by Olena

Green Lentil Curry (Video)

by Olena

4.9 from 19 reviews

Green Lentil Curry 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.

Lentil Curry in a pot with a spoon

Lentil Curry

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

It is creamy, packed with delicious Indian flavors and healthy! Reader’s husbands of Indian descent give this lentil curry recipe 5 stars.:)

What Are the Best Lentils for Lentil Curry?

  • As name suggests, green lentils are a default.
  • Brown lentils will work just as fine. Both kinds are the most popular and retain their shape well. So, your coconut lentil curry will have a texture.
  • You can use red lentils if that is all you have. Just know that they fall apart during cooking which is better for a soup. But you can make easy lentil curry with red lentils too.

Quick Fact: Lentils are a source of protein, rich in iron, magnesium and folate. You do not have to soak lentils which makes them a fast cooking legume.

a jar with green and red lentils to use in lentil curry recipe

What Is the Best Coconut Milk to Use?

Not all canned coconut milk is the same. I sure have my favorites.

You sure want to use full fat and not low fat coconut milk that has been diluted with water. Coconut milk fat is “good fat” that can lower your bad LDL cholesterol level and increase good HDL cholesterol level, lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease (source). So, please eat it. In moderation like everything else good for you.:)

I like to buy brands that have clean ingredients list: coconut cream, water and guar gum at the most. Many cheaper brands contain preservatives. Also even some organic brands contain lumps. Organic and BPA free cans are a nice bonus.

My favorites are: 365, Thai kitchen, Trader Joe’s (coconut cream) and Compliments.

a can of coconut milk for coconut lentil curry

Make It a Freezer Meal, in Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

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

It is also a freezer meal. You cook dinner from frozen in 1 minute. Isn’t that amazing?! Check out my full list of healthy freezer meals. I’m obsessed!

All options and cooking methods are outlined in the printable recipe card below.

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

What to Serve Lentil Stew With?

My absolute favorite way to serve this curry lentil stew is with a fresh salad. With Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, salt, pepper and oil. It gives it another layer of flavors.

Like yogurt is a must-have accompaniment to curry in Indian cuisine. So is a simple lettuce salad or cucumber and tomato salad for Ukrainian me.

Toasted naan bread or whole wheat pita goes amazing too. And plain yogurt to offset some spiciness. Although this lentil curry dal is not that spicy to keep it kid friendly.

Easy Green Lentil Curry served in a bowl with salad

Can I Freeze Leftovers?

Leftovers keep fresh in the fridge for 5-6 days.

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

More Yummy Healthy Curry Recipes to Try:


Watch Olena Make Lentil Curry

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

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Green Lentil Curry

4.9 from 19 reviews

Green Lentil Curry 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.

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove, Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • 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


  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.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

146 comments on “Green Lentil Curry (Video)

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.:)

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