by Olena

Green Lentil Curry

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Olena Osipov
5 from 77 votes

Green Lentil Curry is easy lentil curry recipe with green or brown lentils, coconut milk and simple Indian spices. Cook on a stove, in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, or make a freezer meal.

We love pulses and this pressure cooker lentil soup and pressure cooker dal make appearance often here for a meatless dinner.

Lentil Curry in a pot with a spoon

Lentil Curry

This green lentil curry with coconut milk, tomato paste and simple spices is an old recipe of mine that I always come back to! My family just loves how creamy and packed with delicious Indian flavors it is.

I love that it is made with lentils which are such a great source of protein. Slow cooker lentil soup or lentil casserole – either way delicious and healthy dinner is served!

I recently re-tested this green lentil recipe to make it slow cooker, Instant Pot and stove top friendly. One of my readers, who is of Indian descent, gave this lentil curry 5 stars. This pressure cooker butter chicken gets the same praise, just saying.

Ingredients for Lentil Curry

  • Lentils: Green lentils are my lentil of choice for this recipe. Brown lentils will work just fine too. You can use red lentils, if that is all you have. Just know that they fall apart during cooking which I think is better for red lentil soup. a jar with green and red lentils to use in lentil curry recipe
  • Coconut milk: Not all canned coconut milk is created equal. Quality is everything for creamy curry! I highly recommend to use full fat coconut milk, with clean ingredient list like coconut cream, water and guar gum at the most, and BPA free can is a bonus. Be aware that many cheaper brands contain preservatives and certain organic ones are lumpy. My favorite brands are: 365, Thai kitchen, Trader Joe’s (coconut cream) and Compliments. a can of coconut milk for coconut lentil curry
  • Cooking essentials: Onion, garlic and tomato paste.
  • Spices: What would curry be without spices? This recipe calls for turmeric, coriander, curry powder, cumin and salt. My absolute favorite curry powder is yellow curry powder I bought initially for this chicken curry recipe. Now I use it everywhere!!!

How to Make Green Lentil Curry

You have 3 options to cook this green lentil curry that you can find in detail in recipe card below. It depends on whether you want to come home to “an Indian restaurant”, go for a quick walk or rather quickly whip it up on the stove top while sipping on a glass of wine and listening to Frank Sinatra.

Here is a brief summary of how to cook green lentil curry on the stovetop:

  • Cook onion and garlic: In a preheated dutch oven or heavy bottom medium pot, add oil, garlic and onion. Cook until golden brown.
  • Add spices: Throw in turmeric, coriander, curry powder, cumin and salt. Stir frequently while cooking for another 30 seconds.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Coconut milk, tomato paste, water and lentils can now be stirred in.
  • Cook for 45 minutes: After bringing to a boil, cover and cook on low.
  • Remove from heat: Let this delicious lentil curry stand for 5 minutes before serving!

More Tips and FAQs

  • Do I have to soak lentils? You do not have to soak lentils which makes them a fast cooking legume.
  • Can I use broth instead of water? Absolutely, it will add a little bit more flavor. Use vegetable broth or if not strict vegan or vegetarian, beef or chicken broth works too. Just make sure it is low sodium, otherwise curry will be too salty. If you have salted stock, do not add salt to the recipe and adjust to taste after, if necessary.
  • Make sure your curry powder is fresh! It is key to the most delicious curry. I buy organic yellow curry powder from Splendor Garden on Amazon.
  • Add more heat: This is mild curry recipe because that is what my kids can handle at this point. Add more curry powder and/or red pepper flakes for heat.

Easy Green Lentil Curry served in a bowl with salad

How to Serve, Store and Freeze Lentil Curry

Serve: This green lentil curry tastes so good on its own, but here are a few of my favorite sides.

  • Veggies: My absolute favorite way to serve this curry lentil stew is with a fresh salad like beets with goat cheese salad or savoy cabbage salad.
  • Bread: Toasted naan bread/whole wheat pita or garlic bread goes amazing too.
  • Yogurt: A dollop of plain yogurt can offset some spiciness and add creaminess. Although this lentil curry is not that spicy to keep it kid friendly.

