Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
This easy to make Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry is a healthy vegan recipe that makes a perfect meatless Monday dinner recipe. It takes less than an hour (mostly hands-off time) to make and is packed full of delicious Indian flavors. Make extras and you'll have a giant smile on your face at lunch the next day.
Complete the meal with some perfect basmati rice or cauliflower rice. And if you love vegetarian curry recipes, also try our coconut vegetarian korma!
It's July! It's summer! It's the season of BBQ and no cook recipes! And here I am, sharing a coconut lentil curry recipe with you. Say what!!
You guys, this is what badass curry dreams are made of. For reals. I'm talking one pot and less than an hour till you're in coconut lentil curry HEAVEN!
I don't care how hot it is outside, it's always a good time for a bowl of hot curry. I mean, it's stinkin' hot in India and peeps eat curry there all the time. They must be onto something.
When I was doing the whole right of passage, backpacking around Asia thing in my early 20s, locals would always tell me that eating hot food on a hot day would cool you down. Makes no sense to me at all, but if you put a bowl of hot curry in front of me and it's a bazillion degrees outside, I'll still eat it. I mean really, how could you not?
This coconut lentil curry recipe is ridiculously simple to make. Five bucks says you're going to look at the recipe and think, “No way THIS recipe could be one of the BEST curry recipes.” But it is. For reals.
It's so simple to make that I made you a video so you can see just how easy it will be for you to sit down in front of a big bowl of curry.
Watch the Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry Video:
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The original recipe comes from a well dog-eared cookbook of mine called, Vij's at Home. I've made some changes to the original recipe so it suits my taste:
- Coconut oil replaces the cooking oil (and I use MUCH less of it)
- Coriander seeds replace ground coriander as I love the little pop of crunch they give.
- Crushed tomatoes replace fresh tomatoes (so I can be lazy and not blend them)
- Harder to find mung beans take a hike and are replaced with brown lentils
- Cilantro gets piled on high.
- Cherry tomatoes get thrown in during the last few minutes of cooking (because heck, why not?)
Since I originally posted this recipe, I've now made it around 324,000 times. That might be a little exaggeration, but I have made it many times. My daughter is a huge fan of this lentil curry, so I usually make a double batch and then freeze some in smaller portions so I have some quick and easy food for her on hand.
Making a big batch also means that we get lunches for days after. Curry is kind of like chili, it's even better the next day. Honestly, every time I make this I get a text from my handsome man the next day telling me how good his lunch is. Win!
Also, after getting several requests, I've now created a Crockpot Coconut Lentil Curry recipe for you! While the original version still wins (in my books) the crockpot version is delicious and so great to come home to after a long day at work. 🙂
Healthy Vegan Curry Recipes
- Black Chana Masala
- Crock Pot Coconut Lentil Curry
- Coconut Black Lentil Curry
- Chickpea Tofu and Eggplant Curry
- Coconut Acorn Squash Curry
- Creamy Coconut Vegetarian Korma
- Loaded Vegan Butter ‘Chicken'
Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds
- 1 head garlic, chopped (10-12 cloves)
- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder, optional
- 3 cups water
- 15 ounce can coconut milk
- A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast until they start to brown, about 45 seconds. Add the garlic to the pot and let it brown, about 2 minutes.1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds, 1 head garlic
- Add the can of crushed tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, and sea salt to the pot and cook, stirring the pot a few times, for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and, if using, the cayenne powder, and the water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Stir the pot a few times to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. If the curry starts to look dry, add an extra ½ – 1 cup of water.28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons ginger, 1 tablespoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 cup dried brown lentils, 1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder, 3 cups water
- Once the lentils are soft and the curry is thick, add the coconut milk and cherry tomatoes and bring the pot back to a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cilantro.15 ounce can coconut milk, A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes, 1 cup chopped cilantro
Such a great recipe!! I add it on top of cauliflower rice so yummy
What type of coconut oil did you use? Solid? Unrefined?
The coconut we buy is solid. But either will work.
Going to try this today but wanted to know have you sprinkled over your dish (in your first few photos)? Crushed chili flakes? Za’tar? Looks great and would like to add the same. Thanks!
Those are crushed chilis!
Thanks! Love this recipe. Twice in 2 weeks. It’s winner.
I was disappointed. The curry is missing from the recipe.
Curry is a blend of spices, many of which are in this recipe!
Absolutely amazing! I added our canned butternut squash and garam masala.
This recipe is so versatile. I’ve made it a gazillion times since finding it. I’ve put in spinach, sweet potatoes, paneer, and canned lentils, and I’ve omitted the cherry tomatoes. I haven’t tried them all at once, but it would likely work as well. The first time I made it, I accidentally used coconut cream instead of coconut milk, and it was probably a heart attack waiting to happen but it was sooo good. I strongly recommend giving it a try. Thank you!
Can you used canned lentils? Would it change amount and cooking time?!
You’ll want to omit the water in the recipe and you’ll really only need to heat them up. If you find that it needs a little more liquid, you can add a splash of water to the pan.
SO delicious — and one of the very rare recipe sites that lists the ingredients under each step (thank you)!
I made this for dinner last night, and it was excellent! Very tasty, and the only thing I changed was that I added a bit of ground coriander in addition to the coriander seeds. Thanks for sharing this!
Awesome recipe, economical and flavourful
Looks great! I’m wondering if this can be made in an Instant Pot?
We haven’t tried it in an Instant Pot, but it should work!
Absolutely incredible. I made this after work and it simmered during our workout. I served it over brown rice with a side of asparagus. We both packed it for lunch, agreed it’s even better, and are excited to get another lunch out of it.
Next time, doubling it!
Can I make this with ground cumin and coriander? That is all I have. If so how much of each?
Yes ground works well, too. You can use the same quantity.
OMG delicious! My only bug is that I did not like biting into the whole coriander and I think I may grind it before I toast it next time.
Thank you for this beautiful recipe! My daughter loved it too 🙂
Just made this for dinner. It was a hit! Great recipe. Thanks for sharing!