Coconut Curried Golden Lentils (20 Minutes!)

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A large pan of Coconut Curried Golden Lentils topped with fresh lemon slices

Sometimes you want to make a recipe so badly that you dream about it. This is one of those recipes.

It may be their vibrant golden color, but I just couldn’t wait to cook up these lentils and put them on every bowl and salad from here to eternity.

And oh my did they deliver. Let’s do this!

Wood serving platter with ingredients for making vegan Coconut Curried Golden Lentils

What is Curry Powder?

Curry powder is not a common ingredient used in traditional Indian cooking, but rather an invention of the British to evoke the flavors of Indian cuisine. The term “curry” in Indian cooking refers to a sauce or gravy served with vegetables or meat. (source)

How to Make Coconut Curried Golden Lentils

This dish comes together in about 20 minutes from start to finish, thanks to the quick cooking time of yellow lentils (which I’ve found to be very similar in texture and cooking time to red lentils).

While you give your lentils a quick boil, prepare a coconut curry sauce with spices, ginger, garlic, and a healthy dose of coconut milk (check out my DIY Coconut Milk recipe).

Pouring coconut milk into a pan of spices for Coconut Curried Golden Lentils

Once the sauce is seasoned, add your lentils and stir. Finish with a bit more seasonings and some fresh lemon juice and “POW” – you have beautiful curried golden lentils!

Since creating this recipe, we’ve learned that this dish is similar to a staple Sri Lankan dish called Parippu made with red lentils, coconut milk, and spices. How fun!

Pouring strained lentils into a large pan for Coconut Curried Golden Lentils

Friends, I hope you LOVE these lentils. They’re:

Perfectly spiced
Hearty + Satisfying
& Seriously delicious

These curried lentils would be delicious atop rice, cauliflower rice, salads, bowls, and more. I could also see them being a delicious part of a wrap or sandwich.

And while delicious on their own, I think these would pair incredibly well with my Sweet Potato Cauliflower Curry, Avocado Sweet Potato Green Salad, Curried Butternut Squash Soup, Curried Beet Soup with Chickpeas, and our Vegan Naan.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Large pan of vegan gluten-free Coconut Curried Golden Lentils with fresh lemon slices

Coconut Curried Golden Lentils (20 Minutes!)

Simple, flavorful curried yellow lentils seasoned with fresh spices, garlic, and ginger and swimming in a curried coconut sauce. The perfect plant-based side!
Author Minimalist Baker
Pan of Curried Golden Lentils with two spoons, lemon slices, and cilantro
4.84 from 181 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 (~1/2-cup servings)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Indian-Inspired, Sri Lankan-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups golden (yellow) lentils* (rinsed and drained // or sub red with similar cook time or green with longer cooking time)


  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or water)
  • 1 small shallot (diced // optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced // ~2 Tbsp as original recipe is written)
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 heaping Tbsp curry powder (DIY or store-bought)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (for heat – omit if you don’t like spice)
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups light coconut milk (DIY or store-bought canned)
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup (plus more to taste // or sub stevia)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • Note: Soaking lentils is optional but can improve digestibility and speed cook time. See notes for tips.
    Bring water to a boil in a large pot or saucepan. Add lentils and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook lentils uncovered for 4-5 minutes or until just tender. Then drain and set aside. Be careful not to overcook or they can become mushy (cooking time will vary by variety of lentil – check package for instructions).
  • In the meantime, heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil or water, shallot (optional), garlic, and ginger (start with lesser quantity, and add more to taste as desired). Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add salt, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute more. Lower heat to low.
  • Add coconut milk and coconut sugar (or maple syrup) and stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes to combine the flavors (see photo).
  • Add the (well) drained, cooked lentils (see photo) to the coconut sauce and stir. They will likely need more seasoning at this point. I added a bit more salt, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, and coconut sugar because I like big flavor. But season to taste.
  • Turn off heat, add lemon juice, and stir. Then serve and enjoy! These are delicious on their own, but they would also be tasty with rice, cauliflower rice, steamed or roasted vegetables, and more.



