If you’re looking for an easy and delicious pantry meal, try this Vegan Chickpea and Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk. It’s a one-pot dish that is full of warming spices and rich coconut flavor.

chickpea and lentil curry served in bowl with spoon

This easy lentil and chickpea curry makes a satisfying and cozy weeknight dinner. It’s plant-based and the ingredients are simple items like canned tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, garlic, and curry powder. Simple recipes with big flavors are my favorite kinds of recipes, how about you?

Also, lentils and chickpeas are both high in plant protein and fiber which makes this vegan dish quite filling.

It tastes delicious served up with Indian Yellow Rice or naan bread. If you want to save time you can make the rice a day ahead of time and just warm it up come dinner. This delicious vegan chickpea curry with coconut milk will become one of your weekly staples! It’s easy to make and done in less than 45 minutes.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • Lentils are so easy to cook. You don’t have to soak them before you cook them.
  • You can use canned tomatoes, so the only fresh ingredients you need are the onions and garlic. You can even use frozen or pre-chopped onions from the grocery store.
  • This lentil curry cooks in about 45 minutes total, but most of the cooking time is hands-off.

Key Ingredients

Lentils – Use green or brown lentils in this recipe since they will hold there shape and won’t get mushy. There’s no need to soak the lentils as they will fully cook in the dish and soak up all the flavor of the broth, curry, and tomatoes.

Onion & garlic – Not only do onions and garlic make this dish more fragrant and flavorful but they’re also full of antioxidants that help fight inflammation.

Vegetable broth – Boxed vegetable broth is an easy way to add a boost of flavor to a dish and is perfect for soups, stews, curries, and quinoa. Purchase several when they go on sale and use them as needed (or check out my recipe for Instant Pot Vegetable Broth).

Curry powder – Curry powder is a mixture of spices most commonly seen in Indian dishes. It contains turmeric, coriander, cumin, and sometimes ground ginger. It adds a ton of flavor to a dish and pairs amazingly with coconut milk and tomatoes.

Coconut milk – I like to use full fat canned coconut milk for the thick and rich flavor but you can also use lite coconut milk.

Chickpeas – Chickpeas add a bit more texture to the lentils and more protein.

ingredients for chickpea and lentil curry

Recipe Steps

Step One

Check the lentils for rocks and then rinse them in a fine-mesh sieve.

As always, please do see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Step Two

Chop the onion and garlic and then sauté in a tablespoon of oil.

how to make chickpea curry

Step Three

Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth and curry to the soup pot and bring everything to a simmer.

Step Four

After 35 minutes, add the coconut milk, chickpeas, and lime juice. Return to a simmer for a few minutes.

cooked chickpea lentil curry in pot

Step Five

Serve with your favorite gluten-free bread, flatbread, or with Indian Yellow Rice.

Is this Recipe Healthy?

  • This recipe is a healthy, nourishing meal. Lentils are an amazing food full of plant-based protein and are generally easy to digest.
  • This dish has a nice balance of healthy fat, protein, and carbs, making it a well-balanced meal.
  • Most traditional Indian curries use cream, but this recipe uses full-fat coconut milk to make it dairy-free.
photo of lentil curry close up to see texture

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • Use full-fat coconut milk for the richest flavor.
  • Check the lentils for small rocks or debris before rinsing.
  • I recommend using curry powder for this recipe. But, if you don’t have it, you can use a blend of cumin, coriander, and turmeric instead.
  • You can make this Vegan Lentil Curry ahead of time and serve it for several days. The leftovers are so delicious and can be easily re-heated in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • You can add more veggies to this curry if you like. Spinach, sweet peppers, and mushroom would all taste great in this chickpea curry.

FAQs

Can I use red lentils to make lentil curry?

I recommend using brown or green lentils for this recipe. They hold their shape best when cooking. In a pinch, you can use red lentils, but the texture of the curry will be a bit mushier.

What if I don’t have curry powder?

You can use 1/4 teaspoon each of ground turmeric, coriander, and ground cumin instead.

Can I use reduced-fat or light canned coconut milk instead of full-fat coconut milk?

Yes, but the recipe won’t be as flavorful.

a bowl of vegan lentil curry

Other Healthy Soup Recipes You Might Like 

Or, see my entire index of clean eating soup and stew recipes.

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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chickpea lentil curry served in white bowl

Chickpea and Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk


Description

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious pantry meal, try this Vegan Chickpea and Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk. It’s a one-pot dish that is full of warming spices and rich coconut flavor.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 3 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 13.5ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 13-5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lime, juiced (optional, for serving)

Instructions

  1. Place the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve. Pick through the lentils to make sure there aren’t any tiny rocks. Then, rinse the lentils in cool water. Set aside to drain.
  2. Next, in a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. 
  3. Add the lentils, curry powder, broth, and chopped tomatoes to the pot and turn the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and let it simmer for 35 minutes. The lentils should absorb most of the moisture.
  4. Once the cooking time is complete, remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk, chickpeas, and lime juice (optional). Let the curry come back to a simmer and then turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. You can freeze any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  2. Defrost in the refrigerator and re-heat the curry on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  3. If you don’t have curry powder, you can use 1/4 teaspoon each of ground turmeric, coriander, and ground cumin instead. 
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: lentil curry with coconut milk, vegan curry, lentil curry

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