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One-pan lentil coconut curry with sweet potatoes is rich, creamy, and satisfying, no tomato needed! It’s packed with amazing flavors and lots of veggies. Glutenfree soy-free Nutfree

panful of lentil coconut curry on a slate table
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Weekday meal plans need to be easy, short and delicious! This is a quick, 30 minute, one-pan lentil coconut curry, hits all those. It needs just a few ingredients but packs a ton of flavor! 

You can change the spices to preference: use different curry powders of choice, like regular curry powder, Japanese curry powder, or Jamaican curry powder. You can even use Italian herbs or smoked paprika, if you don’t like the curry flavor. This lentil stew is very versatile and super quick. It is also allergy friendly! It is gluten-free Nutfree and Soyfree. For coconut free, use oat milk.

Serve it over rice, flatbread, cooked grains, or quinoa. 

close-up of lentil coconut curry in the pan

Why You’ll Love Lentil Coconut Curry

  • flavor-packed, one-pot meal
  • ready in 30 minutes
  • lots of veggies!
  • gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free

More Indian Curries

Lentil Coconut Curry

5 from 20 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
One-pan lentil coconut curry is rich, creamy, and satisfying, no tomato needed! It’s packed with amazing flavors and lots of veggies, No tomato! Glutenfree Soyfree Nutfree
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Ingredients 
 

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion, or white onion
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, or 1/2” of ginger, minced and four cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala, (or 1.5-2 teaspoons curry powder, Berbere, Cajun blend or Jamaican curry powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves, (kasuri methi), optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes, optional, or use black pepper
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped sweet potato, or frozen sweet potato or butternut squash
  • 15- ounce can full fat coconut milk, or lite coconut milk
  • 15- ounce can cooked lentils, or 1.5 cups cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, or 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • lemon juice and cilantro, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onion is starting to turn translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and mix in. Mix in the spices and salt, then mix in the coconut milk and the sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
  • Cover with the lid and cook until the sweet potato is cooked through. This will take anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes, depending on your stove, pan, and the size of the cubed vegetables.
  • Then, mix in the cooked lentils and spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Bring to a good boil, then taste and adjust the flavor. Add 1/2 cup or more broth, if you want the lentils to be saucier, because this will thicken as it cools. Once it is boiling consistently for 2 minutes, switch off the heat.
  • Garnish with cilantro or other herbs of choice and some lemon juice and pepper flakes, if you like, and serve with some sourdough or rice, flatbread, or other cooked grains.

Video

Notes

Variations: Use chickpeas or white beans  instead of canned lentils. Or make it with both. Add a can of chickpeas and lentils, and add up to 1 cup more of coconut milk or other nondairy milk. Increase the spices also to adjust to preference.
For a coconut milk substitute, cook the sweet potatoes in 1 cup of broth initially, and then add in some cashew cream or cashew milk with the lentils. Use 1/4 heaping cup of cashews blended with 1 cup of water to make the cashew cream.
Cook lentils with curry: use split red lentils (the quick cooking kind) as the sweet potatoes would be mush if you cook brown lentils which take about 35 mins. Use 1/2 cup split red lentils(masoor dal) and add the lentils and 1 cup water or broth as well along with the sweet potatoes. Cover and cook for 11-12 mins and check, taste and adjust flavor and consistency and continue to simmer for a few mins, add in the spinach in the last 2-3 mins. 
 
This recipe is naturally gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free.

Nutrition

Calories: 222kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 332mg, Potassium: 639mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 7050IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 110mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!
lentils, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and other curry ingredients in bowls on a kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • onion – You can use red or white onion in this recipe.
  • ginger-garlic paste – Adds so much amazing flavor! You can use minced, fresh ginger and garlic instead, if you prefer.
  • spices – Turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, and pepper flakes are your seasonings.
  • coconut milk – Full fat or lite coconut milk both work in this recipe. You can also use 1/4 cup cashews blended with 1 cup water instead. If you do this, cook the sweet potato in a cup of broth initially.
  • cooked lentils – You can use canned or home cooked.
  • spinach – Adds more veggies and color to this lentil coconut curry!
  • garnishes – Lemon juice and cilantro add bright, vibrant flavors.

