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Three bowls of lentils on a table in a kitchen

Vegan Masala Curry with Red Lentils

Loaded with the goodness of lentils, tomatoes and spinach this vegan masala curry is nutrient rich. But the best bit is, it's like eating a big old bowl of hugs. 
Course Main
Cuisine Indian, Vegan
Keyword vegan masala curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 347kcal


For the masala paste

  • 1 and ½ tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 and ½ tsp coriander seeds or 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 and ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 inch ginger thumb peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 long red chilli chopped
  • 1 onion half chopped for the paste, ½ finely sliced for the curry
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or any neutral flavoured oil

For the curry

  • 1 tsp sunflower or any neutral flavoured oil
  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 270 ml coconut milk
  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 cups baby spinach or another leafy green
  • pinch salt


For the masala paste

  • To make the masala paste with seeds, add the cumin and coriander seeds to a dry fry pan and toast over low to medium heat for around 2 minutes or until fragrant. Watch the pan so you don't burn the seeds. Once toasted, grind the seeds to a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  • Add the cumin and coriander to a food processor with the garam masala, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, chopped ½ onion, tomato paste and oil and process until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Remove from the processor and set aside.

For the curry

  • Heat the sunflower in a large pan over medium heat and add the remaining ½ onion to saute for 3 minutes or until soft. Add the masala paste and stir together cooking for around 3 minutes.
  • Throw in the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for another 2 -3 minutes before stirring in the the red lentils.
  • Add the coconut milk and stock and bring the mixture up to a simmer, stirring regularly.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring regularly, for around 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the spinach. Allow it to wilt before serving.


If you are using pre-ground cumin and coriander, skip the first step in the masala paste instruction and go straight to step 2. 
You can swap out baby spinach for any chopped leafy greens you like. Baby spinach cooks quickly so you may need to allow other vegetables like kale or chard longer to wilt. 


Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 373mg | Potassium: 916mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2953IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 6mg