Enjoy a delicious and healthy meal with this easy to make chickpea and lentil curry recipe. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and flavorful spices, this curry is a nutritious and satisfying vegetarian dish. Perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner or meal prep for the week ahead.Jump to Recipe
Curry is one of our favorite things to make. This week as I was meal prepping I wanted to do something vegan but filling for our lunches. This chickpea and lentil curry was perfect for that because it's easy to reheat, and packed with protein and fiber which means we will stay full longer. You can enjoy this recipe for lunch or dinner. You can even add more vegetables or the meat of your choice. It's total comfort food, made in one pot. I'm excited for you to try this!
- Why You'll Love Chickpea Lentil Curry
- What Is Curry?
- Is This Curry Vegan?
- Is Chickpea Lentil Curry Good for You?
- How to Make Chickpea and Lentil Curry
- Tips and Tricks
- What to Serve with Lentil and Chickpea Curry
- Must Try Variations
- Common Questions
- Must Try Recipes
- The Best Chickpea and Lentil Curry
Why You'll Love Chickpea Lentil Curry
Nutritious: Chickpeas and lentils are both excellent sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. This curry is a nutrient-dense dish that can provide you with many health benefits. You can be sure this meal will keep you full for hours too!
Delicious: The combination of chickpeas, lentils, and a flavorful blend of spices that creates a rich and satisfying flavor that is hard to resist.
Versatile: Garbanzo beans and lentil curry can be customized to suit your preferences and dietary needs. You can adjust the spice level by adding cayenne pepper, or add vegetables and meat. You can even serve it with different types of grains or bread such as brown rice or naan.
Easy to make: This curry is a simple one-pot meal that can be prepared with a relatively short cooking time. This easy recipe is a great option for busy weeknights.
Budget-friendly: Chickpeas, lentils, and the other ingredients are all affordable and widely available.
What Is Curry?
Curry is a dish that typically consists of meat, vegetables, or legumes cooked in a thickened spiced sauce, usually with a tomato base. The spice blend used in a curry can vary widely depending on the region, but commonly includes a mix of ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Many recipes call for spice blends that include curry powder, or garam masala. Curries can be found in many different cuisines, including Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, and British. They can be made with a variety of ingredients, such as chicken, beef, lamb, seafood, tofu, lentils, or vegetables. You'll see it commonly served with rice, bread, or other grains and are often accompanied by condiments such as chutneys, pickles, or yogurt.
Is This Curry Vegan?
This chickpea and lentil curry is vegan as written. You will not find any dairy products or meat on the ingredients list. Many curry recipes use heavy cream to thicken the curry however, this wasn't necessary because we use full-fat coconut milk instead. The coconut milk thickens the curry and adds a delicious creamy flavor and texture. Another substitution we made was sautéing the vegetables in cooking oil instead of ghee. Ghee is commonly used in curry but it's clarified butter. We found that regular cooking oil softens the vegetables nicely.
Is Chickpea Lentil Curry Good for You?
Yes, this easy lentil chickpea curry is generally considered to be a healthy and nutritious dish. Chickpeas and lentils are both excellent sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, and potassium. These nutrients can provide many health benefits, such as helping to regulate blood sugar levels, promoting digestive health, and reducing the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the spices used in curry, such as turmeric, ginger, and cumin, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can also be beneficial for overall health.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil - canola oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil can be substituted
4 cloves garlic minced - fresh garlic is best in this recipe. If you don't have fresh garlic, garlic powder can be substituted
1 medium onion chopped - yellow or white onion are great options for this curry
1 inch ginger minced - fresh ginger is going to give the vegan chickpea lentil curry wonderful flavor. If you can't find fresh ginger, you can use ginger paste
1 green chili seeded and cut into pieces - provide fresh flavor and a medium heat to the lentil chickpea curry recipe. To determine how hot the chilis are will depend on the wrinkles in the flesh. The more wrinkles, the spicier the chili.
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of salt
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes - Be sure to get crushed tomatoes with no added ingredients such as basil and garlic. This will interfere with the flavor of the curry. Fresh chopped tomatoes can be used as a substitute
1 14oz can full fat coconut milk - use the full can including the coconut cream, this will give the curry its creamy, thickened, texture. Low-fat coconut milk may cause the curry to be too thin and runny.
2 cups vegetable broth -for added flavor to help the lentils cook, any broth can be used
1 cup lentils - I used green lentils in this recipe. Red, brown, or yellow lentils can be used in this easy curry recipe.
1 15oz can chickpeas
1/2 lemon squeezed - fresh lemon is best in this recipe, it's added at the end to take the flavor to the next level
1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
How to Make Chickpea and Lentil Curry
Step 1. In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Once heated add garlic, onion, green chili and ginger. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the onion has started to become more tender and turn translucent.
Step 2. Lower heat and add coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Toast spices for about a minute or so or until fragrant.
Step 3. Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, pinch of salt, and lentils. Stir until well combined. Increase heat and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are almost cooked.
Step 4. Stir in chickpeas and coconut milk. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are fully cooked. The curry should be thickened.
Step 5. Remove from heat, stir in fresh lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.
Tips and Tricks
Use fresh ingredients: Using fresh ingredients, such as spices, vegetables, and cilantro, can make a big difference in the flavor of your curry. Make sure to use fresh ingredients whenever possible.
Toast your spices: Toasting your spices in a dry pan before adding them to the curry can help bring out their flavors and aromas. This takes place in step 2. That's why the spices are added toward the beginning of the recipe instead of with the tomatoes.
Use the right type of oil: Use a high smoke point oil, such as canola or grapeseed oil, to cook your curry. This will prevent the oil from burning and imparting a bitter taste to your curry.