Tips

  • This coconut curry sauce does thicken as it cools, so keep that in mind as it’s cooking. You may want to thin it out a bit with some broth during cooking.
  • If you’re making cooked grains to serve with this curry, start them cooking before you start making the curry, so everything will be done around the same time.

How to Make Lentil Coconut Curry

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onion is starting to turn translucent, four to five minutes.

adding onion to the pan

Then add the ginger-garlic paste, salt, and spices, and mix in.

adding ginger-garlic paste to the cooked onions in the pan
adding dried spices to the pan with cooked onion, ginger, and garlic

Mix in the coconut milk and the sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

adding coconut milk to the onion mixture in the pan
adding sweet potatoes to the coconut curry sauce in the pan

Cover with the lid and cook until the sweet potato is cooked through. This will take anywhere from eight to 12 minutes, depending on your stove, pan, and the size of the cubed vegetables. 

Then, mix in the cooked lentils and spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Bring to a good boil, then taste and adjust the flavor.

Add some broth, if you want the lentils to be saucier, because this will thicken as it cools. Once it is boiling consistently for two minutes, switch off the heat. 

adding spinach to the cooked sweet potato in the pan
adding lentils to the pan of curry

Garnish with cilantro or other herbs of choice and some lemon juice and pepper flakes, if you like, and serve with sourdough, rice, flatbread, or other cooked grains. 

lentil coconut curry in the frying pan on the stove

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use instead of lentils?

You can also make this with chickpeas or white beans. Use chickpeas instead of canned lentils, or you can make it with both. You can add a can of chickpeas and lentils, and add up to 1 cup more of coconut milk or other nondairy milk. Increase the spices also to adjust to preference. 

What can I use instead of coconut milk?

For a coconut milk substitute, you can cook the sweet potatoes in 1 cup of broth initially, and then add in some cashew cream or cashew milk with the lentils. You can use 1/4 heaping cup of cashews blended with one cup of water to make the cashew cream.

Is this recipe allergy-friendly?

This recipe is naturally gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free.

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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5 from 20 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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30 Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    5 stars
    Everyone loved this recipe, even the teens. I doubled the fresh spinach, served with rice, and it was outstanding.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Awesome! It’s great when the kids love it too.

  2. Hilda Deboer says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight, I didn’t have fresh ginger so I used ground ginger, and frozen broccoli since I didn’t have spinach. I cooked this in my instant pot for 1 minute with quick release and then added my lentils and broccoli and cooked a couple of more minutes.
    This was amazing, next time I’ll double it would be great for leftovers. Thank you so much for this excellent recipe!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      So glad you liked it!

  3. Sabina says:

    5 stars
    I had to cook for 18 people and chose two of your recipes, this one and tofu makhani. It was easy to prepare and people liked it a lot. Thank you!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Thank you for commenting!!

  4. Celia says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe!
    I posted a photo of the dish how I presented it to the family on my flickr photostream. It looks so good, it attracted 5,840 views so far, and 87 faves 🙂
    Of course, I added the link to your website! I hope this will help promoting your vegan recipes. All are just perfect!

    We also love your ‘Vegan Richa’s Everyday Kitchen’ (recently purchased for my daugher). Every recipe I made turned out well and is yummy to look at too.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      glad you enjoyed!

  5. Cecilia says:

    5 stars
    As always, your dishes not only taste good, they also look good on the table!
    A pleasure to serve to my family!
    I allow myself to add the link to my photo of the Lentil Coconut Curry, on my flickr photostream:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/30079014@N03/53256656238/
    In my ‘Food’ album, there are a few other of you recipes I cooked and photogrphed when time allows and the family is not already sitting at the table.
    Love the ‘Vegan Richa’s Everyday Kitchen’ too!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      yay! thank you!