Main Dishes & Entrées/ Soups & Stews

Coconut Curry Lentil Stew

March 13, 2024 (Last Updated: April 1, 2024)

Coconut Curry Lentil Stew is a satisfying medley of protein-rich lentils, creamy coconut milk and aromatic spices. Cozy up with a bowl of hearty lentil stew this soup season the next time you’re craving something warm, delicious and nourishing.

lentil stew in black bowl with rice.

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Coconut Curry Lentil Stew is a satisfying medley of protein-rich lentils, creamy coconut milk and aromatic spices. Cozy up with a bowl of hearty lentil stew this soup season the next time you’re craving something warm, delicious and nourishing.

Want to try tasty vegan soup recipes? Check out my Jamaican Pumpkin Soup, Gungo Peas Soup and Jamaican Red Peas Soup.

coconut curry lentil stew.

Vegan Lentil Stew

Coconut curry lentil stew is a Caribbean twist on the traditional recipe. It’s as hearty as it is healthy. Sop it up with some crusty bread and you have the ultimate winter comfort meal!

Here’s Why You’ll Love this Lentil Stew Recipe

  • Meatless: Lentil stew is a mouthwatering plant based alternative to traditional meat based stews. It’s nearly as rich and just as flavourful.
  • Nutritious: One serving of this stew yields 16 grams of protein and 17 grams of fiber, which helps you feel full for longer.
  • Make Ahead Meal: You can make this one pot meal in advance because it stores well. It takes less than 1 hour to prepare and you can enjoy leftovers throughout the week (even longer if you freeze it)!
red lentils in fine mesh sieve.

Is Lentil Stew good for you?

Lentils are a nutritious legume. They’re an excellent source of protein, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. It supports digestive health and can regulate blood sugar levels. It’s also low in fat.

Types of Lentils

  • Brown Lentils: They have a mild, earthy taste. They maintain their shape when cooked, making them ideal for stews and soups.
  • Green Lentils: This variety has a peppery flavour and is slightly firmer than brown lentils. They’re great for salads.
  • Red Lentils: Sweet and nutty, these legumes cook fast but also break down very easily. Use them as a thickener for soups, stews, and curries.
lentil stew ingredient flatlay with labels.

Ingredients

  • Dry Brown or Red Lentils: This plant-based protein is a great alternative to meat. Rinse and drain the lentils before cooking them. Some lentil stew recipes use canned lentils but they don’t absorb the flavours as well.
  • Coconut Milk: This enriches the stew with a creamy texture, complementing the earthy flavors of the lentils and spices. It also contributes a subtle hint of coconut flavour.
  • Vegetable Broth: This is the liquid base of the stew. It deepens the flavour. If you don’t need a vegan or vegetarian lentil stew, you can use chicken broth instead. I prefer both options over just plain water.
  • Tomato Paste: This adds a touch of sweetness to the stew. It contributes a subtle acidity that balances the richness of the coconut milk.
  • Aromatics: The best stew recipes begin with sautéed onions and garlic.
  • Curry Powder: This brings an aromatic heat to the stew and adds a vibrant yellow hue and earthy flavour.
  • Ginger: Add this spice for a zesty punch of flavour.
  • Italian Seasoning: This seasoning blend includes herbs like oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season to taste.
  • Fresh Cilantro: This adds a burst of freshness and bright flavour to the finished dish.
  • Vegetable Oil: Use this for your sauté.

How to Make Lentil Stew

  1. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic, ginger, thyme (optional) and curry powder. Cook for an additional minute to toast the spices then add the lentils to the skillet.
  2. Pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk then add the tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving and enjoy!

Recipe Substitutions

  • Lentils: You can use green lentils as a substitute, but note that it will take much longer to cook.
  • Vegetables: For added nutrients and a chunkier stew, consider adding veggies like carrots, spinach, bell peppers, celery or zucchini.
  • Protein: You can add cooked meat to the stew. Try chicken, sausage, lamb, or beef.
  • Potatoes: Add diced potatoes or sweet potatoes to the skillet with the lentils as another way to make this dish heartier. You may also need to adjust the amount of liquid – vegetable broth or water. 

What to Serve with Lentil Stew

  • Crusty Bread: Serve individual servings with slices of loaf bread. A French baguette or sourdough would be perfect for dipping. Naan is another great option.
  • Salad: Enjoy this stew with a salad for a refreshing side.
  • Rice: For a more filling meal, pour the stew over your favourite rice.

Tips

  • Before cooking the lentils, sort through them to check for small stones and discard them.
  • Remember to rinse the lentils before cooking them. Otherwise, they may be bitter. This also removes any dirt or debris.
  • Toasting the curry powder, turmeric, and ginger in the vegetable oil before adding the other ingredients can help enhance their flavours and aromas, giving your stew a richer taste.
  • Allow the stew to simmer gently over low heat for anywhere from 8 minutes to 25 minutes (depending on the type of lentil you use), or until the lentils are tender. This allows the flavours to meld together and develop a rich, complex taste.
  • If the stew is too thick, you can add more water until you reach your desired consistency.
lentil stew in black bowl with rice.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Lentil stew tastes even better the next day once the flavours have had the chance to meld. Once the stew has completely cooled (within 2 hours of cooking) store leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Reheat individual servings in the microwave or over medium-low heat on the stove until warmed throughout.

Can you Freeze Lentil Stew?

To freeze lentil stew, store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Leave about 1 inch of space at the top of the container because the soup will expand as it solidifies. Defrost it overnight in the fridge or in the microwave.

lentil stew in black bowl with rice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is lentil stew made of?

Lentil stew usually includes lentils, broth, spices, assorted vegetables, tomatoes, coconut milk and fresh herbs.

Are lentils healthier than beef?

Lentils are an excellent meat substitute and have more protein, fiber, iron and potassium than steak or ground beef.

Why should you not season lentils until the end of cooking?

Some lentil recipes suggest that salt be added to the dish after the lentils are cooked. Salt can interfere with the softening process of lentils by inhibiting water absorption, potentially leading to longer cooking times and tougher texture.

Interested in more Soup & Stew Recipes? Check These Out!

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lentil stew in black bowl with rice.

Coconut Curry Lentil Stew

Taneisha Morris
Coconut Curry Lentil Stew is a satisfying medley of protein-rich lentils, creamy coconut milk and aromatic spices. Cozy up with a bowl of hearty lentil stew this soup season the next time you're craving something warm, delicious and nourishing.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Soups & Stews
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 438 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup Dried Red Lentils rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 3 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 sm. Onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 sprigs Thyme optional
  • 2 tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 1-inch pc. Ginger
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Cilantro for garnish
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic, ginger, thyme (optional) and curry powder. Cook for an additional minute to toast the spices then add the lentils to the skillet.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk then add the tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Stew too Thick? If the stew is too thick, you can add more water until you reach your desired consistency. 
  • Lentils not Tender? If the lentils are not tender and the liquid has absorbed, add more vegetable stock about 1/3 cup at a time until desired tenderness is reached. 
  • Bulk Up the Recipe: Add chopped vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach. 
  • Potatoes: Add diced potatoes or sweet potatoes to the skillet with the lentils as another way to make this dish heartier. You will also need to adjust the amount of liquid – vegetable broth or water. 

Nutrition

Calories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 20gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 782mgPotassium: 924mgFiber: 22gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 606IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 9mg

Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a star rating and a comment below! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!
Keyword(s) can you freeze lentil stew, caribbean lentil stew, easy lentil stew, high protein vegetarian soup, jamaican lentil stew, lentil stew, lentil stew recipe, vegan lentil stew

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