by Olena

Green Lentil Curry

by Olena

Easy Green Lentil Curry Recipe with green lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste and spices. Flavourful Indian stew cooked on a stovetop, in slow cooker or Instant Pot.

This green lentil curry  recipe made with green lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste and spices is an old-old recipe of mine that was screaming for picture makeovers. I also re-tested it to make slow cooker, Instant Pot  and stovetop friendly.

So, you have 3 options depending whether you want to come back home to “an Indian restaurant”, go for a quick walk or rather quickly whip it up on a stovetop while sipping on a glass of wine and listening to Frank Sinatra. The latter is my favourite way to cook (sans wine most times of course) and kids always ask me why am I listening to Christmas music?! Silly-silly boys.

MY LATEST RECIPES

Easy Green Lentil Curry Recipe with green lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste and spices. Flavourful Indian stew cooked on a stovetop, in slow cooker or Instant Pot.

What You Need to Know About This Green Lentil Curry

  • Lentils are dirt cheap (even organic – that is what I buy) and make amazing lentil casserole and spinach lentil soup.
  • This curry really consists of 5 ingredients besides spices and water.
  • I did make a salad to go with the curry. With Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, salt, pepper and oil. I absolutely LOVE pairing curry with fresh veggie salad. It gives it another layer of flavours.
  • And as for spices, I’m always keeping it on a safe side for my North American kids to eat. So, double-triple them if you want. Really, whatever tastes good to your mouth.

If you are up to exploring other super easy curry recipes (particularly Thai inspired made by Ukrainian), try my Thai mango curry with lentils and Thai shrimp curry with squash.

Enjoy!

How to Turn Green Lentil Curry Into 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.

Check out my full list of healthy freezer meals. I’m obsessed!

How to Make Green Lentil Curry

  1. 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.
  2. Add coconut milk, tomato paste, water, green 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. Easy Green Lentil Curry Recipe with green lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste and spices. Flavourful Indian stew cooked on a stovetop, in slow cooker or Instant Pot.
  3. Serve hot garnished with cilantro/green onions. Easy Green Lentil Curry Recipe with green lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste and spices. Flavourful Indian stew cooked on a stovetop, in slow cooker or Instant Pot.
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Green Lentil Curry

4.8 from 5 reviews

Easy Green Lentil Curry Recipe with green lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste and spices. Flavourful Indian stew cooked on a stovetop, in slow cooker or Instant Pot.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. Serve hot garnished with cilantro/green onions.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.

Freezer Meal for 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.

Freezer Meal for 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.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

About Olena

Hi, I’m Olena and this is my healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I now live on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m here to help you with “What’s for dinner?”.

Made a recipe? Tag @ifoodreal or #ifoodreal on Instagram. I would love to share in the “Look what you made” stories.

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103 comments on “Green Lentil Curry

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  1. Hi, I know this recipe is a few years old so this is a late comment but I’m hoping you still see them! This recipe looks so great and I’m planning out some freezer meals. I’m a little confused by the freezer meal directions though because it says to follow up to the final cooking step. If this is going to be an instant pot recipe does that mean I don’t cook anything? Just throw all the ingredients together as is and freeze? What about for the slow cooker? Thanks so much in advance!!

    1. Of course I check everything and reply and update older posts.:) Yes, it is not necessary to fry onion and garlic if using Instant Pot. Everything uncooked goes in frozen. Sorry, I will clarify that. In slow cooker, cook from frozen on Low for 9 hours or on High for 5 hours. In Instant Pot, cook from frozen for 25 minutes with Quick Release. Don’t forget to add 3 cups water before cooking. Have fun! I love freezer meals!

  2. Very good! Not too spicy, which I appreciate a lot! I cooked it in my instantpot for about 25 minutes, natural release.

  3. Made the slow cooker version almost exactly, but mine needed a bit more water cooked on high after 3 hours to keep going. Added some acid at the end (lime juice) and served over quinoa. Really good. Could use some heat, if you like that.

  4. question – i made red lentils and it tastes good but it’s just a mush. How is it supposed to come out – how is it meant to be eaten?

    thanks! Great recipe

    1. Hi Andrea. This is green lentil curry. Red lentils do not hold their shape as well as green. Curry supposed to come out like in my pics, with green lentils. Flavour doesn’t change though.:) You eat it with Greek yogurt and whole wheat pita or naan, toasted or warmed is recommended.

