Have you tried my Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl yet? If not, you absolutely should! It’s one of our most frequently made (and praised) recipes on the blog.
Because I love it so much, I wanted to make an Indian-inspired version. My first attempt was too vegetable heavy and a little dry. I’m all about sauciness and big flavor in dishes, so it was back to the drawing board.
The more I thought about what I actually wanted in an Indian-inspired “Buddha Bowl,” I realized I wanted a few key things: heat, intense flavor, sauciness, lentils, and brown rice.
This recipe is simple, requiring just 30 minutes, 1 saucepan (plus a pot for the brown rice), and 10 ingredients to make!
The base of the recipe is garlic, ginger, carrots sautéed in coconut oil, and red curry paste. Tomato paste and vegetable broth make a deeply flavorful sauce, while turmeric and coconut sugar add depth of flavor. An optional but recommended last step is a dash of light coconut milk to add creaminess and balance the heat.
Lentils not only add heartiness, but also nutrition. They are extremely high in folate, iron, and magnesium. One serving of this lentil curry boasts nearly 16 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein! Add in some brown rice and you have an incredibly substantial plant-based meal.
If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Tell us in the comments, rate it, and don’t forget to snap a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see your curry in action. Cheers, friends!
Spicy Red Lentil Curry
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp)
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 3 Tbsp red curry paste (ensure vegan friendly)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste (a 6-ounce can yields ~1/2 cup)
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup dry red lentils (thoroughly rinsed in cold water + drained)
- 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (plus more to taste)
- 1/3 cup light coconut milk (optional)
FOR SERVING optional
- Cooked brown rice (I love this method)
- Pita or naan (omit if gluten free // check for vegan friendliness)
- Pickled red onion*
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Thoroughly rinse lentils in a fine mesh strainer and set aside. If serving with brown rice, cook at this time using this method from Saveur.
- Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, garlic, ginger, and carrots. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add curry paste and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add tomato paste, vegetable broth, water and stir to combine. Then add lentils, coconut sugar, turmeric, and stir.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly to low (or medium-low), and gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Stir frequently to incorporate flavors, and add more vegetable broth as needed if the mixture becomes too thick.
- An optional (but recommended) step: stir in coconut milk for additional creaminess, and to balance the heat of the curry paste.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more turmeric for depth of flavor, coconut sugar for sweetness/flavor balance, or a pinch of salt for saltiness.
- To serve, divide brown rice (optional) and lentils between 2-3 (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) serving bowls and garnish with cilantro, pickled onions, and pita or naan for dipping (optional).
- Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop, adding water as needed for moisture, or in the microwave.
*This recipe is inspired by both Thai and Indian flavors. You can learn more about the origins of red curry paste and turmeric by following the links.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with light coconut milk and lesser amount of coconut sugar and without additional toppings or rice.
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