for serving
- If serving with brown rice, prepare according to package instructions.
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or medium stockpot over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add carrots, garlic, and ginger, sauteing a minute more, until the garlic is lightly browned and aromatic.
- Add the spices and salt, frozen green peas, chickpeas, red lentils, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer until the red lentils are cooked, about 15 minutes.
- Once cooked, stir in the spinach or kale. Serve over rice with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.
- You can subtitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger per 1 tablespoon fresh.
- You can sub lite or reduced fat coconut milk in place of whole fat coconut milk.
- Curry powder can be mild, medium or hot — choose based on your heat preference.
- For a complete meal, serve with your choice of brown rice, basmati rice, or naan. You can also make burritos by adding ~1 cup of cooled curry to a large tortilla with spinach and sliced bell peppers.