Pan of Curried Golden Lentils with two spoons, lemon slices, and cilantro
4.84 from 87 votes

Coconut Curried Golden Lentils (20 Minutes!)

Simple, flavorful curried yellow lentils seasoned with fresh spices, garlic, ginger, and swimming in a curried coconut sauce. The perfect plant-based side!
Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings: 6 (~1/2-cup servings)
Category: Side
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Indian-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)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh minced ginger (1-2 Tbsp (2.5 - 4 g // amount as original recipe is written) more for more intense flavor)
  • 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


  1. 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).

  2. In the meantime, heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil or water, shallot (optional), garlic, and ginger. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
*Method adapted from the talented Sprouted Kitchen.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 6 half-cup servings)