This is the easiest Lentil Curry that you will try, and the best too in my opinion. A perfectly spiced creamy curry that feels far more indulgent than it actually is. This vegan curry is protein packed and nutrient dense. A simple weeknight meal that is great for batch cooking too.
Lentils seem to have a bad reputation of being bland and just for hippies. But they are such a great vegan protein source and there is so much that you can do with them too.
Making a curry is just one of our favourite ways to use lentils, as it makes a really healthy and budget friendly meal. This curry will change the way you think about lentils.
Why you will love it
- An exciting way to cook with lentils - If you have never cooked with lentils before, then this is a great place to start as it is so easy.
- Protein packed - Thanks to the lentils, this is a protein packed curry that definitely doesn't miss the meat.
- A budget friendly meal - Lentils are very inexpensive, especially when you buy them in bulk, so this is a cheap meal to make.
- Great for batch cooking - This curry freezes and reheats really well, making it perfect for batch cooking.
- A creamy vegan curry - Vegan curries can be creamy too and this one is thanks to the coconut milk.
- Made from ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard - This is a great store cupboard raid meal, as you probably have most of the ingredients in already. No need to buy anything fancy!
- Lentils - We used red lentils, as they are quick cooking. Dried green lentils can take longer but they do hold their shape better, however you could use a can of cooked green lentils if you prefer.
- Shallots - This is the base of the curry and they add a nice sweetness to it. You could swap them for a small brown onion if you prefer.
- Garlic - Fresh is always best, but you could use frozen garlic or crushed from a jar to save time.
- Aubergine - We find that this adds some chunky texture to the curry. You could swap it for courgette though if you prefer.
- Curry paste - We "cheated" and used a store bought curry paste to save time. Try to use the best quality one you can, as you will honestly be able to taste the difference.
- Chopped tomatoes - This is a tomato based curry, so we used a can of chopped tomatoes. Try to use the best quality ones you can, as cheap tinned tomatoes tend to be really watery and you want a nice thick curry. We love Mutti tomatoes.
- Coconut milk - This is what makes the curry nice and creamy, but still vegan. We used reduced fat, however you could use full fat which would make it creamier.
- Mango chutney - This is always our "secret" ingredient in curries. Just a little bit adds SO much flavour. You can make your own with our mango chutney recipe.
- Stock - We used vegetable stock to keep it vegan, but you could use a chicken stock which would give a richer flavour.
- Coriander - Some fresh coriander really lightens up the whole dish.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make lentil curry - Step by step
One: Cook your lentils according to the packet instructions and then drain.
Two: In a large pan, heat the oil and then add the shallots, garlic and aubergine and gently cook for 4 minutes.
Three: Add the curry paste and mix well.
Four: Put the rest of the ingredients to the pan, stir well, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the curry has thickened a little. You may need to add a little extra stock if it starts getting too thick.
Health benefits of lentils
- High in protein - 1 cup of lentils contains 18g of protein, which is more than chickpeas. That's great news for vegans, as you can use lentils in replace of meat in lots of dishes, and they will still be high in protein.
- A good source of calcium - whilst a lot of people get calcium from dairy, if you aren't consuming dairy, then lentils are a good alternative to get calcium.
- A good source of iron - one portion of lentils has around a third of your daily requirement of iron. Mix some spinach in to this stew and you have yourself an iron pack meal.
- They are full of fibre - if you want to feel fuller for longer, then meals that are high in fibre are the way to go. It's also great for digestive health. Lentils are a good source of fibre and this is a deliciously filling meal.
- High in magnesium - Lentils are high in magnesium, which is great if you are feeling stressed and having trouble sleeping.
- A good source of folic acid - If you are, or have ever been, pregnant, then you will know the importance of folic acid. But it's also important for lowering the risk of heart disease and is good for healthy hair.
It's not just the lentils that make the curry healthy! If you use a curry paste that has plenty of garlic and ginger in it, then there are tonnes of antioxidants in those and curry paste always have turmeric in it, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Although this red lentil curry itself isn't particularly low in fat due to the coconut milk, it is healthy fats and this curry will keep you fuller for longer. Less snacking has to be a good thing, right?
I am going to hold my hands up here and say we "cheated" and used a store bought curry paste here. Let's face it, times are changing and you can get some amazing quality ready made things like sauces and pastes now.
Whilst we do love making things from scratch as much as possible, the beauty of this curry is how quick and easy it is, and that is partly down to the ready made curry paste. Speaking of time saving, you can save yourself even more time by using canned lentils - this would make this curry ready in just 15 minutes.
Buy a really good quality one (with as little nasty added ingredients as possible) and you really will taste the difference. If you do have some extra time on your hands, then of course you can make one yourself.
