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. 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. 🙂

  2. 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 ?

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ?

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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. 🙂

  11. 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.

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