Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (2024)

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This easy lentil curry made with curry powder, garam masala, and other spices is perfect over white rice or cauliflower rice as a vegan or vegetarian main or side dish.

Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (1)

Lentil Curry

This red lentil curry ismore like a soup than a thick stew and can be made on the stove or in the Instant Pot. It’s perfect served over rice or cauliflower rice. Adding a little lime and cilantro at the endimproves and brightens the flavor. Best of all, the curry can stay inthe fridge all week for leftovers, and it freezes well. I am always trying to eat more lentils throughout the week because they’re a simple way to achieve my fiber goals (at least 25 grams per day). More lentil recipes I love are this lentil soup and lentil salad.

Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (2)

This healthy lentil curry recipe is from the new cookbook Plantifully Lean by Kiki Nelson, which features “more than 125 simple, plant-based, low-fat recipes.” She offers satisfying and delicious plant based dishes, including Shiitake Rice with Thai Peanut Sauce and French Onion Soup. I was fascinated to read about her weight loss journey following a high-carbohydrate, low-fat, plant based diet. So many of her recipes looked amazing, but I was most excited to try this vegan curry, and I’m happy I did.

Lentil Curry Ingredients

  • Spices: Cumin seeds, garam masala, curry powder, coriander, salt
  • Aromatics: Fresh minced garlic and ginger, diced onion
  • Tomatoes: Dice two Roma tomatoes.
  • Lentils: I used one cup of red lentils.
  • Water for the lentils to cook in
  • Garnish: Cilantro leaves and lime wedges

Frequently Asked Questions about Lentils

Do you need to soak red lentils?
The great thing about lentils is that they don’t require soaking like beans do. Plus, they cook much faster than dried beans. You may want to rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer to ensure there’s no debris.

Do you have to cook lentils before adding them to curry?
No! The lentils cook in the curry, making this dish a one-pot meal.

How long do lentils take to cook in a curry?
Red lentils take about 20 to 30 minutes on the stove and 20 minutes in the Instant Pot.

Is lentil curry good for you?

This lentil curry without coconut milk is full of fiber and protein and under 300 calories. Lentils are also packed with vitamins and minerals, like iron, B6, and potassium.

How to Make Lentil Curry

  1. Cumin Seeds: For the Instant Pot, push “Sauté,” and on the stove, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Toast the cumin seeds for a minute until fragrant and browned.
  2. Add the other ingredients: tomatoes, onion, garlic, garam masala, curry powder, coriander, salt, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.
  3. Lentils: Stir in the lentils and four cups of water. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and pressure cook for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. On the stove, bring the water to a boil, cover, and cook on low for 20 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

How to Serve Lentil Curry

I like this lentil curry over white or brown rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option. You could also serve it with a piece of naan or roti to scoop up the lentils. If you want a vegetable to go with it, try this Warm Curry Roasted Vegetable Salad, Rainbow Carrots with Ginger, or Roasted Cauliflower.

How to Store Lentil Curry

Store anyleftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator forup to a week orfreeze for up to a month. The red lentil curry is even moredelicious the next day, making it perfect for meal prep! Reheat it in the microwave until warm.


  • Lentils: You can swap red lentils with green or brown ones.
  • Vegetables: Add spinach or kale at the end.
  • Cumin: If you don’t have cumin seeds, add ground cumin with the other spices.
Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (3)
Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (4)

More Lentil Recipes You’ll Love

  • Lebanese Lentil Soup
  • Lentil Bowl with Avocado, Eggs, and Cholula
  • Chicken and Lentil Soup (Instant Pot)
  • Lentils and Rice with Eggs and Bacon
  • Lentil Soup with Butternut and Kale

Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (5)

Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot)

4.09 from 37 votes





This easy lentil curry made with curry powder, garam masala, and other spices is perfect over white rice or cauliflower rice as a vegetarian main dish or as a side with coconut chicken curry.

