Easy Vegan Lentil Curry

bowl of lentil curry with rice and naan

5 from 11 reviews

Vegan lentil curry with warm curry Indian spices! You will love this easy, one pot meal – the perfect plant based recipe for everyone to enjoy. Serve with rice and naan for a hearty meal.


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 small bunch of carrots, diced (about 1 cup – see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder (see notes)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for some heat)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (or sub tomato sauce)
  • 2 3/4 cups water* (or vegetable broth, see notes)
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

Serve With

  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • rice, quinoa or another grain
  • naan


Stovetop Method

  1. In large pot over medium heat (love my Staub for this), add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger and carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in spices and salt, turn heat up to medium-high, stirring continuously for another 4-5 minutes. Add a little extra oil here as needed.
  2. Reduce heat to medium; add crushed tomatoes, water and lentils. Stir to combine then bring mixture to a simmer, then cover and continue simmering for about 35-40 minutes, string every 10 minutes. After about 40 minutes, mixture should thicken a little.
  3. Now stir in coconut milk, continue simmering uncovered for 5 minutes on low-medium heat, then remove from heat and let stand for 10-15 minutes. until curry has thickened more.
  4. Serve with rice, naan and more fresh cilantro.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Add coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger and carrots to Instant Pot. Use “Saute” mode on low heat, stirring frequently to cook down for about 4 minutes. Add in spices and salt, and a little more oil as needed, stirring continuously for another 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add in tomato puree, 1.75 cups water and dried lentils. Stir until combined. Secure lid, setting valve to “sealing” and cook on high pressure “manual” mode for 15 minutes, then “natural release” pressure cooker for 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove lid, stir in canned coconut milk. Let curry stand for 10 minutes. Note: the Instant Pot Method won’t be as thick right away, so you can opt to use 1 cup of coconut milk, or just know it will thicken the longer it sits (and once it’s been refrigerated if you have leftovers.)



Instant Pot Method: Uses less water than stovetop. Only use 1.75 cups water for Instant Pot. If you want softer lentils (more mushy in texture), set timer for 18 minutes.

adapted from RecipeTin Eats

Keywords: indian curry, lentil curry, vegan curry recipe