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This Indian Coconut Lentil Curry is full of flavor and can either be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove-top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this authentic recipe is not only delicious, it is vegan and gluten-free! Serve the creamy curry lentils over a bed of baby spinach, basmati rice or with homemade naan bread! A simple tasty weeknight meal.
We cannot always change the circumstances, but we can always adjust our consciousness. ~ Radhanath Swami
This flavorful Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in under 30 minutes using your instant pot! And of course, you can also make it on your stovetop- either way, I know you are going to love these cozy, fragrant Indian flavors. One of my favorite lentil recipes to date!
This Coconut Lentil Curry is delicious served over fluffy basmati rice– but lately, I’ve been eating it over a big bowl of fresh baby spinach… so tasty! My husband Brian prefers scooping it up with freshly made, whole wheat naan bread, and yes that is an option too. You could also just serve it as a soup!
ONE thing that gives this creamy coconut lentil curry delicious texture are these Toasted Turmeric Coconut Flakes…totally optional but totally yummy!
Indian Lentil Curry | 45-second video
To make this in an Instant Pot, simply sauté the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger and spices. Add water and lentils.
Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, and manually release. Yes, fast!!!
Add the coconut milk after!
To make the Turmeric Coconut Chips … simply toast coconut flakes in a skillet with turmeric, for 2-3 minutes!
A delicious, crunchy topping for the creamy lentils.
You know me and how much I love different textures in food! They add so much!
These never seem to make it to the next day, unfortunately!
So here you have it….keep it really simple, or embellish with the Turmeric Coconut Chips. Serve over rice, or a big bowl of spinach, or with naan, or all of the above!
These vegan Indian Coconut Curry Lentils are healthy and filling and perfect for the colder months when you are craving something a little heartier.
For a lighter, leaner version of lentil soup- be sure to try this one!
On the homefront. As some of you know, I went to India. It has was an amazing trip on so many levels. And as you can imagine, it was food heaven. The flavors!
I wanted to share a personal experience here with you about my trip. I brought my parents ashes along with my ex sister in law’s to a very old city called Varanasi, where the River Ganges runs through. Hindus believe that when you release the ashes of the dead into their sacred river, souls will go straight to the Divine and be liberated from the cycle of reincarnation, a term they call “Moksha”.
I loved this idea and yearned for this for my parents and for Wendy. What I couldn’t predict, was how the act would actually affect me. It was a much-needed release, a letting go on a deeper level, that until the moment it happened, I didn’t even know I needed.
I left there feeling joyful, light and alive. I felt a sense of moksha (freedom, liberation) in my heart. I am constantly amazed at how wise are our souls are, and how they lead us directly to the experiences we need.
No life is without heartache. And sometimes, holding on to these for too long, we prevent ourselves from fully feeling all the beauty, aliveness and love that surrounds us right now. This heartache for me was like a very subtle greying filter, muting the colorful brilliance and experience of being alive. It was so subtle I hardly knew it was there.
Yet it was. And now it is not.
Now, I don’t believe you need to go to Varanasi specifically to have this experience. But the ritual was meaningful and I think we could create this wherever we are. Releasing pain doesn’t mean we stop loving those who are gone. It frees up our heart to love even more. At least that is how it feels to me.
More recipes you may like:
- Instant Pot Mulligatawny (Curried Indian Soup)
- Indian Shepherds Pie
- Indian Spinach Salad with Lentils & Cauliflower
- Chana Masala (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
- Vegan Tikka Masala (Stovetop or Instant Pot)
For more Globally -inspired Instant Pot Recipes check out some of my favorites here!
Hope you are staying warm and cozy this week.
Instant Pot Lentil Curry
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: vegan, main, stew, instant pot
- Method: instant pot
- Cuisine: Indian
This Instant Pot Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot in about 30 minutes.( Or make this on the stove top- see notes!) Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! Serve it over a bed of spinach, basmati rice or with homemade naan bread!
- 1–2 tablespoons coconut oil, or ghee(ghee tastes best)
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, rough chopped ( 3–4 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped
- 2 cups carrots, diced (or sub 1 cup celery)
- 1 tablespoon cumin (seeds or ground)
- 2 teaspoons coriander ( seeds or ground)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric ( or 1 tablespoon fresh grated)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (not smoked, or sub chili powder)
- 2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional, but elevates)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4–3/4 teaspoon cayenne (or chili flakes) more to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste ( or add 1 small-medium diced tomato)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown lentils (or large green- do not use split)
- 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (ADD AFTER YOU COOK THE LENTILS)
To further elevate: add 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon fennel seeds.
Optional Additions: baby spinach, cilantro, turmeric toasted coconut, fresh tomatoes, avocado slices, fresh chilies, naan bread, fluffy basmati rice.
- Set Instant Pot to the Saute function, heat the oil and saute the onion, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and carrots, saute 3 more minutes, stirring. Add all the spices, salt and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute. Add the water and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the brown lentils, give a stir and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. If using other lentils, see notes. Manually release!
- Stir in the coconut milk.
- At this point, if you wanted, you could also add other veggies- peas, cauliflower, or a handful of spinach to wilt.
