This Instant Pot Creamy Red Lentil Curry is one of my favorite dishes because it's super flavorful, nutritious, protein-packed, and you can make it in a blink of an eye.
I have always loved lentils. In my childhood, we would have instapot yellow curry at least twice a week. I come from a very religious family (although I am not), and my dad used to tell my four siblings and me the parable of the prodigal son repeatedly. Being the second son, I kept thinking about that bowl of lentils and the incredible real estate value it had, moreover… why?
Later, I understood that lentils are probably amongst the more beloved foods worldwide for many reasons. They are incredibly nutritious, versatile, delicious, cheap, available, protein-packed, there's a wide variety of them, and unlike other grains, they cook fast, and I can go on and on.
Then I started embracing a plant-based lifestyle and began glorifying them even more. There is nothing lentils can't do for you, or you can't make out of them!
How to Make a Creamy Red Lentil Curry
Making this One Pot red lentil curry is very easy . Just chop your ingredients, stir fry, boil the lentils altogether and you've got it!
Chop your spring onions (or shallots) and bell peppers in big pieces.
Stir in the coconut milk and all the spices.
Add the red lentils along with 4 cups of water, stir twice during the 10 minutes. Watch out closely as the red lentils are super delicate and can get mushy in minutes.
What to make with Lentils?
There are several lentils recipes on this site already; they are a vegans' best friend.
Over the years, I have found myself making them in very different ways. We both love Asian food, and Thai and Indian Cuisines are amongst our Top 5. So, I came out with this fusion: an Indian Lentils dhal, made with Thai Yellow Curry: a blast!
In general, red and split lentils are better for making Dhal (Indian Style) Lentils because the cook faster and turn out creamier.
4 Health benefits of Red Lentils
- Yellow and red lentils are split and cook quickly. They're great for making daal and have a somewhat sweet and nutty flavor.
- Brown, green, yellow, red, or black — lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate, and an excellent protein source.
- They pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors.
- They're quickly cooked in 5–20 minutes, which — like soaking — reduces their antinutrient content.
4 Tips to make your Creamy Red Lentil Curry Perfect!
The Spiciness: If you want to make it spicier, add ½ tablespoon of curry paste and try again. Curry paste is full of flavor so go easy on it, the good thing is that it is easily adjustable. You can also boost the spiciness by adding extra fresh ginger or powder. Also, if you don't have the Yellow Curry Paste but have a Green or Red one, give it a try. Yellow curry has a milder flavor, so just make sure you start with less paste and adjust later.
The Creaminess: I like to keep the calorie count low, so the suggested amount of coconut milk here is half of a regular-sized can. If you want it creamier and with a stronger coconut flavor, you can double the amount (use the whole can).
Texture and Color: Red Lentils are very delicate, so make sure you don't cook them for more than 10-15 minutes, otherwise, they will lose both their shape and their color.
Herbs: Many people don't like Cilantro (Coriander). It's genetics (crazy right). I love it, so I usually add a bunch of it at the end of the cooking. We recently moved to Italy and I have not been able to find it here, but if you have cilantro and like it, go for it!
It is a great idea to add Turmeric to your Curry, it provides more than flavor.
Note on Curcumin's Absorption and Black Pepper
Is essential to add a bit of black pepper whenever consuming curcumin in order to boost its absorption. Both, black and white pepper contains piperine which is the active component that fulfills this role.
Most studies relate specifically black pepper to the consumption of curcumin. White pepper contains as much peperine as black pepper, suggesting it may also enhance curcumin's absorption, I was not able to find a study that directly links the two, so I would stick to black pepper.
Red Pepper comes from a different plant and contains minimal amounts of piperine.
How to cook lentils
Lentils are easy to cook and are the perfect 1-pot ingredient. Just rinse them under running water once to clean them. Put them to boil with four times their volume of water, and that is it for a base for other things as dips and warm salads.
Alternatively, you can stir fry some garlic and any kind of onion, and add the lentils and water directly on top of the "sofrito," and just add some spices and herbs, such as curry, and turmeric, salt, and pepper.
I hope you find this vegan creamy red lentil curry recipe as enjoyable as it is for us, to make it to your table once a week!
More Lentils and Curry Recipes?
Let's get Cooking... these are the ingredients you need to make a delicious Creamy Red Lentil Curry!
Creamy Red Lentil Curry
- 1 teaspoon coriander Seeds
- 1 bunch Cilantro Leaves
- If having rice with your lentils, put it to boil with three cups of water and 1 tsp of salt. It will take 10-15 minutes and be ready when your lentils are.
- Chop your spring onions and bell peppers in massive cuts. Remember that reducing your vegetables’ surface exposure to the heat keeps more of their nutrients. Feel free to add any other leftover veggies you have, such as broccoli or cauliflower stems.
- In a pan, stir fry your veggies with the coconut oil for 3 minutes and add the yellow curry paste.
- Add the coconut milk and all the spices. Let the mixture simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils along with 4 cups of water, stir twice during the 10 minutes it will take to be ready.
Want to know more about the Health Benefits of Lentils? Click here.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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