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red lentil curry in a white bowl with lime slice and cilantro

Coconut Lentil Curry

This coconut lentil curry is both creamy and filling. The red lentils add some plant-based protein. The eggplant in this dish gives it a fleshy meaty texture. And the coconut milk makes it filling and creamy! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword coconut lentil curry, red lentil curry, vegan lentil curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 286kcal


  • 2 tablespoon oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ medium medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder every curry powder is different so adjust this depending on how strong yours is
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 7 ounce frozen spinach
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, broth, or water
  • 1 canned crushed tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 ounces)
  • Rice for serving optional
  • Optional garnishes: cilantro lime, plain vegan yogurt, vegan naan


  • In a large saucepan or pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds, or until they darken in color slightly and are fragrant.
  • Add onion and sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute more, until tender. Finally, add the curry powder and fry for 30 seconds, to release the aroma
  • Add the lentils, spinach, stock, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not falling apart.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cherry tomatoes, season with ½ teaspoon of salt and fry until the eggplant is soft and golden brown and the tomatoes blister, about 10 minutes.
  • When the lentils are ready, add the eggplant mixture, coconut milk and the remaining teaspoon of salt, or to taste, to the lentils. Heat for a minute, then serve with your choice of garnishes.



  • Frozen spinach and canned tomatoes are used because it’s more affordable than fresh. If you prefer to use fresh, buy locally from a farmer’s market as it’s inexpensive.
  • Crushed canned tomatoes help thicken the curry dish but it can give this dish a very strong tomato flavor. If that is not your thing, use ½ or ¾ can of the tomato puree. 
  • This dish would be super yummy with added sweet potatoes or mushrooms!
  • You can use other frozen (or fresh) greens of your choice: kale, swiss chard, etc
  • If you want to substitute with brown lentils, note that the cooking time will be a tad bit longer as red lentils cook faster.
  • Make sure you use CANNED COCONUT MILK. DO NOT skip it as it helps balance out the acidity of the tomato puree.
  • If you still find curry with too much acidity, add a little bit of coconut sugar. 
  • Depending on the type of curry powder you use(and your tastebuds), you might need more or less. 
  • I found that this recipe will keep in the fridge for 4 days so it makes a great meal prep dish!
  • Can this be frozen? I was able to freeze a portion of my curry and thaw it out a week later and it was still delicious. Generally, red lentil curry dishes can be kept frozen for up to a month. 


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1393mg | Potassium: 932mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 6430IU | Vitamin C: 21.9mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 6.2mg