Red Lentil Curry with Spiced Rice

By • October 10, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Inspired by a recipe from Naturally Ella (, this red lentil curry goes heavy on the vegetables and legumes with a nice bit of spice from chopped jalapeno and red pepper flakes. In an effort to lighten it up a bit, I use a slurry of almond milk and cornstarch in place of coconut milk--and I don't miss it at all!

Both the curry and rice can be frozen in freezer bags (I recommend separate bags). Reheat in a covered bowl in the microwave.

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Stephanie H.


Serves 4

For the curry:

  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1-inch pieces ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 15 ounces can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 cups spinach or baby kale
  • chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, optional
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the cumin and coriander seeds. Toast them in the dry pan for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Crush the seeds a bit with a mortar and pestle. (Or, place the spices in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin.)
  2. Add the garam masala, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, jalapeno and tomato paste and mash together, or pulse in a small food processor.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Add the onion and sauté about 5 minutes, until softened and just beginning to brown.
  4. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Pour in the tomatoes with their juices and stir, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the almond milk and cornstarch to a jar or container with a lid and shake until combined. Pour the mixture and the water into the pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Stir in the lentils. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 35-45 minutes until tender. Add more water if the pot ever seems too dry.
  8. Stir in the spinach or kale and cook 2-3 minutes until wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve with cooked rice.

Spiced Rice

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • pinches saffron
  • 1.5 cups water
  • pinches salt
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  1. Combine the saffron and the water and let the mixture stand about 5 minutes so that the saffron can “bloom” (it’s ready when the water becomes yellowish).
  2. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the seeds. Toast in the dry pan for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Combine all ingredients and prepare the rice according to package instructions. (I throw it all in the rice cooker but the stovetop works too!) Fluff with a fork and serve.

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Rice & Grains|Beans & Legumes|Curries|Lentils