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Red lentil curry recipe

Red lentil curry recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Curry
  • Vegetable curry

This Indian-inspired, vegetarian red lentil curry is flavoured with cumin, turmeric and ginger. You can adjust the spices to suit your family's taste.

16 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 185g basmati rice
  • 1.7L water, divided
  • 180g red lentils, rinsed
  • 85g finely chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 100g broccoli florets
  • 180g diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 150g frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
  • 70g sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:1hr38min ›Extra time:15min › Ready in:2hr18min

  1. Rinse rice several times and transfer to a container. Cover with water and let soak at room temperature, 15 minutes to 1 hour. Drain.
  2. Combine 1.4 litres water with red lentils in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, skimming any froth that collects on the surface. Stir in onion, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, cayenne and turmeric. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Stir broccoli, tomatoes, peas and salt into the pot. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes more.
  4. Combine drained rice with remaining 300ml water in another pot; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to very low and simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  5. Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, ginger and garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour over lentils; stir to distribute. Cook lentils until flavours combine, about 5 minutes. Serve lentils with rice.


If you decide not to soak the rice, cook it in 525ml water.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(11)

Reviews in English (9)

by youngtribe

Used cauliflower in place of broc, left out tomatoes, peas, and ginger. Tripled mushrooms. Served with white rice and Naan. Was stingy with spices, next time will use full amount. Very good.-10 Dec 2018

by Amanda Gutshall Ruales

This was delicious however I only used the recipe as a base I doubled almost everything but the water added all the optional vegetables , added tomato sauce , Garam masala , and sour cream (would’ve used coconut milk but I had open sour cream to get rid of) I have no idea how long I actually cooked it just until it looked right. DELICIOUS-03 Dec 2018

Masoor Dal – Red Lentil Curry

We&rsquore making red lentil curry tonight in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. Would you care for a bowl? We&rsquore in love with curries in general. As spicy food lovers, both of us can greatly appreciate the amount of flavor all those wonderful spices and seasonings bring to a seemingly simple pot of soup.

Patty and I were perusing a local Indian grocery store near us when I spotted this bag of masoor dal, which translates to &ldquored lentils&rdquo in English.

It practically leaped off of the shelf into my basket. So Masoor Dal Curry it is! Have you ever had it?

Masoor Dal, or Red Lentil Curry, is huge on flavor. I like to add in a lot of spices, with both curry powder and a red curry paste, but you can easily dial that back if you need to.

Also, this is my vegetarian version with a focus on the slightly sweet and nutty red lentils, along with potato which is a great filler, though you can very easily customize the recipe to your own personal tastes with other ingredients like squash, sweet potato or chickpeas.

Let&rsquos talk about we make masoor dal, or red lentil curry, shall we?


    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 (2 1/2-inch) fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, finely chopped, including seeds
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (10 oz)
    • 1 (13- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 lb zucchini (2 medium), cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs
    • Accompaniment: white rice

Red Lentil and Spinach Masala Working as a private chef has its drawbacks and its perks. One of the positives was that my clients would often pass along interesting dishes that I might not have otherwise tried, including this red lentil curry recipe with spinach. When I was cooking for more than one family on a weekly basis, I would get completely burnt out. My biceps constantly ached from lugging groceries. I began resenting perfectly nice people who I’d built a relationship with over the years for being difficult to communicate with or making fussy, last minute requests. Worse, I was so exhausted by the time I got home that I rarely had the energy to give myself similar levels of self-care in the kitchen. If you’ve read my book, then you know these were the pre-Wellness Project years when I really let myself unravel. But once I was able to recognize my descent from Health Mountain for what it was, I quickly started taking measures to limit my professional cooking. This was no easy feat, considering I needed these odd food jobs to make a living. Keeping this quadrant of my professional patchwork quilt to one client a week was necessary though for my own self-preservation. It allowed me to truly embrace some of those other perks, mainly using the time commitment as a way to structure my week, try new things in the kitchen and be creative on someone else’s dime. And by pairing back my professional cooking, I was able to create more time in my own routine to meal prep like a pro (my free guide here). This red lentil recipe from Naturally Ella was one of the dishes that my weekly client requested I make for her once, and it has become a lifelong fan favorite of this site. I’ve been following Erin’s work for years and love her beautiful aesthetic and eye towards healthy dishes. We were also both featured in Food & Wine in the same issue for our healthy takes on comfort food, so there’s no surprise that this simple lentil curry was such a hit for me and my clients. I made the one pot red lentil recipe even easier by using ground spices. I’m really terrible about keeping whole cumin seeds in my spice cabinet, even though I know the ground versions aren’t as flavorful. One of my tricks, which I’m always teaching in my cooking classes, is to make sure you’re giving the dried spices a little bit of time to toast on the bottom of the pan before you add the liquid, in this case coconut milk. The direct heat will invigorate their flavor in a way that adding them directly to water or broth never will. In this case, the end result tastes so great, I continue to go with convenience over authenticity for the masala spice blend. There’s an new video below showing you exactly how to make the lentil curry from start to finish. I can’t wait for you to try it for yourself. My jar of red lentils has gone untouched for a few months since I’ve been off FODMAPs. But as soon as I reincorporate legumes, this masala red lentil recipe will be the first that I return to. Even with the wilted spinach, the dish keeps really well in the fridge as a make-ahead meal. I usually eat it alongside quinoa or veggie patties. It’s just the kind of stick-to-your ribs without clogging your heart comfort food that I love this time of year. Preparation

