Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, garlic, ginger, and carrots. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add curry paste and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add tomato paste, vegetable broth, water and stir to combine. Then add lentils, coconut sugar, turmeric, and stir.
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.
An optional (but recommended) step: stir in coconut milk for additional creaminess, and to balance the heat of the curry paste.
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.
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).
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.
*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. *This recipe is inspired by both Thai and Indian flavors. You can learn more about the origins of red curry paste and turmeric by following the links. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with light coconut milk and lesser amount of coconut sugar and without additional toppings or rice.