An easy ginger coconut lentil curry with less than 10 minutes hands on time and a wonderful blend of Indian spices and fresh lemon and ginger makes it one of my favorite healthy vegan Meatless Monday options. Simmering this dish for 40 minutes deepens the flavor but it’s still done in less than an hour.
There are days when we simply crave healthy, meatless dinners. After a lot of heavy meals, I’m ready for dishes like this coconut lentil curry, grilled halloumi and garlic vegetables quinoa salad, healthy tomato and zucchini pasta salad and curry coconut carrot soup.
Ingredients to Make Ginger Coconut Lentil Curry
This lentil curry contains a lot of gut friendly and healthy ingredients to create a balanced meal. Including:
- Lentils: super good for your gut health, they are high in fiber which supports regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Lentils are a great plant-based protein and an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
- Coconut milk: contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which researchers have linked with weight loss. One of these MCTs are lauric acid, and is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. This helps fight viruses and infections. However, it is still a lot of fat and calories and so I use a light one in this recipe. Remember that even though ingredients are high in calories, they can still be good for you (in moderation)! Coconut milk is rich with vitamins and minerals.
- Ginger: reduces nausea, inflammation and pain. Ginger is also great for digestion, and can relieve flus and colds. It can also reduce cholesterol, blood clotting and helps maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
- Onion: excellent sources of vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals. Onion is good for your immune system and is anti-inflammatory. The fiber helps promoting good digestion. The sulfur in onions helps lower blood sugar by triggering increased insulin production.
- Garlic: can prevent the common cold or flu (so that’s why I’m never sick!). High doses of garlic can also reduce blood pressure, so bring on at least 4 cloves a day, my friend. Improves cholesterol levels, contains antioxidants that protects against cell damage and aging. THERE ARE SO MANY BENEFITS I JUST CAN’T DEAL – EAT YOUR GARLIC. Read more here.
- Spinach: a superfood loaded with nutrients, yet still being low in calories. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals. Spinach promotes healthy digestion due to its fiber contents. Great for managing diabetes, preventing asthma and even cancer.
- Vegetable broth: extremely nutritious and can help flush out toxins from your body. Vegetables in general are rich in fiber which is great for the digestive system. And homemade vegetable broth or stock is always best to use!
- Lemon juice: Ok, so it’s just a little lemon juice in this recipe. But feel free to add as much as you want! High in vitamin C, and fiber and it also improves your absorption of iron from plant foods! Although you need to add the pulp for the fiber to count.
- Brown Rice: a highly nutritious food, a whole grain that is relatively low in calories (216 calories per cup), high in fiber and gluten free. And as always, the fiber helps with digestion. Low GI food. High in Vitamin B, folate, iron magnesium and selenium.
The bottomline? Eat your veggies!
Do you use curry powder or garam masala?
And not to mention all the spices that create the wonderfully warming, curry blend. You don’t need to add what you don’t have on hand nor spices you don’t like. Although I highly recommend these spices!
- Mustard seeds
I would say that this blend of flavors is a mix between the British curry powder (with the turmeric, coriander and cumin) and the Indian garam masala. Garam masala contains all the warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
Do you cook lentils before adding to the curry?
It depends on the lentils you choose. You can use both dried and canned lentils, both red and green lentils. I use canned, red lentils in this recipe. Canned lentils need to be drained and rinsed in a colander, then adding the lentils to the curry right before serving, just warming them up.
If you want to use dried, you can add them after 20 minutes so that the lentils simmer for around 20 minutes. Dried lentils also need to be rinsed thoroughly under running water before adding to the pot.
You should avoid adding any acidic ingredients and salt to the pot until right before serving (in other words: hold the lemon). These ingredients can cause the lentils to stay crunchy even when they are fully cooked. If you stir in the salt while the lentils are still warm, they will absorb just enough to taste fully seasoned. Read more about this here.
How to store lentil curry? Can it freeze?
This lentil curry keeps covered in the fridge for about 3-4 days. If you want to freeze it, there’s no problem. As with all things, let the lentil curry cool completely before adding to freezer friendly containers or bags. Coconut milk frozen by itself can separate slightly when thawed, it is still completely fine to eat, but may look slightly grainy. But since there are so many other ingredients in this curry, they will help stabilize the coconut milk, and so there’s only a small chance for separation.
Write the date on the outside of the container, and freeze. Keeps well for 3 months. To re-heat, simply heat on the stove or in the microwave. You may need to add a little water or stock to thin it out.
This curry is best served with a big chunk of naan bread (not vegan but delicious!). Scroll down to find a printable recipe of this ginger coconut lentil curry.
Did you like this recipe? Other healthy weeknight dinners:
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken Quinoa Bowl with Bananas and Pineapple
- Grilled Halloumi and Garlic Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- Crispy Baked Falafel and Za’atar Roasted Vegetables
- Healthy Pasta Salad with Tomato and Zucchini
- Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
- Roasted Tomato Soup with Herbs
- Curry Coconut Carrot Soup
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
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Ginger Coconut Lentil Curry (Easy Vegan Recipe)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced, about 4 cloves
- 2 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 cup brown rice uncooked
- 3 cups vegetable broth 700ml
- 13.5 oz light coconut milk 400ml, full fat is also ok
- 1 1/2 cups canned, red lentils 230g. *
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 cups fresh spinach 60g, roughly chopped
- 1.5 tbsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp coriander seeds or 1 tsp ground
- 2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground
- 8 cardamom pods or a small 1/2 tsp ground
- 5 whole cloves or a small 1/4 tsp ground
- 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp ground
- 1 tsp cayenne powder reduce for less spicy
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds or 1/4 tsp ground, optional
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds or 1/4 tsp ground, optional
- Sautée onion: Add vegetable oil to a large saucepan, and over low medium heat cook the onion, garlic and ginger, until onion is translucent, approx. 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
- If using whole spices: roast all apart from the ground spices (turmeric, cayenne) in a dry nonstick pan until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and ground as finely as you can, but leave out the cinnamon sticks. If using ground spices, skip this step.
- Simmer: Add the ground spices and cinnamon sticks (if using) and rice to the onion mixture, and mix to combine. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes, or until rice is done**.
- Finish it off: Pour in coconut milk, lemon juice and red lentils. Season with salt and adjust seasoning according to taste. Stir in fresh spinach, mix to incorporate and turn off the heat. Remove cinnamon stick. Serve as is or with optional toppings, such as a dollop of yoghurt/kefir***, boiled broccoli, naan and peanuts. Or more steamed rice for the extra hungry!
- How to store: Keeps covered in the fridge for 3-4 days or 3 months in the freezer.