*To improve digestibility and slightly speed cooking time, you can soak lentils by covering with cool water and soaking overnight or for 6-8 hours. Then rinse, drain, and proceed with recipe as instructed.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amounts of coconut milk and coconut sugar.
*Method adapted from the talented Sprouted Kitchen.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 half-cup servings Calories: 235 Carbohydrates: 33.6 g Protein: 12.6 g Fat: 5.9 g Saturated Fat: 4.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.09 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.24 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 295 mg Potassium: 91 mg Fiber: 13.6 g Sugar: 3.1 g Vitamin A: 38.52 IU Vitamin C: 3.84 mg Calcium: 54.25 mg Iron: 3.67 mg

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My Rating:

  1. aussiebushgirl says

    Comfort food at its very best! This was such a delicious meal which I tweaked ever so slightly, and I will definitely make it again.

  2. Amber says

    This is one of my main standbys. I have made it countless times over the years! I often add steamed veggies on top, which don’t take long at all to cook. Golden lentils are harder to find but they have such a delightful color! Mine took way longer to cook than 4-5 minutes tonight and I’m not sure why — it was more like 35 minutes, even though the stove was on high for most of that time. So, depending on how long the lentils take, this may take more than 20 minutes, as a heads up to other cooks. I love how affordable and yet flavorful this recipe is! Thanks for creating one of my faves, Minimalist Baker!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Amber. Thank you for your kind words and lovely review! If the lentils are older, that can cause them to take longer to cook!

  3. Andrea says

    This was surprisingly good. I upped the seasonings at the end and was not disappointed. I warmed the leftovers up today and served it on a roasted sweet potato. Incredible!!! I will definitely be making this again.

  4. Sanna Andersson says

    Super easy and delicious! Nourishing and easy to mix with other dishes 🥰 Ate it with avocado, red onion and fresh cilantro!

  5. StephAnn says

    I made this today, using regular coconut milk and adding pumpkin for thickness and chili for more of a kick. I served it over rice with a thick tamarind sauce as a condiment and it’s a hit. Definitely adding this to my rotation!

  6. Caroline says

    This recipe is epic. I’ve been making it for years and it seriously never disappoints. The best possible way to make lentils.

  7. Josh says

    I have made this recipe many many times over the years. I usually double (or even triple) the amount of curry powder. I also add an umami ingredient since without it, I always feel it has that sort of emptiness to the dish that’s hard to describe. That could be something like my go to which is fish sauce (inspired from Thai cuisine), or a stock bullion.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  8. S Gallo says

    This is the most amazing recipe ever! So delicious and full of flavor, feels like decadence in a bowl and it is healthy! LOVE! Thank you!

  9. Jilly says

    Absolutely delicious! I used regular coconut milk and added fresh kale, ate this over brown rice and garnished with cilantro. It was a hit with the family and is so healthy. Will be adding this to our regular dinner rotation!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Shelli, We haven’t tested it in a slow cooker, but think it would work. Let us know if you try it out!

  10. Morenasa says

    Made this many times and my family has enjoyed it! Definitely need more curry, turmeric, and cayenne to give it a flavorful spice kick! I highly recommend you guys try it, I guaranteed you won’t be disappointed.

  11. Morenasa says

    Made this many times and has my family has enjoyed it! Doe’s definitely need more curry, turmeric, and cayenne to give it a flavorful spice kick! I haughty recommend you guys try it, I guaranteed you won’t be disappointed.

  12. T says

    Where do you get yellow lentils? I cannot seem to find them anywhere. Are they the same as yellow split peas? Or are they Chana Dal or Mung/Moong Dal?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, we used this brand found at a local store. If subbing moong dal or chana dal, we’d recommend soaking overnight and cooking for longer.

  13. Phil says

    I made this with lime juice instead of lemon, and it was a big hit with my friends! Everyone loved it & it was the most popular at our lil potluck.
    (I also made it a little spicier 😁)
    Thanks, MB!

  14. Emily Swet says

    This was a miss for me — I found it pretty bland. I think I might do better with regular coconut milk as the light (or at least the brand I bought) was pretty flavorless. Oh well, can’t win ’em all!

  15. Sarah says

    This was delightful! I was looking for a new recipe for my work lunches and this did the trick!
    Also, I would just like to thank you, so much, for the way that you input the nutritional information on your recipes. The way you do it, clearly outlining the serving sizes and including the information for one serving is so, so helpful. I’m diabetic and on a weight loss journey and the way you list that information has been a life saver for me. Thank you for the amazing recipes and the creative variety you provide.

