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Plate of white Jasmine rice with curry served on the side garnished with scallions, red pepper flakes and a wedge of lemon.

Golden Red Lentil Curry

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  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This red lentil curry is a delicious, healthy and an easy weeknight dinner that only takes 20 minutes to make. This curry is full of flavor thanks to a combo of coconut milk, ginger, cumin and curry powder.


  • 1 1/2 cups (285 g) dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp or more of neutral oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup kabocha squash, diced small (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1, 13.5 oz can (398 mL) full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup (240mL) vegetable broth
  • 12 tbsp sugar
  • Fresh Lemon Wedges for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. To a medium sized bowl add your red lentils. Boil water and pour over your lentils making sure it’s enough to cover your lentils by one inch. Allow lentils to sit and soak as you prepare your ingredients.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, heat up your oil and add in cumin seeds making sure to move them back and forth in the pan to allow to bloom and become fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add in onions, garlic, ginger, squash and a pinch of salt and continue to sauté until onions have softened.
  4. Then add in curry powder and coriander, continuing to sauté for about 30 seconds to become fragrant. 
  5. Stir in the canned coconut milk, vegetable broth and sugar making sure to mix well.
  6. Once combined, drain your lentils in a strainer and dump them into the curry sauce.
  7. Bring your mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for about 10-12 minutes or until red lentils are cooked through. 
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste along with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and serve as desired.


Do not overcook your red lentils! If you cook too long the red lentils will become very mushy, so make sure to pay attention. At the 10-12 minute mark of cooking, test them out by tasting it. You should be able to tell if they are perfectly cooked by then. If they still seem to firm, you can cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.

The kabocha squash is optional. I used it here because I wanted to use some up. Totally okay to omit in this dish, but if you do happen to have some, it really goes great in this dish. Just make sure to cut it small so it cooks quick.

Do use full fat coconut milk for this recipe. It leads to the creamiest and richest texture.