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Easy Pumpkin Lentil Curry

Made with just 10 ingredients, this Easy Pumpkin Lentil Curry is a creamy and comforting vegan curry that can be made in less than 30 minutes. Paired with some rice, naan, or roti, this curry is perfect for a busy weeknight or leisurely weekday dinner.

Easy tasty spicy pumpkin lentil curry made with dried lentils in a bowl.

This pumpkin lentil curry is so easy. You start off by sauteing ginger, garlic, onion, and celery together. Then you add in some canned 100% pure pumpkin, (washed) dry red lentils, spices, vegetable stock, or water, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. When the time is up, you have a delicious and tasty, plant-based curry.

As this nutritious curry can be prepared so quickly with easy-to-find ingredients, this is perfect to enjoy for a weeknight dinner or weekend meal.

Where did lentils come from originally?

Lentils are said to have been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs as early as 2400 BC. Since then, they have made their way, alongside meat, onto certain European tables and mingled with garlic and onions on certain Middle Eastern and South Asian tables.

Lentils come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. To name a few common varieties of lentils, there are those that are green, those that are yellow, those that are red, and even those that are black. But, no matter their shapes, size, or color, lentils are always a healthy, plant-protein-rich, addition to any meal.

At one point in time, lentils were even referred to as “the poor man’s meat.” But now there’s even a festival celebrating these little orbs in Pullman, Washington!

Are lentils good for you?

The humble, budget-friendly lentil has quite the reputation when it comes to low fat, high protein legumes. Lentils are little warehouses of nutrition as whatever is in them often helps us manage to keep our cholesterol levels down and our blood sugar levels under control. If you like to, you can read more about the health benefits of lentils here.

And, boy-o-boy are lentils versatile! From using them in these Chocolate Lentil Pancakes to these Lentil and Olive Vada’s to a myriad of stews and curries, lentils have been adorning my breakfast, lunch, and dinner table since I was a young one.

Ingredients to make pumpkin lentil curry on a wood board.

And today, I have yet another variation of a lentil dish. Even if you happen to be over pumpkin, I have a feeling you are going to love this lentil side dish as pumpkin is only used as a thickener in it.

When the pumpkin mingles with the ever so lightly caramelized onions, ginger, celery, and garlic, as well as the spices, it metamorphoses into something simply scrumptious. I added in some fiery harissa to add a bit of a spin to this delicious, low-calorie, curry.

What are the ingredients needed to make this easy pumpkin lentil curry?

To make this easy and comforting curry, you will need the following 10 main ingredients:

  1. Onion
  2. Garlic cloves,
  3. Fresh ginger,
  4. Celery,
  5. Dry red lentils,
  6. 100 % pure Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie filling),
  7. Coriander,
  8. Turmeric,
  9. Smoked paprika, and
  10. Harissa.

I also used water to thin this down, but you can use an equal quantity of vegetable stock as well. And, olive oil was used to saute the ingredients.

This pumpkin lentil curry was then seasoned with salt and pepper and garnished with chopped parsley, but feel free to use cilantro if you prefer.

A pan with creamy hot and delicious pumpkin lentil curry just off the stove.

Growing up in Sri Lanka, lentil curry always made an appearance at every get-together. No matter if it was a holiday feast, a funeral, a Sunday dinner, or just because, lentil curry always made an appearance on the table, along with yellow rice. When I was growing up in Sri Lanka and Abu Dhabi, lentil curry was a holiday must!

So, have I convinced you to serve up a batch of this super easy pumpkin lentil curry on your holiday table? Well, if not, why not enjoy this at a busy weeknight dinner or a leisurely weekend meal?

A few Tips when making this pumpkin lentil curry:

  1. Instead of using dry lentils, you can use canned lentils in this recipe. You will just adjust the cooking time down as well as the quanity of water/vegetable stock used significantly. If canned lentils are used, then, after you add the lentils and about 1/2 the amount of water/veg stock, then you would let this simmer covered for about 5 minutes. If you would like a lentil curry recipe with canned lentils and without the pumpkin, then check out this one.
  2. The combination of spices I have here are a guide. You do not have to striclty adhere to the quanitities listed. Sometimes, I have made this pumpkin lentil curry and used cayenne powder instead of smoked paprika. Sometimes, I have forgone the harissa for some chili flakes. There have been even times when I added in some cumin to this mixture. So, feel free to experiment – but do remember, different quantities and types of spices will alter the taste of this dish significantly.
  3. If you want to make this a richer and creamier curry, then add in a bit of coconut milk. Instead of the 3 1/2 cups of water/vegetable stock, use about 2 1/2 cups of water/vegetable stock and add in 1 cup of coconut milk or any milk you prefer.
Delicious flavorful pumpkin lentils

What do you serve this pumpkin lentil curry with?

I love how creamy and comforting this curry is ~ even without any coconut milk. This curry pairs beautifully with roti, yellow rice, or even some black rice and beans.

If you are in a time crunch, then grab one of those packages of rice that you can heat up in 90 seconds to serve with this. Or, even some store-bought naan.

If you want to make this curry part of an elaborate weekend meal, then a serving suggestion would be to serve it with some of this yellow rice, some of these vegetarian meatballs, this beetroot curry, a batch of this cashew curry, and some apple chutney, or mango chutney, or apple cranberry chutney.

How long can you store this pumpkin lentil curry?

You should be able to store this curry in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days. When you need to enjoy some, just spoon onto a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.

This pumpkin lentil curry is easy to make and I am convinced that you and your family are going to love this easy dish.

Spicy pumpkin lentils-with black rice and beans

A version of this Pumpkin Lentil Curry first appeared on Food Fanatic – with apples to add a bit of a sweet spin.

Easy tasty spicy pumpkin lentil curry made with dried lentils in a bowl.

Easy Pumpkin Lentil Curry

5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Shashi
Made with just 10 ingredients, this Easy Pumpkin Lentil Curry is a creamy and comforting vegan curry that can be made in less than 30 minutes. Paired with some rice, naan, or roti, this curry is perfect for a busy weeknight or leisurely weekday dinner.


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup 100% cure cumpkin curee canned,
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp cround coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp harissa
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley &/or green onions to garnish.


  • Peel and chop the onion, garlic, ginger as finely as you can.
  • Rinse and chop up the celery as well.
  • Add the olive oil to a large heavy bottom pan and place it over a medium flame/heat.
  • Then add in the chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and celery.
  • Let this mix sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times so they don't burn.
  • While this mix is sauteing, add the dry lentils to a large bowl and fill it with enough tap water so the lentils are submerged. Gently, run your hand through the lentils, dislodging ay debris. Drain the water out. Repeat this process until the water drained off is clear (it took me about 5 times).
  • Add the lentils and water or stock into the pan with the sauteing onions, ginger, garlic, and celery.
  • Stir in the pumpkin, coriander, turmeric, smoked paprika, and harissa. Make sure all ingredients are mixed well.
  • Then cover the pan, reduce the flame (gas) or heat (electric) to low and let this simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • When the 15 minutes are up, remove the lid, turn off the stove, and season the lentils with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve garnished with chopped green onion and/or parsley.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 196mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @SavorySpin or tag #savoryspin so we can share your ceation.

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Recipe Rating

  1. […] several other curries (like this cashew curry, this carrot curry, this beetroot curry, and this pumpkin lentil curry), some rice or roti, some chutney (like this pineapple chutney or this mango chutney), and some […]

  2. Lynda says:

    Just wanted to ask the quantity of celery and also where do you get cumpkin? Just making it now, sounds delicious.

  3. David @ Spiced says:

    Funny enough, we actually have a lot of lentils in the pantry right now. Our wires got mixed up, and both Laura and I ended up buying a big bag! That means we need to find a way to use up some lentils…and this sounds like a good idea to me. 🙂 Plus, I really enjoy pumpkin in savory recipes!

  4. Dana Sandonato says:

    This looks so so cozy and satisfying! Perfect to curl up with on a chilly day, and such a nice change from the usual soups and stews.

  5. Sharmila Kingsly says:

    Lentils and pumpkin are togther absolutely yumm !! Love them with some hot rice!!

  6. Amanda Wren-Grimwood says:

    This looks so easy. Creamy comfort food with lots of taste. I’m making this as a side dish for our Saturday night curry.

  7. […] you are looking for a lentil curry with pumpkin added in – then check this 10-ingredient, Pumpkin Lentil Curry […]

  8. Danielle Wolter says:

    This came out so delicious! I loved all the wonderful flavors and it was easy to make.

  9. Beth says:

    This looks like such a creamy and filling curry! Perfect for fall!

  10. […] Sometimes I pair it with an easy brussels sprouts saute, and other times, I enjoy it with some Pumpkin Lentils and Beet Curry on the […]

  11. […] Spicy Pumpkin Lentils – Runnin Sri Lankan […]

  12. harrietemilys says:

    This is such a great thanksgiving recipe Shashi! I adore lentils, and I love how you combined them with pumpkin and added apple. This dish sounds absolutely delicious mmmmm!!!! <3

  13. mira says:

    I love lentlis and feel like I don’t cook them as often as I’d like! This dish looks delicious, love the flavors!

  14. I might be entertaining a vegetarian tonight so lentils could appear on my menu for her 🙂

  15. Sonali- The Foodie Physician says:

    I love, love, love this idea! Adding pumpkin to lentils is such an awesome way to “shake things up”!

  16. ashley says:

    One thing I have never thought to “pumpkin”! I love this idea for Thanksgiving! The apple addition is spot on.

  17. Ashley says:

    I am always always trying to find new ways to use lentils! I love that you have the apple in here too! I hope you have a wonderful weekend Shashi!

  18. This sounds delightful Shashi, such a delicious combination of ingredients!

  19. I don’t eat lentils nearly enough! I usually just default to beans because I’m lazy and buy them canned and ready to go, but I really do love a good lentil dish. Looks like it’s time to go shopping and stock up the pantry 😀

  20. dishofdailylife says:

    We eat tons of lentils here! Now I have a new recipe to try…yay!

  21. Melissa Falk says:

    This looks and sounds delish! It will not just be a holiday dish for me 🙂

  22. Through Her Looking Glass says:

    Well I’ve just learned a ton about lentils, my friend! Thank you. A festival you say???? Maybe they’ll even get their own national day like everything else. NATIONAL LENTIL DAY. Has a ring to it. This dish looks delicious and love the harvest theme you got going here with pumpkins and apples. And I must check out your chocolate lentil pancakes!!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family Shashi! xo

  23. Pumpkin and lentils are wonderful together…I can simply enjoy this as the main!

  24. Lentils. I can imagine that both of our kitchen cupboards are full of them! I just couldn’t live without them!

    Love what you’ve done here with the pumpkin puree added, and that apple at the start too. I’m guessing that provides a fab level of “sweetness” to the dish? 🙂

  25. You make everything look yummy!

  26. Happy Thanksgiving Shashi and this lentil dish looks so good. Wonderful side or even vegetarian main!!