      1. thanks! i know, i only had red lentils and really wanted to make it. Next time i’ll go with green and for now, this will be a thick soup. Which is anyway my favorite thing to eat.

  5. This was a great and easy recipe!! Had multiple people try it and absolutely loved it. I made it, but added chicken which was nice touch!

  6. This is fantastic! All I had was low fat coconut milk so that is what I used. I ended up freezing 1/2 and it was even better re heated. I ate it over fresh spinach.I have really liked all the recipes that I have made from your site. Thanks

  7. Can you use red lentils with this recipe? I have made it with green in the past and loved it. I just couldn’t find green lentils this time!

  8. I’ve made it twice, it turned out great! I want to be able to find it easily and share it with my networks. Would you please please post it to allrecipes? Its not my creation, so it doesn’t feel right copying it over myself!

    1. Hi Ashley. I appreciate you asking and not re-publishing my content. I make a living of off recipes I publish here and giving my own recipe to allrecipes would take that income away from me. I suggest you save the recipe to your main screen if you have an iphone, you know that rectangular button with an arrow at the bottom of each page?! Then you can easily access it. Also to share, I have Facebook, Pin and Email button on every page. Glad you enjoyed the recipe and hope this helps.

  9. I tried to make this today… it has been in the crockpot for 6 hours and it isn’t think… more like a soup! I am going to cook up some rice and pour it on that so we don’t waste it but any idea on where I may have gone wrong?

    1. Let it cook a few more hours, you won’t need rice or waste the green lentil curry. Lentils will absorb the liquid, don’t worry!:) Crockpots differ, yours might cook food slower.
      Also, have you stirred it?

      1. I cooked it longer and it thickened – we didn’t end up eating it on rice but was still a bit more of a soup texture. I actually liked it better the next day after it was in the fridge for a bit – found it thicker. Also, I realized I soaked my lentils overnight – I’m guessing this isn’t needed!? Could it be part of the reason it was more liquidy? I did stir it a couple times – should I not have!?
        I also added Sriracha sauce when I ate the leftovers and loooooved it that much more! Definitely attempting this again soon

        1. You don’t have to soak lentils. That’s reason one your curry was soupy. Secondly, every time you open a slow cooker you let the built up steam out and you have to add about an hour of cooking time. So mystery solved. You just leave slow cooker alone and let it do its job. 🙂

  10. Really tasty. Easy to follow instructions and simple ingredients. I wouldn’t have thought of putting coconut milk and tomato paste together but it works really well. Really lovely taste ?

  11. This is the best Indian food recipe I have ever seen so far. I like how you give your instruction in a very easy manner. I am an inspiring chef and I want to cook my very own curry soon.

  12. So I love curry…. I’m obsessed actually. I wonder how this would turn out without tomato paste. I just found out I have reactions to tomato paste and canned sauces as well as canned diced tomatoes. Not sure how mad my reaction is to fresh tomato as I don’t typically eat fresh tomatoes. I’ll try to remember to come back and update how it turns out ?

  13. This is by far our family’s favorite lentil recipe – mostly because our kids, 10 and 6, can’t get enough of it!!! A dab of yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh coriander has them asking for 2nd or even thirds!!!
    I add a dash of habanero sause to mine- but I food a little spicy,
    This is a MUST ADD to your recipe roledex!!
    Thank you!!!

  14. This recipe was easy to follow. I didn’t have any cumin or coriander but used chili flakes and powder with curry. Came out amazing. The best lentils I’ve made ever. I will be remaking this and freezing some for the future.

  15. All I have are brown lentils… I buy them at a middle eastern bakery/deli. You say any kind,green or yellow but you did not mention brown.

    1. Hi Barbara. I have never seen or cooked brown lentils but from a quick search that I did I think you can use them. Any lentils work, the texture of final dish might be different. That is all.

  16. This was super delicious, thank you! We ate it with romaine lettuce wraps, halved grape tomatoes and plain Greek yogurt!

