Coconut Red Lentil Curry

coconut red lentil curry with rice, naan and cilantro in teal bowl

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5 from 4 reviews

This Coconut Red Lentil Curry is ready in about 30 minutes from start to finish! Inspired by the Indian Dahl dish. Red lentils have a quicker cooking time compared to other lentils so it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner! Cooked in a creamy golden coconut sauce with butternut squash too. Serve with rice, quinoa or even on it’s own. Reheats well and you can even make a double batch for freezing leftovers.


  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced 
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 2” piece of fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 small butternut squash (1 pound), peeled, seeds removed and cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder (mild)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander 
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (to add optional heat)
  • 1.25 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can coconut milk, shaken (full-fat or light)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)

serve with

  • naan
  • rice or favorite grain
  • cilantro
  • crushed red pepper


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger and butternut squash. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander and salt. Turn heat up to medium-high, stirring continuously for another 4-5 minutes – add extra oil here as needed.
  2. Reduce heat to medium; water and canned coconut milk. Quickly rinse lentils and add immediately to pot. Stir to combine then bring mixture to a simmer, then cover and continue simmering for about 20 minutes, string every 5 minutes. After about 25 minutes, lentils should be soft and mixture creamy.
  3. Stir in maple syrup (optional), some fresh cilantro if you’d like, serve with your favorite rice, naan bread, or even on it’s own.


You can use vegetable broth if you’d like, just start with 1/2 teaspoon salt and go from there when taste testing.

If you don’t have butternut squash, you could sub sweet potato or even carrots.

Recipe adapted from my Vegan Lentil Curry.