Looking for a plant-based meal that is quick, hearty, and incredibly flavorful? Try our green curry lentils. They are perfect for weeknight dinners and only takes 20 minutes to cook once the lentils are done.
The ingredients for green curry lentils take mostly pantry staples. Thai red curry paste and the coconut milk can be found in the Asian part of the grocery store.
- Lentils: Sprouted green cook the quickest and are easiest to digest, but green or brown would also work.
- Greens: Baby spinach is popular, but Swiss chard or kale would be good too.
- Dried Spices: Garam masala, salt, and black pepper are the only ones. I wouldn't substitute these; keep it simple.
- Liquids: Vegetable broth and unsweetened coconut milk make the broth taste amazing.
- Canned goods: Thai red curry paste and tomato paste provide flavor and thicken the broth a bit.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Don't want to add spinach? Add another green like Swiss chard or kale.
- Don't want to use sprouted green lentils? Swap with green and cook for 40 minutes, or brown and cook for 20.
- Can't find Thai red curry paste? Try Thai green curry paste.
- Don't want to cook your lentils in water? Use 6 cups of vegetable broth instead.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for cooking the lentils.
- Cook the lentils according to the directions on the package. We boiled 6 cups of water and added 2 cups of sprouted green lentils.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let them stand for 5 minutes.
3. Drain the lentils and add a bit of salt.
4. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat up the oil for two minutes, then saute the onion until soft. Reduce the heat to medium then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds while constantly stirring, then bloom the dried spices.
5. Reduce the heat to medium low and add in the 4 cups of cooked lentils and pour in the vegetable broth.
Add the Thai red curry paste, tomato paste, and the freshly grated ginger. Stir and cook for a few minutes.
6. Pour in the unsweetened coconut milk, then add the baby spinach a little at a time.
7. Cook until the spinach has wilted and the curry has heated through, roughly 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the freshly squeezed lime juice and stir well to combine the flavors.
8. Serve while still hot with rice, Asian noodles, or naan bread.
Using sprouted lentils can make it easier for your body to digest them and will probably give you less gas if you eat a larger portion.
Technically, no, but for this recipe we did cook them separately. It took 15 minutes for the sprouted green lentils to cook, which shaves off time in cooking the curry.
Lentils should be tender and not crunchy. When they are done cooking, strain them in a colander and stir in a bit of salt to taste.
Yes, they most certainly are, as long as they are cooked and not eaten raw. Eating lentils regularly can help lower your cholesterol and stabilize your blood sugar, and they are a wonderful source of protein and fiber.
Green curry lentils are a nutritious meal on their own, but if you're looking to serve them with some side dishes, here are some options:
- Rice: A bowl of steamed rice, is a great accompaniment to green curry lentils. The rice helps to soak up the flavorful sauce. For a rice alternative, try our copycat Chipotle cauliflower rice.
- Naan or Taboon: A piece of warm, fresh-baked naan or taboon can be an excellent addition to your meal. These flatbreads have a slightly chewy texture that complements the lentils well.
- Salad: A simple side salad like our bell pepper salad can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich and spicy flavors of the lentils.
- Roasted sweet potato: Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables and adds a nice crispy texture. Roasted sweet potato pairs very well with this curry.
- Make Ahead: The green lentils can be cooked ahead of time and all the ingredients can be prepped. This green curry lentil recipe only takes 20 minutes to cook so it's best fresh.
- Leftovers: Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Any leftovers can stored in a freezer friendly container for up to 1 month.
- Reheat: Warm up any leftovers in a large skillet or saucepan over medium low heat until heated through.
- Short on time? Use sprouted green lentils. They cook in 15 minutes instead of 40.
- Don't substitute the full fat unsweetened coconut milk or the garam masala.
- Want rice? If serving over rice, eat right away, as the rice will absorb the broth.
- Want more broth? Serve with Thai noodles instead of rice.
- How much broth is in this curry? This recipe makes 6 ½ cups total, with 2 ½ cups being broth.
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Green Curry Lentils
- 2 cups green lentils, sprouted or regular
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 13.5- ounce can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
- 6 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)
- Bring the water to a boil in a 3-quart pot, then add the sprouted green lentils and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and let it stand for 10 minutes. If you are not using sprouted green lentils, you'll need to cook the lentils according to the directions on the package.
- Heat up the olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onion for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium then add the dried spices (garam masala, salt, and black pepper) and cook for 30 seconds.
- Dump in the 4 cups of cooked green lentils, vegetable broth, red curry paste, tomato paste, and fresh ginger. Stir until well mixed, and cook for a few minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium and pour in the coconut milk, then add the baby spinach a little at a time. Cook and until it's wilted and the curry is heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Remove from the heat and pour in 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Stir until well combined. Serve warm with rice, Thai noodles, or naan bread and garnish with the chopped cilantro.
- For a short cut, use sprouted green lentils. They cook faster and are easier to digest.
- Unsweetened coconut milk and the garam masala are key flavors in the broth; don't substitute.
- Like to eat this on a bed of rice? Eat right away, as the broth gets absorbed quickly.
- Serve with Thai noodles just before serving if you want more broth.
- This recipe has 2 ½ cups of broth if made with 4 cups of cooked lentils.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.