Creamy Red Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk
This creamy red lentil curry made with coconut milk and almond butter is a perfect meal to prepare for a dinner party. The combination of the creaminess and the mixture of spices creates a wonderful flavour that is comforting and satisfying. If you are looking to introduce some more plant-based meals at dinner time, and you like curries, then this is a great recipe to start with. It should satisfy anyone used to having meat as a central part of dinner.
A nutritious creamy red lentil curry
Red lentils are a nutritionally dense food, high both in protein and fibre. The protein in one portion of this creamy red lentil curry just from the lentils, is almost 13 grams. This is around one quarter of the daily protein requirement for a 66kg person, before even considering the protein from the rest of the meal. When cooked, they break down and form a lovely satisfying texture like a thick sauce.
I’ve gone with a red and a yellow pepper for this recipe, however there are plenty of vegetable variations you can go with. Throwing in 100 to 200g of fresh spinach leaves is a great way of getting some extra greens into your diet. These can be added 5 minutes before the end of the cooking process, they just need a few minutes for the leaves to wilt down. Other vegetable swaps such as courgette or aubergines will also work well depending on your tastes and what vegetables you have available.
For this recipe, adding a can of low fat coconut milk along with 2 tablespoons of almond butter creates a lovely creamy flavour. If you want to create an even creamier flavour, you can use full fat coconut milk. Just keep in mind that full fat coconut milk contains twice the calories as low fat coconut milk. To make a version that is a little lighter in calories, you can omit the almond butter. The dish will still have a creamy flavour from the coconut milk.
For a lower in fat dahl recipe that is still full of flavour, check out my Easy Red Lentil Dahl recipe.
Red lentil curry vs red lentil dahl?
I wasn’t sure whether this recipe is technically a curry or a dahl, but (according to my research on Google) a dahl tends to be milder from a spice perspective, being more akin to a lentil stew. Since this recipe contains plenty of spices, I believe it is more accurate to call it a curry. Speaking of spices, it is often difficult to gauge how spicy the fresh chilis from the supermarket are going to make the curry. If you are someone who likes spicy food, I recommend testing the curry half way through the cooking process, and then adding some dried cayenne pepper/chili powder if you think it needs a little more spice.
This is a great dish for meal prepping, since it tastes great the next day (probably even better as the flavours have time to infuse), and also tastes great from frozen. This recipe makes four portions, so depending on how many you are cooking for, you can either keep some extra portions from the quantities of ingredients in this recipe, or multiply all of the ingredients by 1.5 or 2, to make a big pot of curry and store some extra portions for hassle free quick meals. I often follow a rule of thirds for big pot recipes, and eat one third straightaway, put one third in the fridge, and freeze another third.
Having some home cooked meal portions available in the fridge or freezer is invaluable for days when you don’t have the time or the inclination to start chopping vegetables after a long day.
Consuming more nuts is associated with better health outcomes and almonds are no exception. you can read more about the health benefits here.
Creamy Red Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk and Almond Butter
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 fresh chilis
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 ½ tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 220 g red lentils
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 400 ml can of low fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
- 450 ml water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari
- 1. Add the oil to a large deep pan or a pot on a medium high heat2. When the oil gets hot, add the chopped onions and stir until the onion starts to soften3. Add the finely chopped garlic, finely chopped chili, and grated ginger4. Stir for another minute or so then add all of the spice powders5. Stir in the spices, adding a splash of water if the pan gets too dry6. Add red lentils, chopped peppers, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, almond butter, water and soya sauce and bring to a boil stirring regularly7. Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for about 25 minutes until lentils are soft, stirring regularly. If the curry becomes a little too thick, you can add a little more water to reach desired consistency8. Serve with some rice (wholegrain for extra nutrition)