- Re-taste for salt, adding more if necessary (especially if adding a lot of veggies) and add more Garam Masala to taste, or chili flakes. If it seems watery, saute or keep on warm, uncovered for a bit. The Coconut Lentil Curry will also thicken slightly as it cools.
- Serve over a bed of baby spinach, over basmati rice (or both) or with homemade Naan.
- To make the Turmeric Coconut Chips, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup coconut flakes and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon ground turmeric. Dry fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly toasted. Turn off heat. These are too easy to burn, so don’t walk away!
STOVE TOP : To make on the stove top(about 45 mins total) heat oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot. Saute onion over medium high heat until fragrant and golden, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and carrots and cook another 3 minutes until you smell the garlic. Add salt, spices, tomato paste and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, scraping up the browned bits. Add an additional ¼ cup water (so a total 2 ¼ cups water) and the lentils. Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer on low heat until lentils are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk. Adjust heat ( adding more cayenne or chili flakes. )
*** If using smaller lentils, decrease pressure cooking time. 5-7 minutes???
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 312
- Sugar: 3.2 g
- Sodium: 628.1 mg
- Fat: 18.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 15.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 29.8 g
- Fiber: 5.3 g
- Protein: 10.4 g
- Cholesterol: 5.1 mg
Keywords: coconut curry lentils, coconut lentil curry, indian curry lentils, vegan curry lentils, instant pot curry lentils, instant pot lentil curry
Utterly yummy! Also loved the complex flavours, the speed and ease of conjuring it up. Definitely a keeper.
This is a keeper! I used French lentils and doubled the amount.
Made it and fell in love! I ended up using less coconut milk (about 250 ml) and it was great.
Awesome- great to hear!
I absolutely love your recipes. I am a FAN!!
One friendly request perhaps is to include metric measurements. I do use google to convert, but….you know…’nuff said:)
Hi- there should be a metric converter at the top of the recipe card. It is not always accurate, but it is there. 😉
I have made this twice now, and it’s fantastic! Everyone loves it. The first time I made as written, the second time I subbed chickpeas for the lentils because I had some to use up…the lentils were better so I’ll stick with that.
Great to hear, thanks!
Anything that gets my husband enthusiastic about lentils (I used green) is a hit with me!
I served with a side of homemade raita (cucumber, Greek yogurt, mint and red onion) and naan bread which was delicious
Haha…Sounds like a yummy meal, so happy you both enjoyed!
Such a simple recipe, and absolutely delicious!! Thank you😁
Great to hear!
Glad you enjoyed Shelly!
Absolutely fantastic. Even got my 2.5 year old to eat it (with a bit of cajoling 🙂
Wow! Great to hear Gabe!
Delicious. Thank you. Will make again.
I have made this a dozen times and everyone loves it! All your recipes have turned out great so far! Thank you.
Great to hear!
This has become one of our favorite recipes. It’s versatile, I can add a bag of frozen veggies for ease & variety, and most importantly, it has a delicious, satisfying flavor!
Great to hear!
I was hoping to make this for a future freezer meal. Should I leave out the coconut milk until it’s time to pull it out of the freezer and reheat? Or do you think it’d be okay to add it as directed and then reheat gently? Thanks!
Hi Amy! I think it should be fine to add the coconut before freezing.;)
This recipe was incredible, our whole family loved it. I can’t wait to make it again.
Used cauliflower and peas,carrot and celery.extra Chile flakes and Garam masala .
Turned out fantastic ,just so many tastes. Wife rated it as one of the best I’ve ever made.
Excellent vegan dish! One of my favorites, and it’s also the lowest in calories, compared to other stews. I don’t like carrots so I substituted a sweet potato and it was delicious. Did mine on the stove in my Dutch oven. Thumbs up. 👍🏻
Great to hear Nicole!
Any suggestions on how to alter the recipe if I want to add chicken thighs?
If using the Instant pot you could just add them (maybe halve them) to the pot before pressure cooking, then shred after they are cooked. If making on the stovetop, you could cook separately then add?
I made this dish yesterday. It came out great despite the strong, not so pleasant odor coming from the Instapot as it cooked. I followed the recipe exactly, adding the optional mustard and fennel seeds. Given the smell coming off the pot I was surprised that it tasted so rich and delicious. I can’t, however, get rid of the smell from the Instapot lid. I have soaked the rubber band in hot water, and even used vinegar. The smell is still coming off on my hands. Something about the combination of spices in this recipe is leaving a smell that is not good. I’m wondering if it is the dried fenugreek leaves (more than I ever use in a recipe). I use these spices all the time and have never had this happen. Maybe the rubber on the Instapot? I’m new to cooking this way so don’t know.
That is so strange Anne- I was going to suggest vinegar but looks like you already tried that. How about soak in a little bleach water?
Will try that. Thanks
This recipe looks great! How come ghee is in the recipe though if it’s vegan?
Hi Justin, ghee is optional (and traditional in this recipe) Use the coconut oil for a vegan version. Most recipes are adaptable like this on the blog. 🙂
This dish was incredible! I only had red split lentils and it still came out perfect (I kept an eye on it and only simmered about 15 min on stovetop). Added peas and coconut milk at the end, served with cilantro, lime, avocado and pita. Cannot wait to make it again!
Perfect Jess- glad it worked for you!