  16. Pippa Steward says

    I am going to try this recipe. Ut looks delicious. Having grown up in South Africa, we ate a lot of curries… good, hot, medium, wonderfully flavorsome authentic malay curries. I miss it, and am always on the lookout for a good one.

  17. Rebecca says

    Quick and easy! I made it exact to the recipe (maybe even heavier on the seasons) and it was delicious. I can see how this would be great with added chicken, or as another commenter said, pineapple. As is, I love that this is GF and vegan because it’s suitable for all sorts of guests! Thanks!

  18. Kelsey says

    Holy crap! I made this tonight for myself on a whim and it was amazing!! I will definitely be adding this recipe to my favorites for future use and have already shared it with my sister and mom. I’m not a huge fan of ginger so I left it out but added spinach and cilantro at the end and served it over short grained brown rice. I also love lemon so I added an extra tablespoon. It brings out such a great flavor with the curry! Thank you for sharing!

    PS. I also appreciate your instant pot instructions for both lentils and quinoa. I’ve used both many times and they always come out perfect!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Kelsey!

  19. Tanya W` says

    This is super yummy. Thank you! I will put this in my regular rotation. I think I forgot to put in the lemon! But I think maybe my family will like it better without! Thanks again.

  20. Ian says

    Very tasty. I didnt . Cooking the lentils in stock is a must!

    For a different take on this lovely curry, and if you forgot ginger and cayenne like I did. Add around 3/4’s of a tablespoon of harissa, and two tablespoons of Sriracha sauce. Or add a small bit of harissa and sriracha as you go for the desired taste. The idea is to have a light taste of harissa spice but with a stronger kick thanks to the Sriracha.

  21. Deb T. says

    These were delicious! I didn’t have cayenne and will add it next time. I also threw in some spinach to get some greens in, but other than that, I followed the recipe exactly and had a hard time not eating the entire pot. It was my first time making curried anything and this was the perfect recipe to begin with. Easy, quick, and so good!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Deb. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  22. Karen Rau says

    This is now one of my favorite go-to quick meals. I’ve made it as is, and I have also made it with chicken instead of lentils. It is so rich and flavorful! I serve it over rice, alongside roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. It is the perfect meal for my vegan friends, as well as those with other food preferences like dairy free or gluten free. Easy, full of flavor, filling, and healthy.

  23. Leslie says

    We doubled the recipe, added shredded chicken and pineapple. It was awesome!!
    Kicked up the spices on the adult version.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Leslie! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  24. Sheri says

    I missed that part about allowing to cook longer for green/brown lentils, and added them to the sauce before realizing they aren’t cooked well enough. Can I add some water and let tgem simmer for 15 mins or so?

  25. Kat S says

    I made this tonight using green lentils that I’d soaked for a couple of days.

    Added about half a table spoon of cumin seeds, 2 red chilli’s, and a shake of ground corriander. At the end I stirred in some chopped fresh corriander too. I didnt have palm sugar so subbed brown sugar, and instead of shallot I used used a yellow onion.

    It was AMAZING. THE FLAVORS! So much punch. And nice and spicy, all our sinuses are clear.

    Don’t skip the lemon either! It added an amazing zing and ties all the flavours together.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Kat! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  26. Emma says

    Oh my gosh. These were absolutely amazing. I will definitely make them again and again. I precooked these for tomorrow but I couldn’t stop taking a spoonful each time I walked by.

  27. Christine says

    Very good! I made it as written using only 1 of maple syrup and I used green lentils because that was what I have. I boiled them for 30 minutes. I will make this again.

  28. Josie M says

    Delicious made with regular coconut milk and french lentils! I served with sauteed greens, brown basmati rice and sweet potatoes from your bowl recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again- thank you!

  29. Mary says

    I soaked the yellow lentils overnight, and they still took at least 20 minutes of boiling to get soft. I used some chopped onion rather than shallot, but otherwise made this recipe exactly. It is delicious! I served it over jasmine rice. I will definitely make it again.

