Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry: An easy vegetarian lentil recipe with a taste of Asia.
Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry: An easy vegetarian lentil recipe with a taste of Asia.

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry: An easy vegetarian lentil recipe with a taste of Asia.

This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry recipe is so easy to make at home! Less than an hour and you’ve got yourself a meal packed full with delicious Indian flavors. It’s much tastier than takeout and healthier, too. It’s warm and comforting, perfect for any day.  This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free for all to enjoy.


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 a lentil (dal) curry is a staple at every meal in an Indian household. They must be onto something!


So, what are lentils? Lentils come from the legumes category and are an inexpensive, nutritionally dense source of plant protein. For this recipe, I used brown lentils because they take on flavor excellently and hold their shape well, but there are many different types of lentils; each come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Brown lentils are the most common type of lentils used and can be found in most grocery stores.


You guys, this is what curry dreams are made of. For reals. I’m talking one pan and less than an hour (mostly hands-off time) till you’re in coconut lentil curry HEAVEN!  You won’t be wasting your time doing dishes after dinner and can enjoy time with your family or guests. Can I get a booyah!

The secret to making amazing curries is to use plenty of aromatics (like onion, ginger and garlic), coconut milk, and just a little bit of sugar, this combination adds loads of complexity and makes a fantastic meatless Monday meal.  Make extras and you’ll have a giant smile on your face at lunch the next day.


The next time you have a dinner party at home, you can make this undemanding creamy coconut lentil curry to just wow your guests. I can assure you that your home would smell like a beautiful Indian restaurant.


Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry | Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 4 cups water
  • 1.5 cups uncooked brown lentils(can sub for red, yellow, green)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh minced ginger or 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Optional 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (for heat – omit if you don’t like spice)
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1-15 oz light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish
    • cilantro
    • lemon slices

Served with cooked basmati rice


  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add lentils and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook lentils uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until just tender. Then drain and set aside. Be careful not to overcook or they can become mushy (cooking time will vary by variety of lentil)
  2. In the meantime, heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add cumin, coriander, salt, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Turn heat down to low.
  3. Add coconut milk and coconut sugar (or maple syrup), stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 7-8 minutes to combine flavors.
  4. Add the drained, cooked lentils to the curry sauce and stir. Taste test, they might need more seasoning at this point. Season to taste.
  5. Turn off heat, add lemon juice, and stir. Serve over rice, garnish with cilantro, and enjoy!


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