This easy to make, deliciously creamy Coconut Lentil Curry is a healthy vegetable-based recipe perfect for Meatless Monday. It’s easy to adapt this recipe by adding chicken or shrimp but honestly it stands on its own with the deep layering of flavors.
It has been a fan favorite here. It’s easy to make a double batch so you can freeze some for a busy no-time-to-cook night or for lunch. It’s even better after a day or two when the flavors have really soaked in.
The garlic in this dish alone is reason enough to make it. Anything that starts with 12 cloves of garlic has my full attention. I’m not calling this an Indian dish or even a true curry. I have too many Indian friends I do not want to insult. However, this dish is easy, easy, easy and it is creamy and flavor-packed with fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric. I’m always looking for recipes that use turmeric. That’s how I stumbled across this one. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. I always look for ways to incorporate it.
If chopping fresh ginger isn’t enough to make your kitchen smell wonderful, the scent of whole cumin and coriander cooking in the coconut oil is amazing.
Once finished, this dish was very good but because I never know when to quit I continued to experiment. I added two spice blends from Spiceology. You might remember me gushing about this spice company on my Instagram story, I picked up some of their spice blends a while back and have been a huge fan ever since.
First I added two tablespoons of Thai Peanut Blend. This is one of my favorite blends. It added a bit of sweetness from the dehydrated peanut butter and coconut palm sugar and just a touch of heat. Then I added some of Spiceology’s Tandoori Glory. It’s an Indian Masala Blend. It is a complex blend of curry spices offering both savory and sweet tones. It’s usually used as a rub but because there is no meat in this dish I just added it to the mix. Sooooo glad I did. What was delicious just elevated to a complex layering of amazing flavors. And don’t forget there’s already a ton of garlic and fresh ginger in this pot.
Coconut Lentil Curry
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds
- 1 head of garlic, chopped (10-12 cloves)
- 1 – 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- Optional: 1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder or crushed red pepper
- 1 – 15-ounce can coconut milk
- A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- rice or naan for serving
- 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 soften, about 2 minutes.
- 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. Add 3 cups of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 45-50 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 1/2 – 1 cup of water.
- Once the lentils are soft, 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.