Vegan Red Lentil Curry in a cast iron pan

Vegan Red Lentil Curry

Several years ago, I began incorporating more plant-based dishes into my usual meal plans and discovered an exceptional recipe on Rainbow Plant Life – a site that’s a treasure trove of fantastic vegan options.

What began as a culinary experiment has rapidly evolved into a cherished dish for myself, my spouse, our friends, and family alike.

The beauty of this vegan red lentil curry lies in its simplicity and efficiency. With a bit of forethought and some pre-preparation, you can serve this aromatic, flavorful dish in less than 40 minutes – perfect for those bustling weeknights.

One of the highlights of this recipe is the ability to tailor the heat to individual preferences. Personally, I appreciate a bit of a kick in my curry, whereas my wife prefers a milder heat. To cater to everyone’s palate, I generally moderate the amount of cayenne pepper in the main dish, offering an additional sprinkle for those who enjoy an extra touch of spice.

Table of Content


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh turmeric ( or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric and add it with the other ground spices)
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, diced (I use 1 jalapeno (seeds in for more heat))
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I use fresh from the garden when we have them in season)
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened creamy almond butter (do not recommend subbing with peanut butter as the peanut flavour will overpower the dish)
  • 1/2 a small lemon, juiced
    For serving: fresh cilantro, Basmati or Jasmine rice and naan bread

Prep & Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat a large, deep skillet or large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, and Serrano(Jalapeno) pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent garlic from burning. Then add the spices (cumin through cayenne pepper) and salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. (If you have a over the stove exhaust, I recommend having this on! We have been caught once or twice with the chilli power getting a little too hot too fast and a coughing attack break out in the house! Either reduce the chilli pepper or add it right at the end before you add the vegetable broth so it doesn’t get released into the air)
  2. Stir in the lentils, vegetable broth, and the crushed tomatoes and mix well. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are cooked through and have softened. If you find that the lentils are soft after 25 minutes, add a few spoons more of broth or water and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk, almond butter, and salt & pepper to taste Continue cooking on low heat, uncovered for 5-7 minutes. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and turn off the heat.
  4. If you want your lentils to be creamier and more on the puréed side, use an immersion blender to lightly purée the curry.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and serve withal rice and/or naan bread.

Nutritional Info

Calories: 1,819
Carbohydrates: 150.3 grams
Fat: 111.6 grams
Protein: 70.9 grams

Please note these values are approximate and can vary depending on the specific brands and quantities of the ingredients.

Vegan Red Lentil Curry in a cast iron pan

Pre-Prep Tips

  1. Premix your spices. I have a large mason jar that has the spice mix already measured out, now we just use 2 – 3 tablespoons of spice mix in our recipe
  2. If you are not one to go through a large amount of ginger regularly, you can pre grate, freeze individually in ice cube trays and then store in a freezer bag
  3. Use a rice cooker or an instapot (ours has been great for making that perfect rice. We get the rice going once the curry is in simmer state so it is all ready to go around the same time

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