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 are vegan, gluten free, and dairy free. They are also easy on the budget. Plus, once the lentils are done this fantastic curry dish only takes 20 minutes to cook.
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The ingredients for this recipe 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.
- Aromatics: Yellow onion and fresh garlic are traditional, but white onion or shallots would be nice also.
- 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. These two ingredients make the broth taste amazing.
- Canned goods: Thai red curry paste and tomato paste provide flavor and thicken the broth a bit.
- Fresh spices: Grate some fresh ginger for a bit of Asian inspired flavor, and garnish with some fresh cilantro.
- Citrus: Finish the dish with some freshly squeezed lime juice to brighten the flavors.
Do green lentils need soaking?
No, but it's a good idea to sort through them and discard any debris, then rinse them under cold, running water.
Why should I use sprouted lentils?
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.
Do I need to cook lentils before adding to curry?
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.
How do you know when lentils are fully cooked?
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.
Are lentils healthy?
Yes, they most certainly are as long as they are cooked and not eaten raw. Eating lentils regularly can help lower your cholesterol, stabilize your blood sugar, and are a wonderful source of protein and fiber.
How many calories are in this recipe?
For a serving size of 1 ¼ cups, there are 499 calories, 58.8g of carbs, 21.6g of fat and 22.1g of protein. For more nutritional information, scroll to the end of the recipe card.
What can I serve with this recipe?
- Rice: white, brown, or cauliflower rice, added just before serving or the rice will absorb all the delicious broth
- Noodles: Thai or Asian noodles, placed in individual bowls before serving
- Bread: naan bread or pita bread
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the lentils. We used 2 cups of sprouted green lentils to 6 cups of filtered water.
Cook according to the directions on the package, then drain and add a bit of salt.
Gather the ingredients for the curry, then chop up the onion, mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and squeeze the limes. Note, use only 4 cups of cooked lentils or the broth will be reduced.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat up the oil for two minutes, then add the onion and saute until soft. Reduce the heat to medium then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds while constantly stirring, then add the dried spices and cook for for the same length of time.
Reduce the heat to medium low and dump 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.
Pour in the unsweetened coconut milk, then add the baby spinach a little at a time. 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.
Serve while still hot with rice, noodles, or bread.
- 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.
- Don't want 2 ½ cups of broth? Use the vegetable broth to 1 cup, but keep the coconut milk the same or increase the cooked lentils to 5 cups.
- 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 just before serving.
- 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)
- 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.
- Once the lentils are cooked, and the ingredients are prepped, this recipe takes 20 minutes to cook.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
The cardamom in the garam masala adds a lot of exotic flavor to this dish! The lentils are chewy, and the broth is so creamy. This is SO delicious!
Thank you, Alex!
The spices in this curry are great! I love the combination of spinach with the soft lentils. The broth is amazing, too. This curry is the best I have ever had, and it's not spicy hot at all.
We're so grateful that you enjoyed the curry!