Cook your onions properly: Onions are an important component of curry, but they need to be cooked properly to avoid bitterness. Cook them slowly over low heat until they are soft and translucent.
Simmer the lentils: This curry benefits from a slow simmer. Doing this allows the lentils to cook completely without the liquid evaporating too quickly. If your heat is too high resulting in a boil, the lentils will quickly sink to the bottom and burn. Then you'll be left needing to add more vegetable broth. A slight simmer will ensure even cooking and the vegetable broth will be enough to cook the tender lentils.
Adjust the seasoning: Taste your curry frequently as it cooks and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more salt or lemon juice if needed. If you like a bit of heat consider adding red pepper flakes.
What to Serve with Lentil and Chickpea Curry
Rice: A simple and classic option is to serve the curry with steamed or boiled rice, which can help balance out the spiciness of the dish. We recommend serving the chickpea lentil curry with basmati rice because it's extremely fragrant and easy to make.
Naan bread: Naan bread is a type of Indian flatbread that is often served with curry. It can be used to scoop up the curry or used to wrap pieces of the curry for a portable and delicious meal.
Roti or chapati: Similar to naan, roti or chapati is another type of Indian flatbread that can also be served with chickpea and lentil curry.
Quinoa or other grains: If you're looking for a healthier option than rice or bread, you can serve the curry with quinoa or other grains, such as couscous or bulgur.
Vegan raita: To add a cooling contrast to the spicy curry, you can serve it with a touch of vegan raita. Originally raita is a yogurt-based condiment that includes cucumber, mint, and other herbs. Make it vegan by substituting vegan yogurt instead.
Pickles or chutneys: To add some extra flavor and texture, you can serve the curry with a variety of pickles or chutneys, such as mango chutney or lime pickles.
Must Try Variations
Sweet potato curry with spinach: This variation adds some sweetness and extra nutrients to the dish with the addition of sweet potatoes and spinach. To make this chop the peeled sweet potato into small bite sized pieces and add when you add the lentils. Stir in the spinach with the chickpeas.
Coconut curry: Instead of using a tomato-based sauce, you can omit the tomatoes and use extra coconut milk to make a creamy coconut-based curry. Add lime juice and thai chili paste for extra flavor in this delicious curry.
Chickpea and lentil dhal: Dhal is a type of split pea commonly used in soup. You can make a dahl variation by substituting lentils for dahl. Be sure to add more vegetable broth as the lentil and chickpea dahl cooks down if you try this variation. It's certainly a thick and hearty version of chickpeas and lentils.
Mango chickpea curry: This variation adds some sweetness and tanginess to the curry with the addition of ripe mangoes.
Roasted vegetable curry: To add some extra flavor and texture, you can roast vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, bell peppers, and carrots before adding them to the curry.
Is it necessary to rinse lentils?
Yes, it is recommended to rinse lentils before cooking them. Rinsing helps remove any dirt or debris that may be present on the lentils, as well as any residual dust or starch. Rinsing also helps remove phytic acid, a naturally occurring compound found in lentils that can make them difficult to digest and inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients.
Which Type of Lentil is The Healthiest?
All lentils are considered nutritious and healthy, but the specific health benefits may vary slightly depending on the color of the lentil.
- Brown lentils are the most commonly consumed lentil and are rich in fiber, protein, iron, and folate. They have a mild, nutty flavor and hold their shape well when cooked.
- Green lentils, also known as French lentils, are slightly smaller than brown lentils and have a peppery flavor. They are high in fiber, protein, and iron, and are often used in salads and side dishes.
- Red lentils are smaller and cook faster than brown or green lentils. They are often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. They are high in fiber and protein, and are a good source of iron.
Can I Use Garam Masala?
You can certainly use garam masala instead of the recommended spices in the ingredients list. The exact blend of spices used in garam masala can vary depending on the region and the cook. However, it typically includes a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander, and black pepper. This spice blend would be great in the chickpea lentil curry. If substituting I suggest using around 2 teaspoon garam masala for the best flavor.
Can I Make This Vegan Curry In The Instant Pot?
You can certainly make chickpea lentil curry in the instant pot. Below are some simple instructions on how this can be done.
- Set the Instant Pot to "Sauté" mode and add oil to the pot. Once the oil is hot, add garlic, onion, ginger, green pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, and a pinch of salt to the pot and stir well. Press cancel on the instant pot.
- Add tomatoes and vegetable broth to the pot, and stir to combine.
- Add the rinsed lentils to the pot, and stir well to combine.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot, and set the valve to "Sealing" position. Set the Instant Pot to "Manual" mode for 10 minutes.
- Once the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release of any remaining pressure.
- Open the Instant Pot lid, and stir in the coconut milk, chickpeas, lemon juice and cilantro.
- Serve hot with rice, quinoa, or naan bread
Curry can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If you plan to eat the curry within a few days, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure the curry has cooled down to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. Curry can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little bit of water or coconut milk to thin out the sauce if necessary.
If you want to keep the curry for longer, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow the curry to cool down completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag. Label and date the container or bag and place it in the freezer. When you're ready to eat the curry, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
Must Try Recipes
The Best Chickpea and Lentil Curry
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 green chili seeded and cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch of salt
- 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup lentils rinsed and picked through
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas
- 1/2 lemon squeezed
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- In a pot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once heated add garlic, onion, green chili and ginger. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the onion has started to become more tender and turn translucent.
- Lower heat and add coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Toast spices for about a minute or so or until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, pinch of salt, and lentils. Stir until well combined. Increase heat and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are almost cooked.
- Stir in chickpeas and coconut milk. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are fully cooked. The curry should be thickened.
- Remove from heat, stir in fresh lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.