Irresistible Red Lentil Curry
Thai Red Curry Paste & Red Lentils
My family is crazy over curries.
Indian curries, Southeast Asian curries, Jamaican curries, Ethiopian curries… We love them all!
It’s satisfying to make traditional curry recipes that have been around for generations, and in some cases for thousands of years.
Yet it is just as satisfying to mix things up, and make mashup curry creations!
Irresistible Red Lentil Curry
Today’s Red Lentil Curry Recipe is just such a fusion of Indian and Thai ingredients.
You’ve got the red lentils and tomatoes used in Indian (or Middle Eastern) curries, along with Thai red curry paste and coconut milk associated with Thai (or Southeast Asian) curry dishes.
The collision of these two styles of curry makes an utterly irresistible blend of flavors.
The soft thick “refried bean” texture is also appealing.
It makes this healthy Red Lentil Curry dish feel like a stick-to-your-bones kind of meal, even though it’s gluten-free, vegan, and packed with fiber and nutrients.
Healthy Meal Prep
I am addicted to this red curry lentils recipe.
Two of the things I love most about it, other than the deep tantalizing spicy flavor, is that it makes a large batch of 8+ hearty servings, and it tastes fabulous days later.
That makes our Irresistible Red Lentil Curry a perfect meal prep recipe!
You can cook it on Sunday and box it up for the whole week, with cashews, pickled onions, and rice (or with greens if you are cutting out grains.)
It tastes just as lovely on day 4, 5, and 6 as it did on the first day. Some might even argue it tastes better as the spices have had a longer time to mix and mingle.
However, if you don’t want such a large batch, you can easily half this recipe using our serving slider in the recipe form below.
I’d personally rather have yummy leftovers than half-used cans of tomato and coconut milk in my fridge.
Irresistible Red Lentil Curry Ingredients
- Coconut oil. To saute the veggies and spices. You can use olive oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
- Onions and garlic. Because all great curries need onions and garlic.
- Carrots. To add a little natural sweetness.
- Ginger. This offers a fresh punch of sweet spice.
- Thai red curry paste. All brands of red curry paste are different. Some are much saltier and spicier than others. Taste your red curry paste so you know what you’re dealing with before adding it to the curry recipe. If you are concerned about overpowering spicy-heat, you can add a small amount of curry paste at first, then add more later.
- Ground cumin. For an underlying smoking essence.
- Dried red lentils. Red lentils are hulled so they do not retain their shape quite like brown lentils. This is what creates the soft velvety texture in the curry. If you cannot find red lentils, buy yellow lentils instead.
- Vegetable broth. To add additional flavor while keeping this dish meatless.
- Crushed tomatoes. For extra acidity and texture.
- Coconut milk. To give the curry a silky finish.
You can see, with this lineup of ingredients, we’ve got a heavy hitter on our hands in the flavor department.
It’s a multicultural curry dish that everyone will enjoy… Even your classic meat-and-potato eaters will find it irresistible!
Try serving it with:
- Chopped Kale
- Spice-rubbed grilled chicken
- Or as-is!
Best Red Lentil Curry Recipe FAQ
Yes, as long as the red curry paste you buy is gluten free, the entire recipe is as well.
Packed in an airtight container it will last up to 10 days.
Yes. Thaw it at room temperature, before rewarming.
Of course not. If you are not vegan, feel free to use chicken broth, or top it with meat before serving.
You can stir in additional water to loosen it up, if it needs more cooking time. This will not affect the overall flavor.
You can swap the oil for any kind of oil you prefer. You can also substitute the coconut milk for half & half, although I would add it at the end, instead of the beginning. Please note, this will change the flavor of the dish.
More Tantalizing Curry Dishes
- Best Panang Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry
- One-Pot Thai Curry Shrimp Pasta
- Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry
- Quick Shrimp Rogan Josht
- Malabar Chicken Curry
Irresistible Red Lentil Curry Recipe
For the Red Lentil Curry:
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 2+ tablespoons thai red curry paste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounce dried red lentils
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
For the Pickled Onions:
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup cilantro
- For the Pickled Onions: In a small microwave-safe bowl mix the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Microwave for 60-90 seconds to dissolve the sugar. Slice the onions thin. Then mix them into the pickling water. Allow them to soak as you make the lentil curry.
- For the Red Lentil Curry: Chop the onions, carrots, garlic and grate the ginger. Set a large 6-8 quart pot over medium heat. Add the oil.
- Once hot, add the onions, carrots, garlic, ginger, 2-5 tablespoons curry paste, cumin, and salt. Saute until the onions are soft and tender. *If your curry paste tastes/smells very spicy, add only 2 tablespoons. You can always add more later.
- Pour in the dried red lentils, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk. Stir well. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes, so the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- If the liquid seems to absorb before the lentils are fully cooked, add some water to loosen up the mixture. After 20 minutes, the lentil curry should be soft and thick.
- Drain the pickled onions. Serve the lentil curry warm, on its own, with rice, or with baby spinach. Top with pickled onions, cashews, and cilantro leaves.