  • Total Time 40 minutes
  • Preparation Time 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time 30 minutes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • garlic (1x clove), crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 150g red lentils (rinsed)
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions until brown and soft
  2. Add garlic and spices and stir
  3. Add the lentils and 3/4 of the stock and bring to the boil
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked and swollen
  5. Add the rest of the stock if necessary
  6. Pile into bowls
  7. Serve this with plenty of naan bread

Let’s talk about spice

Curries would be nothing without the spices. Different spices give you a different experience. I try and keep it quite simple and accessible in my kitchen so that everyone can make it no matter where you are in the world.

There are some spices that I haven’t used in this recipe but can be added if you wish, make sure to add them at the beginning when you add the cumin seeds:

  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric
  • Brown mustard seeds (not much as they can be bitter)
  • Cardamom pods (if you like it a little sweeter)
  • Fresh garlic (use instead of the garlic powder)
  • Garam masala

If you choose to add any of these spices, they will change the flavour but it will still taste wonderful.

I wouldn’t suggest to go too crazy with them and add everything in, but a couple of them will only enhance the flavour.

I kept it quite simple for a reason, but don’t worry, the flavours are still very much there!

Other recipes you’ll love:

If you try this recipe, let me know! Would love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest.


Adjust The Heat Factor

With curry, it is up to you on how hot or mild you want the curry to taste. Keep in mind, the coconut cream will also help tone down some of the heat at the end.

If you don't love a lot of hot spices, you can adjust the recipe to fit as much or as little spice as you would like. I would use ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper instead of ½ teaspoon for less heat.

Change Up Lentils

Want to use a different variety of lentils? Go right ahead! Just make sure to adjust the cook time depending on the type of lentils you choose to use. Red lentils cook a lot faster than other types, so just make sure to add cooking time to your dinner plans.

Spicy Red Lentil Curry

Have you tried my Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl yet? If not, you absolutely should! It’s one of our most frequently made (and praised) recipes on the blog.

Because I love it so much, I wanted to make an Indian-inspired version. My first attempt was too vegetable heavy and a little dry. I’m all about sauciness and big flavor in dishes, so it was back to the drawing board.

The more I thought about what I actually wanted in an Indian-inspired “Buddha Bowl,” I realized I wanted a few key things: heat, intense flavor, sauciness, lentils, and brown rice.

This recipe is simple, requiring just 30 minutes, 1 saucepan (plus a pot for the brown rice), and 10 ingredients to make!

The base of the recipe is garlic, ginger, carrots sautéed in coconut oil, and red curry paste. Tomato paste and vegetable broth make a deeply flavorful sauce, while turmeric and coconut sugar add depth of flavor. An optional but recommended last step is a dash of light coconut milk to add creaminess and balance the heat.

Lentils not only add heartiness, but also nutrition. They are extremely high in folate, iron, and magnesium. One serving of this lentil curry boasts nearly 16 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein! Add in some brown rice and you have an incredibly substantial plant-based meal.

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Tell us in the comments, rate it, and don’t forget to snap a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see your curry in action. Cheers, friends!

Creamy Coconut & Red Lentil Curry

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 7 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1 x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


This creamy Coconut & Red Lentil Curry is ready in 30 minutes and you only need 8 ingredients to make it! A cozy, hearty, and flavorful dinner.

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry

This recipe is very easy to throw together. However, here are a few tips that you should know before you get started.

First, red lentils cook faster than other types of lentils. Therefore, if you use a different variety, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

However, no matter what type of lentils that you choose, you should always rinse and drain them in a fine mesh colander.

To keep this recipe vegan friendly we used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Next comes the challenge of finding garam masala. In most grocery stores, you can find this blend of spices in the spice aisle. However, it may also be in the International aisle as well.

Look for the Indian cooking section if your grocery store sorts their speciality items into regions.

And if all else fails, you can always order it through this Amazon affiliate link: Garam Masala.

Once you are ready to eat, remove the lid to the slow cooker and stir in the coconut milk.

Then all that is left to do is to throw all your items in slow cooker and set your cook time!

When you are ready to eat, simply mix in the coconut milk and serve over cooked brown rice.

And don&rsquot forget to add a little greek yogurt, a splash of lemon juice and cilantro to really make this Red Lentil Curry out of this world delicious!

Check out the printable recipe below and let me know what you think!

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