Skip the Thai restaurant and make the BEST curried lentils at home! It’s easy to make, it’s loaded with flavor, and it only requires 10 ingredients. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free.
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You are going to love these delicious curried lentils because this recipe is simple to make, it only requires 10 easy-to-find plant-based ingredients, and it’s very inexpensive!
Curried lentils and rice is a staple meal in our house, I make it at least 1-2 months because it’s just so darn easy and tasty! It makes a big batch so we have leftovers for a few days (or I freeze half for another night!), that’s always a plus to me. My mama always taught me, “to cook once and eat twice.” That mantra has saved me a lot of time in the kitchen over the years.
How to Make Curried Lentils
Start by cooking the lentils until they’re soft but not mushyy, then set them aside. In a separate pot, cook 2 cups of basmati, jasmine, or brown rice. In a large pan, saute the onions in vegetable broth or olive until they’re translucent.
Add the minced garlic, curry powder, coriander powder, cumin, Thai green curry paste, sea salt, and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Add the vegetable broth and cooked lentils, bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a low simmer.
Add the frozen red peppers and stir in the coconut milk. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes or until the peppers have defrosted.
I wanted to keep this recipe simple (and inexpensive) by letting the lentils be the star and by only adding a bag of frozen red peppers for a pop of color. Feel free to add any vegetables that you would like but it’s truly delicious just like this. Serve a a big scoop of the curried lentils over warm fluffy rice or quinoa and top it with green onions, cilantro, and lime juice.
What Type of Lentils Should You Use?
This curried lentils recipe is so versatile that you could use almost any type of lentil and it would turn out delicious. You could make this a green lentil curry (this would be my second choice), yellow lentil curry, or brown lentil curry. My first choice is to use French green lentils because they hold their shape and texture really well after being cooked, they look pretty, and they taste fantastic. The only type of lentil that I wouldn’t recommend using is red lentils because they get very soft and mushy once they’ve been cooked. I’m sure it would still taste delicious but it wouldn’t be the best presentation.
Want more vegan lentil recipes? Check out this list of 49 Super Tasty Lentil Recipes for Lentil Lovers!
French Green Lentil Curry Sauce
The Thai green curry sauce is so flavorful and it’s so simple to make. You might think that you need all kinds of exotic seasonings and hard to find ingredients to make this French green lentil curry sauce but you don’t! All you need is this Thai green curry paste + a few common seasonings that you probably already have in your pantry.
I know it seems like a lot to use the whole bottle of Thai green curry paste but, trust me, it’s the perfect amount and it gives the sauce so much flavor!
Does This Recipe Make Mild or Spicy Curried Lentils?
I wouldn’t say that this lentil curry is spicy at all, it’s definitely mild. I would rate it a 2 on a spicy scale of 1-10. The Thai green curry paste isn’t spicy at all in my opinion. I only use a 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes for a tiny bit of heat but you could completely omit the chili flakes or add extra if you enjoy a spicy kick. You could also add cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce to increase the heat.
Can You Freeze Curried Lentils and Rice?
Yes, curried lentils and rice freeze very well, just make sure to freeze the lentils and the rice separately. Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is one of those recipes that I make a big batch of and then freeze half of it so we have dinner ready for another night. When you reheat the lentils, you may need to add extra vegetable broth if the sauce is too dry.
I prefer freshly cooked rice so I don’t usually freeze it and reheat it. However, you definitely can freeze leftover rice to eat another day. Make sure you let the cooked rice cool completely in the fridge before you freeze it.
Tips For Making the BEST Coconut Curry Lentils
- Use full-fat canned coconut milk to make the curry sauce extra rich and creamy.
- Don’t under or overcook the lentils. Lentils with the perfect consistency are very important to this recipe since it’s the main ingredient!
- Use premade green curry paste to save time.
- Don’t skimp on the curry paste. If you use the green curry paste that I recommend, use the whole bottle. I know it looks like a lot but it’s the perfect amount.
More Green Lentil Recipes That You’ll LOVE!
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The BEST Curried Lentils
- 2 cups uncooked French green lentils
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 1 tbsp vegetable broth or olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 oz bottle Thai green curry paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
- 10 oz frozen red peppers
- Optional: cilantro, roughly chopped
- Optional: lime, sliced
- Optional: green onion, sliced
- Cook the lentils according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. Start cooking the brown rice in a separate pot while you make the curry sauce.
- In a large pan, saute the diced onions in 1 tbsp of vegetable broth (or olive oil) until translucent. Add the minced garlic, curry powder, coriander, cumin, salt, chili flakes, and green curry paste. Stir to combine and let it cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the cooked green lentils and vegetable broth to the pan. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add the frozen peppers and coconut milk. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve the green curry lentils over hot brown rice and top it with green onions, cilantro, and slices of lime.
- Green lentils are the best substitution for french lentils. You can use red or yellow lentils but they won't hold their shape as well.
- You can substitute canned lite coconut milk for the full-fat coconut milk but don't use the coconut milk in a carton, it's not as creamy.
- Feel free to add extra vegetables.
- You can substitute red curry paste for green curry paste.
- If you like a spicy curry, I would recommend adding an additional 1/2 tsp of chili flakes or cayenne pepper.