Indian Red Lentil Curry - Vegan

My sweet friend, Gayatri, taught me so much about traditional Indian cooking. My love for curry, garlic naan, and lentils also developed from this friendship. She even invited me to her sister-in-law's Indian wedding which was such an incredible experience.

Gayatri surprised me one day when she gave me her Masala Dabba, which is a traditional Indian spice box that makes it very efficient and handy to cook Indian food. I love it! Over the years I have improved my skills in the kitchen making various Indian dishes including this red lentil coconut curry which is one of my favorites. It's creamy, full of protein, and uses fresh chilies and spices that are the heart and soul of authentic Indian food.

Be sure to watch my youtube video below to learn more about the Masala Dabba spice box and to see this recipe in action. Enjoy!


2 T oil

1/2 medium onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 piece of ginger, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup red lentils

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 cups water or vegetable broth

1 can full-fat coconut milk

Juice from 1/2 of a lime

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. In a big pot, add the oil and warm it on medium heat for a few minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the onions, garlic, and ginger until the onion starts to appear translucent.

2. Stir in the jalapeno, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.

3. Stir in the red lentils, diced tomatoes, water (or broth), and coconut milk. Bring to a gentle simmer then cover and cook until the lentils are soft, about 25 minutes, stirring a few times throughout. Do a taste test after 20 minutes to check the tenderness of the lentils - they cook fast.

4. Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro.

5. Serve immediately and add any topping options you enjoy: sliced avocado, extra lime and cilantro, or cashew cream are delicious options. It's also amazing with rice!

Note: Full fat canned coconut milk is essential to this recipe. The light-canned version is too watery and will not yield the same thick creamy consistency.