  30. Meredith says

    This recipe is a slam dunk! Thank you! I had green lentils on hand so subbed those, as a result the appearance of the dish wasn’t quite as golden and glowing! I’m a BIG FAN of ginger so I used probably 5T + grated it since my fresh ginger lives in the freezer. As I didn’t soak my lentils I just let them simmer on the stove, which didn’t make them mushy at all. I sent leftovers home with my dinner guests, and then sent the recipe link to them! Given how quick this recipe is, I’ll be sure to use on weeknights.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Meredith!

  31. Michele says

    I just made this for dinner and it surpassed my expectations. I sauteed some boneless chicken breast sprinkled with red curry, turmeric, salt and pepper. I used half the amount of coconut milk and supplemented the rest with vegetable broth, as I cooked the green lentil in some for extra flavor. Otherwise, I used all of the other ingredients as directed. At the end, I added the sliced chicken breast to the curry sauce and lentils and cooked that on simmer for 5 minutes. I also cooked my green lentils for 10 minutes in the vegetable broth. This dish will be on my weekly rotation now. Love it!

  32. Kasie says

    This recipe is delicious for sure and I will make it again, I would change a few things though. In the directions, it says 4-5 minutes to cook the lentils, I didn’t think that was long enough and next time, I will taste them before stopping their cooking time to ensure that they are tender enough for me. I also thought there was too much tumeric. I think next time I would try half that amount OR I might try using fresh tumeric instead of ground , the ground just has a bitterness to it that distracted from the other flavors.
    The best part of this recipe is that it lasted me all week, I took it to work with a bed of fresh spinach and some jasmine rice each day and it was so good!

  33. Amy says

    I followed the recipe precisely. The flavorings were fantastic, but the lentils were hard after cooking only 4-5 minutes. Nobody would eat it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! So sorry to hear that was your experience, Amy! Did you soak the lentils first? What type did you use?

  34. Kate says

    Have you tried this with any other milks besides coconut? Unfortunately, a few of us in the family cannot have coconut or nuts other than almond.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Joann, unfortunately they will take a lot longer to cook so will still be hard at the end of the cook time.

  35. KC says

    Really good – my first time making lentils *and* curry! I threw in cubed gold potatoes using Amber’s method of adding them to the sauteed spices and onion/garlic/ginger, and then putting some water in to simmer until soft.

    I also added chopped fresh cilantro, and used about 1/4 coconut cream/ 3/4 coconut milk to give it a little bit of indulgence. :)

  36. Jill says

    I am enjoying a bowl of this right now! It’s a great recipe, I believe, as written. I did adapt to my taste.
    I doubled it for our large family, added 3 onions instead of shallot, 2 cubed potatoes & carrots, added more turmeric. It’s amazing!
    I served on asian rice, with cucumber raita on top.

  37. Leah says

    Wowowow. Incredible. I was skeptical about this one and thought it might be bland, but it is far from bland! I doubled the ingredients, but not the lentils, added one cubed golden potato, a bag of frozen peas, and two sliced carrots just because I had these ingredients in the kitchen and they needed to be used up. This is one of my new favorite recipes! Super versatile based one what you have on hand.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for giving it a try, Leah! We’re so glad you enjoyed it and love your additions =)

  38. Jenny says

    I made this yesterday, and my husband and I loved it! I added some almond milk to make it 6 cups total (1 cup servings), and it was so good and comforting! I also used green lentils. Yum!

  39. Jae says

    MAde this tonight and I have to say it was amazing. There were some things I had to switch out due to what was already in my pantry. But I will be making again!

  40. BVV says

    I like strong flavours, so added extra chili, turmeric and curry powder, plus garnished with fresh coriander. Used lime and brown sugar subbed in, and it was delicious. I put in around 1.5 tbsp chopped ginger because that’s all I had and only 1 tbsp sugar and it was plenty IMO.

  41. Mary says

    So delicious!! Perfect for a cold winter day! I used regular (brown? green?) lentils, and reduced salt slightly to 1/2 t. I love the suggestions in other comments about adding vegetables to the curry. I will try that next time. Oh yes, I will definitely make this again!

  42. Bruce says

    I made this and was very disappointed. The ginger overwhelmed the dish. I ended up adding another 1 1/2 cups of lentils to soften the bite and it helped some.

  43. Charity says

    Always nervous to try new recipes that people will eat.. but this was great! I added a lot more of the spices and used honey instead of coconut sugar. Very easy and my roommates think I’m a pro chef!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! Way to go! We’re so glad everyone enjoyed it. Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo