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Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (with canned lentils)

This creamy and easy Lentil Curry is made with pantry staple ingredients such as canned lentils, canned pumpkin, and canned coconut milk. Quick and filling, this plant-based lentil curry is an easy and tasty meal option for a hectic schedule.

Easy vegan lentil curry in a bowl with Sri Lankan roti in a plate near by.

*This post was first published on March 21st, 2020. It has been updated and is being republished today.

If you are home-bound these days and managed to stock up on canned lentils or canned chickpeas, canned pumpkin and some coconut milk, you can easily whip up this lentil curry.

When it comes to canned coconut milk, not all cans of coconut milk are equal. My favorite is Chaokoh (this is not a sponsored post for it ~ I just love Chaokoh coconut milk products)

What’s on your agenda for dinner tonight?

On our dinner menu is this Easy Lentil Curry with a side of Love Island Season 6 (and nope, that’s not a spice mix)

My Insta has been blowing up with people raving about the TV show “Love Is Blind”. So, of course, I had to check out what all the fuss was about. But, ten minutes into it, I realized that show was just not for me when I got distracted thinking about food – specifically – what was I making for dinner!

However, after dinner, my daughter persuaded me to watch an episode of Love Island, and gosh darn it, I couldn’t turn my eyes away!

In the episode I watched, the girls were so sassy, and the boys were totally whipped. Watching those boys try to impress the girls was just pure entertainment. I ended up watching the rest of season 6 of Love Island with my daughter over the course of several dinners – including this lusciously creamy Lentil Curry ~ made with canned lentils!

Enjoying a bowl of easy lentil curry with some sri lankan roti

How to make Easy Lentil Curry:

I started this curry off with what my mom calls the holy trinity of Sri Lankan recipes: onion, garlic and ginger.

I simply love the flavor a slightly caramelized onion infuses into a curry. So, I usually like to spend a few minutes making sure the onion I am using is sautéed tenderly until it begins to caramelize. Then I add in the ginger and garlic.

Very often, starting a curry with this base of a slightly caramelized onion sautéed with fresh ginger and garlic means I don’t have to use a whole lot of spices for me to get my curry fix.

The longest part of making this curry was sautéing the onion. After that, this curry can be made rather quickly.

Easy steps to make vegan Lentil Spinach Curry For Dinner.

I simply added in half a can of coconut milk, half a can of pure pumpkin puree, some water, some frozen spinach, coriander, smoked paprika, turmeric, and a can of lentils.

I usually prefer using dried lentils (like I’ve done in these lentil vada, lentil patties, and these lentil pancakes). But, as I had some cans of lentils in the back of my pantry, I figured this would be a good time to use them up.

By the way, don’t discard the other half of the canned coconut milk and pumpkin as you can use it to make this Cauliflower curry.

I used pumpkin in this curry in place of the tomato paste I often use because I was out of it and I didn’t feel like braving the crowds at stores this weekend.

This lusciously creamy, vegan, easy lentil curry is not only delicious and filling, but it is quite versatile too.

Making Lentil Spinach Curry For Dinner.

This curry is so versatile!

If you didn’t snag any canned lentils when you braved the stores but have chickpeas or any other canned or frozen bean on hand, use that.

If you don’t have pumpkin puree but have tomato paste, then sub that in.

If you don’t like spinach, leave it out or use frozen kale or collards instead.

If coconut milk isn’t your jam and you are not vegan, then go ahead and use cream or milk.

If you are looking for a lentil curry with pumpkin added in – then check this 10-ingredient, Pumpkin Lentil Curry out.

What to eat with this curry:

My daughter made some Sri Lankan Roti (using this recipe) to accompany this lentil curry. You can get your kids involved in making some roti or you can make this easy lentil curry tonight and serve it with some naan, turmeric quinoa, or rice pilaf. Either way, I sure hope you enjoy this lentil curry so much it has you licking your plate!

Quick, delicious and filling, this vegan lentil curry had us licking our plates.
Easy vegan lentil curry in a bowl with Sri Lankan roti in a plate near by.

Easy Lentil Curry Recipe (with canned lentils)

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This lusciously creamy and easy Lentil Curry is made with staples from our pantry such as canned lentils, canned pumpkin, and canned coconut milk. Quick,delicious and filling, this vegan lentil curry had us licking our plates!


  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1/2 of a 13.5 oz can of coconut milk (I used Chaokoh brand - so approximately 6.75 oz)
  • 1/2 of a 15 oz can 100% pure pumpkin puree (I used Libby's brand, so approximately 7.5 oz)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 15 oz can of lentils (I used the simple truth brand for this recipe)
  • 4 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach (not thawed)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro to garnish


  1. Peel and chop red onion, garlic and ginger.
  2. Add oil to a pan over medium heat and add the chopped onion to it. Saute onion until it begins to slightly caramelize (about 15 minutes or so), stir often so onion doesn't burn.
  3. Add in garlic and ginger and saute a couple more minutes.
  4. Then add in the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, water, coriander, smoked paprika, and turmeric and stir well.
  5. When all ingredients are well incorporated, add in the spinach and stir well.
  6. Then add in the lentils and stir well - letting curry cook about a minute or two more.
  7. Remove from the stove and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. When serving, garnish with chopped cilantro and enjoy with Sri Lankan roti, naan, turmeric quinoa, or rice pilaf.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 201Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 75mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 5gSugar 3gProtein 5g

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Monday 15th of August 2022

Love this recipe. Been making it for lunch for months, since covid forced me to work from home permanently. Tested several other lentil recipes and this is my favorite by far. Bake a piece of frozen Trader Joe's garlic nan to enjoy along. Thanks a million for sharing!!

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Friday 25th of February 2022

I enjoyed this a lot! I added the spices I had: turmeric, curry, garam masala, ground coriander, black pepper. I didn't have pumpkin, but did have some cauliflower rice that I had in the freezer....through it in with the rest. Delicious!

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