Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected places. We spent a month with our family in Tampa, and discovered that my sister-in-law loves sweet potatoes. I wanted to make a nice pot of lentils because I was training a lot and wanted a quick grab-and-heat meal prep meal; the result was this easy vegan lentil curry with sweet potatoes and thought-through nutritional components.
It is a delicious, hearty dish that doesn't require coconut milk. It's perfect for a weeknight main dish, and it's sure to please vegans, kids, and meat-eaters alike. With just a handful of ingredients, this recipe is simple to prepare, and it's sure to become a family favorite. So, fire up the stove and get started! You'll be glad you did.
We love making all types of vegan stews during the cold months of the year, and this one is not only easy-to-make but budget-friendly.
This was inspired by my red lentil curry and eggplant curry recipe on this site and pairs well with steamed basmati rice.
This green lentil dhal recipe is a staple of Indian food and is put together with everyday pantry ingredients.
- Dried green lentils - this fantastic vegan source of protein and fiber can be the centerpiece of this green lentil curry. If you want to save some time, simply use green lentil cans and add them to the stew when the vegetables are already cooked.
- Sweet potato - these precious chunks add sweetness and more fiber.
- Fresh spinach - quickly adds creaminess and greens to this dish.
- Eggplant - we love the texture eggplants add to stews. It also adds low-calorie volumes to your dishes.
- Fresh ginger - adds complexity and Indian-inspired notes.
- Onion - no need to introduce this one. Use your favorite kind, but don't leave it behind.
- Garlic cloves - add deliciousness. If you love garlic as we do, feel free to add more than the suggested amount.
- Tomato purée adds volume, liquid, and acidity to your stews. Tomato paste is great addition.
- Garam masala powder - rounds up the Indian flavors. Using curry powder is OK—play along with what you have. Madras curry is also a great option.
- Vegetable broth - the liquid in this recipe. We don´t add salt since the vegetable broth is usually salted but feel free to adjust.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Make this green lentil recipe in only one pot.
First, soak green lentils overnight.
Chop the onion, garlic, and peeled grated ginger, and stir-fry in a large saucepan.
Add the diced sweet potatoes and eggplant.
Note: we wanted to make this recipe oil-free, so we didn't use any olive oil or coconut oil to stir-fry. And you don't really need it because the sticking pieces of the first veggies in the pot will be lifted with the vegetable stock.
Add vegetable broth until the vegetables are covered.
Stir in the soaked green lentils and add the tomato puree and garam masala powder.
Hint: Soak lentils! When cooking green lentils, it is best to soak them overnight or at least for 30 minutes, so you don't need to boil them for too long, reducing the nutritional value of all the veggies in the pot.
Let cook until the lentils are soft.
Remove from heat and add the fresh spinach leaves. Stir, and put the lid on. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
We like adding a dollop of plant-based yogurt mixed with some garlic powder, a tablespoon of lime juice, finely chopped cucumber, and salt to garnish and give an extra super tasty flavor. Option to use Greek yogurt if vegetarian.
Optionally garnish coriander leaves, peanuts, and a plant-based yogurt, lime juice, and garlic sauce.
- Tomato purée - instead, use chopped tomatoes plus 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
- Garam masala Indian spices - to make this green lentil dal, you can use regular curry powder instead.
- Eggplant - use zucchini or any type of soft squash.
- Spicy - chili, cayenne pepper, serrano pepper, or red pepper flakes – garam masala is a mild and creamy curry, so it doesn’t include any hot chili. If you’d like to raise the spice level of this green lentil curry recipe, add half to one teaspoon of hot chili powder!
- Tangy - optionally add a splash of lemon juice before serving.
- Other pulses - this recipe works well with split peas (reduce cooking time), yellow lentils, brown lentils, French lentils, and even beluga lentils (black).
- Red lentils - this is our beloved quick lunch recipe. It uses creamy canned coconut milk and is made in minutes because red lentils are super fast to cook. Alternatively, you could use cashew cream.