Store and reheat: Leftovers keep fresh in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-6 days. Reheat by simmering on low with a splash of water or broth, in a small pot while covered and stirring once or twice. Shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

Freeze: Or you can freeze lentil curry in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw curry in a fridge overnight or on a counter for 5-6 hours. If you need dinner a.s.a.p, simmer frozen curry covered on low with a splash of water, stirring occasionally.

How to Make It into a Freezer Meal

Lentil curry can also be made into an easy freezer meal. You prep dinner from frozen in 1 minute. Isn’t that amazing?!

  • Instant Pot: In a gallon size Ziplock bag, add all ingredients, except water and garnishes, finishing with tomato paste on top (very important for Instant Pot). Let as much air out as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Pressure cook on High from frozen with 3 cups of water for 25 minutes with Quick Release.
  • Slow Cooker: Pan fry onion and garlic with spices sauteed for 30 seconds at the end. Transfer to a gallon size Ziploc bag with remaining ingredients, except water and garnishes. Let as much air out as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Then cook from frozen with 3 cups of water on Low for 9 hours or on High for 5 hours.

Check out my full list of 20 healthy freezer meals.

a freezer meal bag with lentil curry ingredients to cook later in instant pot or slow cooker

More Curry and Lentil Recipes

Green Lentil Curry

Green Lentil Curry {5 Simple Ingredients}

Green Lentil Curry is easy lentil curry recipe with green or brown lentils, coconut milk and simple Indian spices. Cook on a stove, in slow cooker or Instant Pot, or make a freezer meal.
4.95 from 77 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 425kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander ground
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 14 oz can coconut milk full fat
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 cups green lentils uncooked & rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • Cilantro and/or green onions for garnish
  • Greek yogurt and avocado for serving

Instructions

  • Stovetop: Preheat dutch oven or heavy bottom medium pot on low-medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and garlic, cook until golden brown (5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add turmeric, coriander, curry powder, cumin and salt; cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  • Add coconut milk, tomato paste, water, lentils and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  • Slow Cooker: Preheat small skillet on low-medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and garlic, cook until golden brown (5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add turmeric, coriander, curry powder, cumin and salt; cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  • Transfer to a slow cooker and add coconut milk, tomato paste, water and green lentils. Stir to combine, cover and cook on High for at least 3 - 4 hours or on Low for 6 - 8 hours.
  • Instant Pot: In Instant Pot, add ingredients in exact same order: onion, garlic, turmeric, coriander, curry powder, cumin, salt, green lentils, water, coconut milk and tomato paste. Do not stir!
  • Cover, set pressure valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 25 minutes. After do Quick Release to release the pressure by turning the valve to Venting.
  • Serve hot garnished with cilantro/green onions.

Store and reheat: Leftovers keep fresh in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-6 days. Reheat by simmering on low with a splash of water or broth, in a small pot while covered and stirring once or twice. Shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

    Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw curry in a fridge overnight or on a counter for 5-6 hours.

      Video

      Notes

      • Do I have to soak lentils? You do not have to soak lentils which makes them a fast cooking legume.
      • Can I use broth instead of water? Absolutely, it will add a little bit more flavor. Use vegetable broth or if not strict vegan or vegetarian, chicken or beef broth works too. Just make sure it is low sodium, otherwise curry will be too salty. If you have salted stock, do not add salt to the recipe and adjust to taste after, if necessary.
      • Make sure your curry powder is fresh! It is key to the most delicious curry. I buy organic yellow curry powder from Splendor Garden on Amazon.
      • Add more heat: This is mild curry recipe because that is what my kids can handle at this point. Add more curry powder and/or red pepper flakes for heat.
      How to Make a Freezer Meal:
      • Instant Pot: In a gallon size Ziplock bag, add all ingredients, except water and garnishes, finishing with tomato paste on top (very important for Instant Pot). Let as much air out as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Pressure cook on High from frozen with 3 cups of water for 25 minutes with Quick Release.
      • Slow Cooker: Pan fry onion and garlic with spices sauteed for 30 seconds at the end. Transfer to a gallon size Ziploc bag with remaining ingredients, except water and garnishes. Let as much air out as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Then cook from frozen with 3 cups of water on Low for 9 hours or on High for 5 hours.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 519mg | Potassium: 839mg | Fiber: 23g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 6mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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