  17. I’m currently making this recipe. I kept it just as the cook/author wrote the recipe, BUT I doubled the spices and added a couple dashes of cayenne as we are all fire-breathing adults around this house!! YUMMY! I love all the flavors! Pinned it to my “Veganomics” board to be referred to again and again! Thank you!

  18. This was really good! I discovered I was out of curry powder so had to use tikka paste, which had all the things in it. I also fried up some chunky mushrooms with a bit of cardamom and added that near the end. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  19. This is a wonderful recipe! I really appreciate that you added the Dutch oven instructions because I don’t have a slow cooker. I substituted coconut cream for half the coconut milk and it was extra creamy. Super bonus- my picky 2 year old ate two huge bowls of this!!

    1. Hi Darah. Glad to hear.:) Yes, any lentils. As long as you measure the same amount. The texture will be a bit different because red lentils fall apart more.

  20. This is absolutely delicious and the BEST thing I have in months!!! Thank you!!!!!! I cooked it too long in the crock pot and it started to burn. I boiled more water and added it. my 3 year olds loved it!!!!

    1. Hi Allyson. Flattered to hear your munchkins approved. I started my kids on whole foods early too and now have barely any problem feeding them. It does pay off.

  21. This looks amazing, cant wait to try it! I am in the UK though and unsure what to use – here, we don’t have tomato paste in cans, we have tomato puree that comes in tubes, or passata in jars/cartons. Which do you think? Judging by the photo, I think puree is probably closer, but thought I’d ask! Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Rachel. Yes it is puree. I just googled the image and it says “double concentrated” on Tesco brand. I remember my mom studying in England many years ago and she shopped at Tesco. So I figured that is what you have. Passata is just strained tomatoes that wouldn’t work in this recipe.

  22. for the stovetop method, is 45 min the correct cooking time? Just tried this as instructed, but my lentils are not soft. Like eating tiny pebbles. Should they cook longer?

    1. Hi Rebecca. I apologize for not replying sooner but my website was down all day due to hosting issues. We are working on it this week. Yes, you can cook longer. Not sure why this happened. Usually if I bring lentils to a boil and cook them covered on low 2 they take 45 mins. Definitely not more like beans.

    1. You are welcome! I can’t say I love all Indian food but some for sure. I’m not a fan of their sweets. Just very different…I’m sure Russian sweets might look the same lol

  23. So tasty looking! My husband recently realized he likes lentils (yes!!!) and we have everything on hand to make this lentil curry. Pinning so I don’t loose track of your recipe!

      1. I love this recipe! I like my indian food spicy, so I doubled each spice. I was out of cumin so replaced with two teaspoons garam masala, and I threw in a few cardamom pods. Was not overly spicy with these changes, especially since we ate it with brown rice. Thanks for the recipe.

        1. That works great! Amount of spices are a personal taste. I find ethnic people and certain North Americans like a NICE BIG punch of spices.:) Their small kids eat more spicy foods than my husband can handle LOL

  24. It’s late now. I want to make this in the morning to leave it but I don’t have coriander. Is it a deal breaker? Is there an alternative?

    1. It’s fine. Not a deal breaker. Adds nice flavour but it’s OK. You can taste curry once cooked and add cumin instead of coriander if desired.

    1. I eat curry on its own but you can serve it with whole wheat pita or bread. It is one pot meal and quite filling. My husband likes it with bread. 🙂

  25. This was amazing! I did need to add extra water and this was done in about 2 hrs on Low heat. I added 15 oz diced tomatoes in juice which added to the flavor. Thinking about adding some garam masala.

  26. I tried these tonight and LOVED them… Was looking for different healthy recipes for the new year and this DEFINETLY fit the bill! Thank you so much for posting this 🙂

    1. Yay! I love lentils too – cheap, fast, high in protein, great vegetarian alternative to meat, and one of my kids eats them. You are welcome!

  27. Only after buying all ingredients I realized that I need crock pot and I have never heard about it before (probably because I am from Denmark), but I am doing it old school on the stove and waiting for the result!

    1. I am sure it will turn out fine!!! I post many crock pot recipes because many readers are working moms. Let me know how it turns out.

    1. You are welcome. You can have this simmering in the crockpot, while you are whipping up your next healthy sweet creation.:)