We used a madras paste in this, as it's the perfect level of spice for us, but you could use a milder one, or even go hotter. Just use whatever suits your taste buds.
Our little "secret ingredient" in this curry, and every curry we make, it a couple of big spoonfuls of mango chutney (again, use a really good quality one). It adds SO much extra flavour, without extra spice, and adds a lovely sweetness to the curry. In my opinion, it's this ingredient that makes it appealing to kids.
A curry like this is so versatile, and super easy to adapt. We just used shallots and aubergine, but there is no reason why would couldn't use other vegetables like courgette, bell peppers, carrots and peas. You could even add some small chunks of cooked potato if you wanted to make it more filling.
Just make sure that the vegetables are all cut to the same size so that they cook evenly.
If you want to give this curry a bit of a green veggie boost, then you can stir in some spinach or kale a few minutes before it has finished.
What to serve with Lentil Curry
Curry and rice is a classic combination, but we have also have this with potato wedges too. Now that is comfort food! But you could also just make a couple of our Easy Homemade Flatbreads and use them to scoop up all that delicious curry sauce. Maybe brush some garlic butter on the flatbreads too.
Once fully cooled, divide in to containers and they will keep in the fridge for 2 days.
Yes, you definitely can and this is one of our favourite healthy batch cook meals. When I was pregnant I made a huge batch of this, with a big pan of rice too, and then portioned it all out and put about 8 pots in the freezer. It was so handy knowing that I had a healthy and filling meal in the freezer.
Just wait for it to fully cool and them put in a freezer container and it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Make sure it is fully defrosted and then you can either reheat it in the microwave, or heat it through on the hob. Make sure it is pipping hot all the way through before serving.
You could add meat to this curry, but it really isn't missing it. But, if you want a vegan base, and then an option to add some meat for everyone else at the dinner table, then you could stir through some (shredded) leftovers from our Slow Cooker Whole Chicken.
• Feel free to change the vegetables that you use, just make sure that they are all chopped to a similar size to ensure even cooking times.
• Add a green veggie boost to this curry by stirring in some spinach a couple of minutes before the end.
• You can save yourself even more time by using canned lentils - this would make this curry ready in just 15 minutes.
• Save yourself some time and use a jar of curry paste. But you could make your own too.
• You can keep this in the freezer for up to 3 months, or in the fridge for 2 days.
• We used half fat coconut milk to save some calories, however it isn't as creamy as if you used full fat.
• If you forget to shake your can of coconut milk well before opening it, like I so often do, and it has separated, then just pour is all in to a large bowl and whisk it all together.
• If the curry starts getting a bit too thick, add a little more stock. Equally, if you find it has too much liquid, then allow it to cook off for a little longer.
More curry recipes
Easy Lentil Curry
- 200 g (1 cups) Dried red lentils
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 5 Shallots - diced
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 1 Aubergine (eggplant) - diced
- 4 tablespoon Madras curry paste - (heaped)
- 400 g (2.5 cups) Chopped tomatoes - canned
- 400 ml (1.75 cups) Light coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon Mango chutney - (heaped)
- 100 ml (0.5 cups) Vegetable stock
- Fresh coriander (cilantro) - to serve
- Cook 200 g Dried red lentils according to the packet instructions and then drain.
- In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon Olive oil and then add 5 Shallots, 2 Garlic clove and 1 Aubergine (eggplant) and gently cook for 4 minutes.
- Add 4 tablespoon Madras curry paste and mix well
- Put the lentils into the pan with 400 g Chopped tomatoes, 400 ml Light coconut milk, 2 tablespoon Mango chutney and 100 ml Vegetable stock, stir well, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the curry has thickened a little. You may need to add a little extra stock if it starts getting too thick.
- Serve with rice and Fresh coriander (cilantro).
- Feel free to change the vegetables that you use, just make sure that they are all chopped to a similar size to ensure even cooking times.
- Add a green veggie boost to this curry by stirring in some spinach a couple of minutes before the end.
- You can save yourself even more time by using canned lentils - this would make this curry ready in just 15 minutes.
- If you like your curry really spicy, then either use a really spicy curry paste, or add a sprinkle of red chilli flakes just before serving.
- Save yourself some time and use a jar of curry paste. But you could make your own too.
- You can keep this in the freezer for up to 3 months, or in the fridge for 2 days.
- We used half fat coconut milk to save some calories, however it isn't as creamy as if you used full fat.
- If you forget to shake your can of coconut milk well before opening it, like I so often do, and it has separated, then just pour is all in to a large bowl and whisk it all together.
- If the curry starts getting a bit too thick, add a little more stock. Equally, if you find it has too much liquid, then allow it to cook off for a little longer.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.