15 In Main Courses

Quick Coconut Curry Lentils with Greens

We’ve been working on our repertoire of quick weeknight meals lately. This one comes from an idea I had one night trying to determine what to do with some kale from the garden. I ad-libbed with some brown lentils and a can of coconut milk we had on-hand, threw in some curry powder, and voila – it actually turned out pretty tasty!

This recipe is a quick way to get to something that tastes like it’s been cooking for quite a while — it also has a fairly short ingredient list, so it’s feasible to make on a weeknight. Another secret is using Thai red curry paste instead of lots of fresh ingredients — grab a jar from the store in the international aisle, and it keeps for a long time in the refrigerator.

We made this recipe in part as a request from a reader for some quick weeknight meals — and whose family had a penchant for Indian food. With the Madras curry powder, the curry is Indian in its flavor profile. However, we have no claims of it being in any way authentic – it’s just a quick and easy way to get a healthy meal on the table  — with an Indian flair!

Quick Coconut Curry Lentils with Greens
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • 2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice, to serve
  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 pound kale, chard, spinach or collard greens (8 cups chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
What To Do
  1. Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, bring 2¾ cups salted water to a boil. Add 2 cups brown lentils, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer covered for about 20 to 25 minutes, until most of the water has been absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the greens, remove the stems and chop the leaves. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the greens and sauté for several minutes until tender and bright green. (If the lentils are not done by this point, turn off the heat for the greens).
  4. When the lentils are done, add them to the skillet with the greens. Over medium high heat, stir in 1 can coconut milk, 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste, 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until heated through. Taste, and add additional seasonings as desired.
  5. Serve over rice; if desired, add hot sauce (Sriracha).



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  • Reply
    Connie | Daydream In Color
    September 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

    This sounds delicious! I love lentils & I love indian food…it’s making me hungry!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I love lentils for a quick meal (of course, I think you could add curry to anything and I’d eat it!)

  • Reply
    Courtney Jones
    September 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Yum! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight now :)

  • Reply
    September 20, 2012 at 9:13 am

    this is a real comfort meal! quite healthy and tasty, loved it. It turned out great!

    • Reply
      September 20, 2012 at 10:24 am

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Amazing! I said “this is my new favorite lentil meal” at dinner tonight and my two year old said “this is MY favorite lentil meal too” through a full mouth. Wonderful.

    • Reply
      September 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Oh, how nice! The thought of a sweet 2-year-old saying this made my day :) Thanks for writing!

  • Reply
    Tess Danesi
    October 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    This is seriously delicious and super simple. I used spinach and kale, added a TBSP of coconut manna for extra creaminess (and because I had it in the house) and sriracha because I love heat and I have to say it’s a keeper!

    • Reply
      April 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Oh, so glad you enjoyed it! Your additions sound excellent.

  • Reply
    Chris Rawstern
    January 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    This recipe sounds seriously delicious. I wish my husband would eat things like this. He might eat a little. Once. Then it’s all mine. Not that it’s a problem, but he could do with a little more of the greens and lentils in his diet. I could live on them. I will be trying this. I have everything but Kale. Maybe frozen spinach would do?

    • Reply
      April 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Chris, sorry for the very late response on this! Frozen spinach would most certainly work. You wouldn’t even need to saute it — you could just add it together with the lentils, coconut milk and spices. Let me know if you tried it out!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Do you think it would be good with coconut oil instead of olive oil?

    • Reply
      April 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      I’m sure it would be fine!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I hit this with some onions, peppers, and cashews the other night, and of course a healthy amount of Sriracha – it left nothing to be desired.

    • Reply
      March 28, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Glad to hear it! :)

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