Course: Dinner, main dish, Side Dish

Cuisine: Indian

Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (6)

Prep: 10 minutes mins

Cook: 30 minutes mins

Total: 40 minutes mins

Print Rate Pin SaveWW Points

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups


  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Roma, plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • fresh lime wedges, for serving


Instant Pot Method:

  • Select the Sautésetting on your Instant Pot or multicooker.

  • Place the cumin seeds in the innerpot and toast until fragrant and browned, about 1minute. Add the tomatoes,onion, garlic, garam masala, curry powder, coriander, salt, and ginger. Cook,stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the lentilsplus 4 cups water.

  • Seal the pot and pressure-cook for 20 minutes, then allowthe pressure to release naturally.

Stove Method:

  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.

  • Place the cumin seeds in the pot and toast until fragrant andbrowned, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic,

  • garam masala, curry powder, coriander, salt, and ginger. Cook, stirringoccasionally, for 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the lentils plus 4 cups water. Bring to a boil then cook covered on low, 20 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender and cooked.

To Serve

  • Serve the lentils over the rice or cauliflower rice, topped with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

Last Step:

Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.


Store any left- overs in an airtight container in therefrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.
The curry is even more delicious the next day!


Serving: 1 1/3 cups, Calories: 216 kcal, Carbohydrates: 41 g, Protein: 13 g, Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 294 mg, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 7 g

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Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (Stove or Instant Pot) (2024)


How long does it take to cook lentils? ›

Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender. For whole lentils, cook time is typically 15-20 minutes. For split red lentils, cook time is typically only about 5-7 minutes. Be sure to season with salt after cooking – if salt is added before, the lentils will become tough.

What is the nutritional value of curried lentils? ›

Lentil curry contains 264 calories per 240 g serving. This serving contains 13 g of fat, 8.8 g of protein and 29 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 7.8 g sugar and 8.2 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate. Lentil curry contains 3.1 g of saturated fat and 0 mg of cholesterol per serving.

Do you cook lentils covered or uncovered? ›

Cook your lentils uncovered on low heat for 20-45 minutes (based on the variety) to plump them up while avoiding split skins and mushy results. Add more liquid as needed until the lentils are done. A good ratio to start with is 1 cup of lentils to 2½ cups of liquid.

What happens if you don't soak lentils before cooking? ›

Here's why soaking lentils is important

Fact 1: Soaking lentils improves digestion and nutrition absorption as it can neutralise lectins and phytates present that may cause gas and bloating. Fact 2: Soaking lentils also reduces its cooking time. It also brings prana (life) into the legume.

Which color lentil is healthiest? ›

Black Lentils (Beluga lentils)

Best of all, black lentils are the most nutritious variety of lentils, boasting the highest amount of protein, plus high levels of calcium, potassium, and iron.

Is Lentil Curry good for you? ›

Whether brown, green, yellow, red, or black, lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate, and an excellent source of protein. They pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors.

Are lentils good or bad for you? ›

Lentils have plenty of folate, iron and vitamin B1, which also support your heart health. Lentils may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, by lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure. One study found that eating lentils led to greater reductions in blood pressure than eating chickpeas, peas or beans.

Is it better to soak or boil lentils? ›

Yes, soaking lentils improves the absorption of zinc, calcium, iron and protein, as well as reduces the phytic acid and tannins. Also, soaking lentils will make them palatable and softer and absorb more protein and minerals.

Do I need to soak lentils or not? ›

Lentils do not require it but can be soaked in order to reduce cooking time by about half. Before cooking, rinse lentils in cold water, pick over to remove debris or shrivelled lentils, then drain.

How do you know when lentils are fully cooked? ›

The best way to tell if lentils are cooked is to try to mash one with a fork. If it's easy to mash it, it's fully cooked. If it doesn't give or just breakfast, you may need to simmer if for a few extra minutes. Lentils are an economical and speedy way to add iron and heart-healthy vegan protein to your diet.

How long does it take for lentils to get soft? ›

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine water, lentils and salt. Bring pot to a full boil, then adjust and lower heat just enough to maintain a slow, steady simmer. Cover tightly and continue cooking until the lentils are soft and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes or so.

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