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Vegan Red Lentil Curry

This vegan red lentil curry is easy, flavorful, and healthy. The sauce is made with tomato passata and homemade cashew cream. Serve it with fluffy basmati rice and soft naan!

Vegan Red Lentil Curry with basmati rice and naan

It’s finally time to break out the dried red lentils you’ve bought a long time ago (and forgotten about until now) because we are making a delicious, vegan red lentil curry today. It’s easy, flavorful, and healthy. You will love it!

Red Lentils are high in protein, a great source of fiber, and rich in b-vitamins and iron. They also cook faster than other lentils, that’s why red lentils are especially a great choice for a quick curry.

You can also cook a bigger batch of lentils and store them in the fridge for 4-5 days, then you can use the cooked lentils for a variety of meals throughout the week.

Nothing makes me as happy as a bowl of steaming hot curry with fluffy basmati rice and homemade, soft naan on cold winter days. So here we go!

Vegan Red Lentil Curry in pan

The base of the sauce

You’ll only need two parts for the sauce: tomato passata and cashew cream (which is made by blending cashews and water). It makes the creamiest and easiest sauce ever. I just love the combination of these two main flavors. To that, we add lemon juice, salt, garam masala, and ginger powder. Feel free to add chili powder too if you like it spicy.

I love the simplicity of the sauce and it is so versatile. Instead of the lentils, you could also add veggies, cooked potatoes, tofu cubes, seitan strips, soy curls, and it’s a whole different curry!

How to make a vegan red lentil curry

As always, you will find the whole recipe in the box below but I want to give you an overview of the ingredients and basic steps first.

The ingredients (and possible substitutions)

You will need:

  • dried red lentils (you can also use canned lentils instead)
  • tomato passata (I use store-bought tomato passata/purée (with salt, no additional herbs) for this recipe – it’s often canned or in cartons, not to confuse with tomato paste, which is thicker in consistency. You can also use crushed canned tomatoes instead.)
  • homemade cashew cream (for this you only need to blend: cashews and water; soaking the cashews beforehand will make it easier for your blender; alternatively you can also use full-fat coconut milk or unsweetened soy cream)
  • yellow onion
  • red onion (I like a mix of yellow and red onion, but of course, you can also use 2 yellow onions or 2 red onions instead)
  • oil and spices (salt, garam masala, ginger powder, caraway seeds, and black mustard seeds – don’t stress about it if you’re missing some of the spices)
  • lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • fresh parsley (alternatively you can also use cilantro)

The basic steps

cooked red lentils in pan
Step 2: Cook the lentils in water until soft. This will take about 10 minutes. Then drain and set them aside.
crushed caraway and black mustard seeds
Step 3: Crush the caraway and black mustard seeds.
Vegan Red Lentil Curry with basmati rice and naan
I like to serve this curry with basmati rice and homemade, fluffy naan.

More vegan curry recipes

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I hope you enjoy this vegan Red Lentil Curry as much as I do! Let me know if you give it a try! 

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Cheers, Bianca

Vegan Red Lentil Curry with basmati rice and naan

Vegan Red Lentil Curry

Bianca Haun | Elephantastic Vegan
This vegan red lentil curry is easy, flavorful, and healthy. The sauce is made with tomato passata and homemade cashew cream. Serve it with fluffy basmati rice and soft naan!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 3 people
Calories 412 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Cashew Cream

  • 1/4 cup cashews raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, everything is okay!
  • 1/2 cup water

Red Lentil Curry

  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils = 1 1/2 cups cooked red lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 cup tomato passata/purée (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup homemade cashew cream (see step 1)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped + more to sprinkle on top

Instructions
 

  • Soak the cashews in water for at least 10 minutes while cooking the lentils. Then, when we need the cashew cream in step 5, blend cashews and water to make the cream.
  • Cook the lentils in water until soft. This will take about 10 minutes. Then drain and set them aside.
  • Crush the caraway and black mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  • Add the chopped onions and crushed caraway and black mustard seeds into a pan with oil. Let them cook over medium to high heat until the onions are soft. Then add the cooked lentils, salt, garam masala, and ginger powder. Give it a stir and let it cook further for about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat, and add the tomato passata, cashew cream, fresh parsley, and lemon juice. Give it a good mix. Let it cook until warm. Add more salt and spices to taste, you can also add chili powder if you want it spicy.
  • Sprinkle the curry with a bit more fresh parsley, and serve it with basmati rice and homemade naan.

Notes

I used store-bought tomato passata/purée (with salt, no additional herbs) for this recipe – it’s often canned or in cartons, not to confuse with tomato paste, which is thicker in consistency. You can also use crushed canned tomatoes instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 412kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 14gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.02gSodium: 431mgPotassium: 1023mgFiber: 14gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 685IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 6mg
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Recipe Rating




Ellen

Sunday 8th of January 2023

Also, if I’m using the full fat coconut milk, how much? This sounds delicious, but a little too much work!!

Bianca

Wednesday 11th of January 2023

I'd say the same amount of coconut milk, so 3/4 cup. You can also start with less (like 1/2 cup) and add more to taste. If you want the sauce to taste more tomato-y then you don't want to add too much coconut milk.

Ellen

Sunday 8th of January 2023

Can I use a curry powder or paste instead of crushing and mixing the spices? If so, how much and which do you recommend?

Bianca

Wednesday 11th of January 2023

You can use curry powder (I would add it with the other spices in step 4; 1 teaspoon) or (red or yellow) curry paste (with the onions, 2 teaspoons), but it will taste a bit different, of course.