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Bowl of Red Lentil Curry and brown rice topped with red onion and cilantro
4.77 from 106 votes

Spicy Red Lentil Curry

Insanely delicious, 30-minute red lentil curry! Saucy, hearty, and protein-rich. Perfect over brown rice for a simple, plant-based meal.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 3
Category: Entree
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Indian-Inspired, Thai-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4 Days

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 3 Tbsp red curry paste (ensure vegan friendly)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup dry red lentils (thoroughly rinsed in cold water + drained)
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (plus more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk (optional)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Cooked brown rice (I love this method)
  • Pita or naan (omit if gluten free // check for vegan friendliness)
  • Pickled red onion*
  • Fresh chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly rinse lentils in a fine mesh strainer and set aside. If serving with brown rice, cook at this time using this method from Saveur.
  2. Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, garlic, ginger, and carrots. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add curry paste and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add tomato paste, vegetable broth, water and stir to combine. Then add lentils, coconut sugar, turmeric, and stir.
  5. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly to low (or medium-low), and gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Stir frequently to incorporate flavors, and add more vegetable broth as needed if the mixture becomes too thick.
  6. An optional (but recommended) step: stir in coconut milk for additional creaminess, and to balance the heat of the curry paste.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more turmeric for depth of flavor, coconut sugar for sweetness/flavor balance, or a pinch of salt for saltiness.
  8. To serve, divide brown rice (optional) and lentils between 2-3 (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) serving bowls and garnish with cilantro, pickled onions, and pita or naan for dipping (optional).

  9. Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop, adding water as needed for moisture, or in the microwave.

Notes

*To make quick pickled red onions, add 3/4 cup (180 ml) warm water, 1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine or apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp (25 g) organic cane sugar, and 1/2 tsp sea salt to a mason jar and seal tightly. Shake to combine/dissolve sugar. Then add 1 small red onion (110 g), thinly sliced, and shake. Set in refrigerator to "pickle" for at least 15 minutes, preferably 30 minutes. Will keep for 1 week.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with light coconut milk and  lesser amount of coconut sugar and without additional toppings or rice.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 3)