This coconut lentil curry has it all: it’s a fast and easy dinner idea that’s healthy and full of flavor. Perfect for weeknights!
Alex and I have been working on our repertoire of fast and easy dinner ideas for years. It’s a constant challenge, trying to figure out those standbys that are quick, healthy, and delicious at the same time! This coconut lentil curry 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 lentils and a can of coconut milk we had on-hand, threw in some curry paste, and voila! It turned out so tasty that we decided to share it here. Keep reading for this coconut lentil curry recipe.
Another great curry? Vegetable Curry, Chickpea Curry or Quick Vegan Curry
How to make coconut lentil curry
This coconut lentil curry is a quick way to get to something on the table that tastes like it’s been cooking all evening! This is not an authentic Indian or Thai curry, just a coconut lentil curry inspired dish that’s a fast dinner idea. It has a fairly short ingredient list, so it’s feasible to make on a weeknight. The base of the curry is simple: just lentils, coconut milk, Thai curry paste, and tomato paste. (If you need a sub for coconut milk, head to our substitutes for coconut milk in curry.)
It’s also a great way to eat your dark leafy greens! You can throw in handfuls of any of your favorite greens. The easiest is throwing in handfuls of baby spinach that’s prewashed and boxed: or you can also add chopped kale or Swiss chard. When we talk to people about delicious ways to eat leafy greens, a curry is one of our top recs because the greens pick up all flavor of the lentil curry!
A secret ingredient: Thai curry paste
The secret to this coconut lentil curry is using Thai red curry paste. Thai curry paste has beautifully fresh flavors: garlic, lemongrass, and ginger to make whipping up curry recipes a breeze. Grab a jar from the store in the international aisle, and it keeps for months in the refrigerator. Some Thai curry pastes are spicy and some don’t have too much heat. Our favorite brand of Thai curry paste is Thai Kitchen, and it doesn’t add much heat to the overall dish. If you can’t find it at your local grocery, here’s a link to Thai Kitchen red curry paste on Amazon.
Have you tried our coconut lentil curry? What are your favorite weeknight dinner recipes? Let us know in the comments below.
Related: 28 Day Healthy Meal Plan | 15 Best Lentil Recipes
This lentil curry recipe is…
Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.Print
Coconut Lentil Curry with Greens
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
This Coconut Lentil Curry is a 30 minute easy dinner idea that’s healthy and full of flavor; it’s a plant based recipe flavored with Thai curry paste.
- 2 cups uncooked white or brown basmati rice, to serve (or Instant Pot basmati rice)
- 2 cups brown or green lentils
- 8 cups chopped leafy greens: spinach, kale, or chard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Make the rice according to How to Cook Basmati Rice (or Instant Pot Rice).
- Place the lentils in a saucepan with 6 cups warm water. Bring to a low boil, then boil for about 20 minutes until tender (taste to assess doneness). Drain, then add a few pinches of salt.
- Meanwhile, wash the greens, remove the stems and chop the leaves. (If using prewashed baby spinach, you can skip this step.) In your largest skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the greens and sauté for several minutes until tender and bright green.
- When the lentils are done, add them to the skillet with the greens. Over medium high heat, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, tomato paste, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook for a few minutes until heated through and the sauce is thickened.
- Taste and add a few pinches of salt if desired. Serve with rice.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Thai Inspired
Keywords: Coconut Lentil Curry, Lentil Curry, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Healthy Dinner Ideas, Healthy Dinner Recipe,
Looking for more plant based dinner ideas?
Outside of this coconut lentil curry recipe, here are some other favorite healthy dinner ideas (all vegan / plant based recipes!):
- Best Stir Fry Vegetables with Teriyaki
- Masoor Dal (Indian Red Lentils)
- Perfect Vegan Black Bean Burger
- Cauliflower and Tomato Coconut Curry
- Sweet Potatoes with Thai Peanut Butter Sauce
- “Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Stress Reducing Avocado and Quinoa Bowl
- Moroccan Cauliflower Soup
- Broccoli and Turmeric Yellow Rice Bowls
- Our Best Vegan Pizza
- Easy Dal Makhani
- Related: 10 Romantic Dinner Recipes
Looking for more fast and easy dinner recipes?
And, here a few more of our favorite fast and easy dinner recipes:
- Loaded Quinoa Tacos
- 5 Minute Romesco Gnocchi Sauce
- Mushroom Pasta with Goat Cheese
- Seared Salmon Poke Bowl
- Vegan Italian Pasta Salad
- Penne with Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Chickpea Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce
- Tropical Mango Bowls with Citrus Drizzle
- Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich
- Tex Mex Migas Recipe
- Avocado Black Bean Vegetarian Quesadilla
- Thai Curry Pizza with Naan Bread
- Broiled Salmon with Bourbon Glaze
- All Easy Dinner Ideas!
This sounds delicious! I love lentils & I love indian food…it’s making me hungry!
I love lentils for a quick meal (of course, I think you could add curry to anything and I’d eat it!)
Yum! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight now :)
Made this for lunch and loved it. Lentils had just the right texture to them and it’s appropriately saucy. I added some onions and garlic and used canned spinach and it was perfect. Thanks for the inspiration.
this is a real comfort meal! quite healthy and tasty, loved it. It turned out great!
Glad you enjoyed it!
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.
Oh, how nice! The thought of a sweet 2-year-old saying this made my day :) Thanks for writing!
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!
Oh, so glad you enjoyed it! Your additions sound excellent.
Recipe says 6 servings. What is a serving size?
We don’t have a cup measure, sorry!
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?
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!
Do you think it would be good with coconut oil instead of olive oil?
I’m sure it would be fine!
Hell yes it would Diane
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.
Glad to hear it! :)
Loved this healthy, easy weeknight meal. I think we might cook the lentils in a mix of water and veggie broth next time for a bit more flavor.
That’s a great idea! Veggie broth would definitely add some great savoriness to the lentils! Thank you for making this recipe!
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