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. If I’m making this as a freezer meal for the instant pot, do I need to add the coconut oil? Or should I just leave it out? Thanks!

  2. Delicious! I had everything in the house for this and was in the mood for curry so we gave it a go. I used Trader Joe’s light coconut milk and it worked well. I also threw in some cubed sweet potato, a large seeded and chopped tomato that had to be used and spiced it up with hot sauce but otherwise followed the recipe (for a change). This really hit the spot. Thanks!

  3. This recipe is so good and so easy. I usually end up adjusting new recipes to better suit my family’s tastes but I won’t be changing a thing with this–it’s perfect as is! Thank you, Olena!

  4. Hi, I am Jennifer from Calgary and have a hard time making toast.
    I have made this in the slow cooker, twice now. The first time, well uh, uh. Second time tho, perfecto. Almost. I just found it a little bland. Although quite enjoyable. Any suggestions?

    1. Lol u r cute! Yes the best way to jazz it up are the toppings after – cilantro, lime, green onion, sour cream and cheese. Or add more spices to taste to the curry itself.

  5. Hello,

    I made this recipe the other day and it was a hit with my husband who doesn’t like green lentils. YAY!

    I did make some alterations:
    It’s tomato season here, so I used a large tomato in place of the paste.
    I soaked my lentils for a few hours first and used the same amount of water which made this a soup.
    Once the lentils were cooked, then I added the coconut milk. Coconut milk can curdle easily so I prefer to add at the end of cooking.
    I used a little bit more coriander than what the recipe calls for.

    Thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper!

  6. We are always looking for new vegan recipes to try. This dish is easy to make, and the Indian spicing is delicious. We will definitely make it again.

  7. Hello,

    I recently switched to a plant based diet (still eat eggs, soooo hard to NOT do eggs for breakfast) and i have been pretty blown away with this blog recipes, they look so fancy and easy to pull off 🙂

    Just one question – maybe a dumb one – the measures regarding this particular recipe refer to “tbs”.Is this a teaspoon or a tablespoon?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Tiago. So happy to hear that. Have you tried chia pudding for breakfast? I don’t eat plant-based but I rarely eat eggs for breakfast. I love chia pudding for breakfast!
      As a rule of thumb, in recipes tsp=teaspoon and tbsp=tablespoon. Please let me know how you like this lentil curry recipe.:)

  8. For the Instant Pot version, why don’t you saute the onions with spices first to get more depth of flavor, like you do with the Crockpot version? This is one of my favorite recipes! But I ditched my slow cooker after getting the Instant Pot, and wondering why you shouldn’t stir. Will it create the dreaded “burn” message?

    1. You don’t have to sauté with instant pot because food cooked under pressure comes out more flavourful than using slow cooker or stovetop.
      Yes and stir especially with tomato products cause Burn often.

  9. I tried this recipe for the first time and it turned out soooo good! The flavours are just unbelievable! My whole family loved it it was finished within minutes! I didn’t have tomato paste and exchanged it with tomato sauce. Thanks a lot! I’ll be trying other meals as I really love the “healthy and simple” emphasis and the fact that various prep methods are so nicely outlined.

  10. 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!

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

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