Vegan Lentil Curry is a healthful one-pot meal packed with layers of flavor, using ingredients easy to find at your grocery store. Perfect for a meatless Monday dinner!

Bowl of vegan lentil curry and white rice garnished with lime wedges, pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.

Easy Vegan Lentil Curry

The culinary school I went to focused on very classical French techniques. Before dawn, the Baking students would get started on all-butter croissants.

At the same time, the students running the school’s restaurant would be roasting veal bones for stock. An hour later, the Breakfast & Pantry class would come in and begin making vegetarian quiche and bacon in the oven.

The Pastry students came in later and would go to the storeroom refrigerator to retrieve an ungodly amount of butter for their tasks that day.

And in the middle of all of the beef bones and eggshells, was a chef instructor who ate a vegan, raw food diet. Well, he ate that diet at home.

His job made it impossible to eat that way while he was instructing, as he had to taste all of his student’s work. But, in his free time, he was vegan.

Because of him, the students learned at least one vegan dish in those school kitchens that were usually full of roasted chicken and poached eggs.

He taught some classes how to make savory oatmeal for dinner. On my rotation, the assignment was vegetables lasagna and the Lentil Curry recipe I’m about to share with you.

Why you will love this Lentil Curry

  • The multi-step cooking technique for this lentil and vegetable curry really shows you how easy it is to build flavor, with any type of ingredients.
  • With lentils being so affordable, it’s an economical option for feeding yourself or your family without compromising on flavor or nutrition.
  • It keeps well in the fridge of freezer, making it a great meal prep option. Cook up a big batch and portion it out for easy lunches throughout the week.
Bowl filled with a lentil curry recipe and white rice garnished with lime wedges, pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.

Lentil Curry Recipe ingredients

  • carrots – you’ll need two medium carrots for this vegan lentil curry recipe, or three small ones.
  • onion – I like regular ol’ white onion for this lentil vegetable curry, but a sweet yellow onion is great here, too.
  • garlic – this is essential to build flavor!
  • tomato paste – this adds acidity and color to this vegan lentil recipe.
  • curry powder – I like Madras curry powder here. Check out Food 52’s guide all about Indian curry powders to learn more about the different types that are available.
  • ginger – grated FRESH ginger is essential.
  • red pepper flakes – just a pinch, to add a little spice.
  • vegetable broth – if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, you can use chicken broth.
  • lentils – any color works for this curry lentil recipe; more on that later.
  • coconut milk – I like to use full fat coconut milk to add richness to this dish.
  • white or brown rice – for serving.
  • pomegranate seeds – for garnish.
  • mint leaves – for garnish.
  • lime wedges – for garnish.

How to make Lentil Curry

  1. VEGGIES. Saute carrots and onion with oil in a large Dutch oven until they begin to soften.
  2. AROMATICS. Add the garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, ginger, salt and red pepper flakes and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. SIMMER. Add the broth and lentils and heat to boiling. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the lentils, stirring occasionally.
  4. COCONUT MILK. Stir in the coconut milk and cook uncovered until the mixture thickens a little bit.
  5. SERVE. Serve over rice, garnished with mint, lime wedges and pomegranate seeds.

Curry Lentil Recipe variations

  • SPICY – If you like heat, you can increase the amount of red pepper flakes, or add a bit of chopped jalapeno to this vegetable lentil curry.
  • SPINACH – I’ll often stir in an entire box of fresh baby spinach at the end for a boost of green goodness.
  • SWEET POTATO – Add a small diced sweet potato to the mix in Step 1 for extra fiber and nutrients.

Home Chef Tips for Lentil Vegetable Curry

  • You can use any variety of dried lentils for this vegan curry recipe. I’ve made this with brown, green and beluga lentils, and it turns out great each time.
  • Cooking time may vary by a few minutes based on what kind of lentil you are using, so just test for doneness as the curry simmers and adjust cooking time accordingly. If you feel like you need to add more broth or water, do it.
Closeup of a spoon digging into a curry lentil recipe in a shallow gray bowl.

How to serve Vegetable Lentil Curry

I like to serve this with white or brown rice, or even quinoa, to fill me up a bit more, but that’s up to you! I find that it’s pretty much a complete meal in a bowl!

However, if you’d like to add an additional vegan side dish to this lentil vegetable curry, I recommend my blistered tomatoes or roasted acorn squash.

How to store Vegan Lentil Curry

Leftovers should be cooled to room temperature, and then transferred to an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze lentil curry?

Yes, you can freeze this for future meals! Cool it to room temperature before transferring to a freezer-safe container. Make sure to leave some space at the top of the container to allow for expansion as the curry freezes.

Freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Lentil and Vegetable Curry FAQs

What do lentils taste like?

Lentils have a mild, earthy flavor on their own, but primarily, they absorb the flavors of the spices and other ingredients they are cooked with.

Why does my lentil curry taste bitter?

Lentil curry can taste bitter if the lentils are undercooked. Make sure the lentils are tender before serving.

Lentil and Vegetable Curry

Lentil and Vegetable Curry

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Vegan Lentil Curry is a healthful one-pot meal packed with layers of flavor, using ingredients easy to find at your grocery store. Perfect for a meatless Monday dinner!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
  • Prepared white or brown rice, for serving (optional)
  • Fresh mint, lime wedges and pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In Dutch oven or other medium pot with tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots and onion and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, ginger, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in broth and lentils; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 35 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed by lentils, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in coconut milk; increase heat to medium. Cook uncovered 5 minutes or until curry thickens slightly, stirring frequently.
  5. Serve curry with rice and garnish with mint, lime wedges and pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Notes

Home Chef Tip: You can use any variety of dried lentils for this curry. I've made it with brown, green and beluga lentils, and it turns out great each time. Cooking time may vary by a few minutes based on what kind of lentil you are using, so just test for doneness as the curry simmers and adjust cooking time accordingly.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is for curry only. Does not include rice.

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