These easy curried lentils are packed with spices for a delicious flavor! This recipe is a budget-friendly dinner that is also vegan and gluten-free! Try this for your next meatless meal!

Easy Curried Lentils
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Why I Love This Recipe

Lentils are such a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with tons of protein and fiber. Plus, they last a long time in your pantry so you can have them on hand for an easy weeknight meal! This is a great plant-based recipe that is also budget-friendly! This dish really is built on pantry staples. You don’t need a ton of fresh produce, so you’ll probably have things on hand to make this at any time. And while lentils do take a little time to cook, this recipe is pretty hands-off. That means you can prep it, get it on the stove, and have the kitchen all cleaned up before dinner is served!

Curried Lentil Ingredients

  • Olive oil– A little olive oil helps enhance the flavor of the onion and curriy powder.
  • Onion– I used a small white onion but a yellow onion works fine too.
  • Garlic– I prefer fresh garlic, but you can use garlic powder in a pinch.
  • Curry powder- This is what gives this dish its signature curry flavor so be sure to use a fresh, high-quality spice.
  • Cumin & Turmeric– These spices are often included in curry powder, but I like to add additional seasonings to enhance the overall taste.
  • Diced tomatoes– These add body and flavor to this dish. You could use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for a slight smoky flavor.
  • Bay leaf– This adds a savory, deep flavor to the broth.
  • Lentils– I used green lentils but you can use green or brown lentils.
  • Vegetable broth– Look for a low-sodium broth so you can control the saltiness of this dish.

Where to Buy Lentils

You can find dried lentils at most grocery stores. They’re often sold by the dried beans and rice, but you can also find them in bulk bins. They tend to be a bit cheaper in the bulk bins, but even the pre-bagged lentils are very affordable. 

a bowl of cooked lentils

Types of Lentils

  • Brown or green lentils are very similar, and that’s the type of lentil we’ll use for this recipe. They maintain their shape when cooked, but get soft but are still structured These lentils work best for this recipe.
  • Red lentils become very soft when cooked. These can be great for puréed soups because they can thicken the broth, but they’re too soft for this recipe.
  • French lentils are sometimes called lentils de puy. These small, black lentils keep their shape well, and they’re great tossed on salads or in wraps. These are great for meal prepping because they won’t get mushy after being cooked. They’re a bit too firm to use in this recipe.

Do lentils go bad?

While lentils do last a very long time, they don’t last forever. They keep for about a year, although they’re likely safe to eat beyond that. That’s a long time, but if that bag of lentils has been sitting in the back of your pantry for over a year, they may not soften properly.

Tips for Perfect Curried Lentils

  • You’ll need to use green or brown lentils. Red lentils won’t hold their shape in a dish like this and will produce a mushy result. Green or brown can be used pretty much interchangeably. 
  • I like to use Edward & Son’s “not-chicken” broth, but feel free to use your favorite vegetable broth!
  • Make sure your curry powder is fresh. It should smell fragrant. If the curry powder has lost its fragrance, it’s likely lost its flavor too.

How to Store Leftovers

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to one month. To reheat, simply defrost then microwave until heated through. These leftovers reheat well so it’s a great meal prep recipe!

What to Serve with Curried Lentils

This recipe is a great one to pair with fresh bread, naan, or rice. You could also serve these lentils with this 5 ingredient olive oil bread or pair it with a salad like this chopped kale salad!

More Lentil Recipes

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Easy Curried Lentils

Easy Curried Lentils

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These easy curried lentils are packed with spices for a delicious flavor! This recipe is a budget friendly dinner that is also vegan and gluten-free! Try this for your next meatless meal!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small, yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, washed and picked over
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat
  2. Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, curry powder, cumin, and turmeric and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and lentils and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the bay leaf and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 30-35 minutes, until the lentils become soft.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt to taste.

Notes

This post was originally published in June 2016. Updated November 2023.

Keywords: curried lentils