🥢 How to serve
- Basmati rice - steamed basmati rice is the perfect pairing for Indian curries, and we love to serve it with lightly toasted cumin seeds. If you want to keep the carbs low, you can pair it with riced cauliflower instead - see cauli rice recipe.
- Naan bread- the perfect Indian bread to pair up this curry; use whole bran to make it more wholesome. If you are following a gluten-free diet, omit this option and pick brown rice or quinoa.
- Fridge – store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Freezer – store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Lentils are one of the best freezer meals.
Green lentils are best for making a delicious and healthy soup or stew! They are also perfect for adding to salads or rice dishes. They have a mild flavor and a slightly chewy texture, which makes them perfect for dishes that require a bit of substance. Plus, they're packed with protein and fiber, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to add some healthy nutrients to their meal.
Most of the time, yes. Yes, green lentils need to be cooked. They are a type of legume that is high in fiber and protein. Lentils can be eaten either cooked or uncooked, but they will be more firm if they are cooked.
The exception to the rule is consuming sprouted green lentils. Because they become soft, chewable, and even increment their nutritional value. You can then use them in salads or soups.
Yes. Lentils do not have to be soaked before cooking, but they will cook more quickly if you do soak them.
Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water by about 2 inches. Soak for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Drain and rinse the lentils before cooking.
🇮🇳 More Indian curry recipes
- Indian Eggplant Curry is one of our favorite choices since we love eggplants, and their silky texture shine on this fantastic recipe!
- Mushroom Tikka Masala is a fall-season favorite. You can feel the earthy vibes with this creamy curry that uses creamy coconut.
- Cauliflower Curry Masala is a no-fuzz, quick, simple, low-calorie recipe that delivers a unique flavor.
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Vegan Lentil Curry without Coconut Milk
- 16 oz green lentils soaked for at least 15 minutes and drained
- ½ pound eggplant 1 small, chopped in small dice
- 1 pound sweet potato purée half to make it creamy
- 6 oz spinach fresh
- 15 oz tomato puree, 1 can, or diced tomato
- 8 oz onion med, finely chopped
- 6 clove garlic minced 0.5 oz
- ½ tablespoon garam masala powder
- 1 oz ginger fresh and finely chopped
- 48 oz vegetable broth
- 1 cup water if needed
- plant-based yogurt Mixed with garlic powder and salt, to garnish and give an extra super tasty flavor. Option to use Greek yogurt, if vegetarian
- 15 ounces coconut milk 1 can, to make it super creamy
- ½ teaspoon green chili to make it spicy
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro to make it herby
- Prepare your vegetables. Finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the sweet potato and eggplant into small dice.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat if the mixture is browning too quickly.
- Add garam masala curry and stir to coat, then add the eggplant, sweet potato dice, and sauté for another minute, and then add the soaked lentils, tomato purée, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Also, add coconut milk if used.
- Bring the mixture to simmer, put a lid on it and then reduce heat to low or medium-low and continue gently simmering for 10-12 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- Adjust. Once the lentils are tender, add hand-ripped spinach, stir, taste, and adjust flavor as needed, adding more curry powder for more intense curry flavor and salt for saltiness. Let the curry sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve as is or with basmati rice (we love white or brown basmati rice, but it's also delicious over cauliflower rice). Garnish with lemon or lime wedges and cilantro (optional).
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days or in the freezer for one month.
Don’t overcook the lentils until the lentils are warm and the flavors meld together – it should take about 10 minutes. *Nutrition information is only an estimate calculated without basmati rice.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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We are always looking for new ways to enjoy lentils and this curry was so good! I love its only needed a handful of common ingredients and they deliver amazing flavor!
I love finding hearty yet healthy meals and this is definitely one of them! Very tasty and flavorful. Love that I can use lots of veggies!
Such a delicious easy recipe and great to have a version that doesn't use coconut milk
I know, something you just want something light and filling!
Amanda Wren-Grimwood says
What a delicious filling meal and the sweet potatoes and spinach really add to the textures and flavours too.