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Yumlicious Lentil Curry

You’re shocked, right? No chocolate, and no sprinkles today!

You might not know it from my recent posts, but I promise I don’t sit around all day eating chocolatey desserts… Today I’ve decided to break the “desserts-only” streak, on which I’ve been for the past month or so, with a savory recipe featuring one of my fave legumes: the lentil!

vegan lentil curry

When I do make a lentil dish, I always say to myself, “I should cook with lentils more often!” Such was the case with last night’s dinner.

vegan lentil stew

Yumlicious Lentil Curry

(Lentils… perfect for Lent!)

  • 2-4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • Optional: 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 3 minced garlic cloves (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) lentils (See the note below this recipe, in regards to whether to use 1 cup uncooked or cooked)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped (I use 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • optional: pepper (I only use a small dash)
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality red wine vinegar
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and carrots and cook over medium low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes with a knife until they are coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes (and the juice in the can), lentils, broth, curry powder, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to be sure the liquid is still simmering.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar. Season to taste and serve hot. Enjoy!

Cooking Mishap!

The original recipe, based off one from The Barefoot Contessa, is supposed to be for lentil curry. So I could not figure out why mine looked more like soup. Finally I realized: when it called for 1 cup lentils, it meant un-cooked. I’d used 1 cup canned! Oops!

All was not lost, however. I simply drained the liquid and poured it into a separate container. This gave me the curry for which I’d hoped… and now I had the most delicious, broth-y soup, besides. Two dishes from one recipe!

vegan curried lentils

And just because it wouldn’t be a CCK post without chocolate…

Chocolate Cake Batter Shake 

Published on March 25, 2011

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Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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  1. Emma says

    I don’t even have a camera haha, not to mention my food isn’t very pretty, as a student I am currently living off cabbage :P.
    I think recipes are made to be guidelines more than instructions, so I always do my own thing with them and make ooddles of substitutions and it almost always comes out tastier and healthier than it would have if I used the exact recipe. That way there are never any mistakes, just new variations!

  2. Albizia says

    This looks incredibly delicious. Can I ask a stupid question? How many portions is it supposed to be? Because my most common mistake when I cook for the family is to cook enough for an appetizer instead for a main course… 😀

    I used to photograph most of my meals but then I got bored and started taking pictures only when I cook something I find very interesting or good-looking. It obviously doesn’t happen very often.

  3. Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) says

    I’ve never tried lentils before. Gasp! :O This looks so delicious!! And I don’t photograph everything I eat just because a ham and cheese sandwich or chicken with broccoli would not be something to drool over haha 😉

  4. Jess says

    recently i’ve been taking photos, but with my built in webcam, so they aren’t fancy or anything. i’d try this recipe tonight, only i don’t have everything, and i already have some chicken i need to make

  5. Tara @The Game of Life says

    I am completely okay with the desserts I love them too!!! This lentil thing looks good too tho… my sister loves lentil soup!! She lives in Doha, Qatar right now and they have amazing soup there!! There was also a really good mushroom one… I forget what it was called tho.

  6. tea-bag says

    ohh, you should totally use that unused soup broth to make rice or other grains – so flavorful!

    as for mistakes in the kitchen – i used to be a pastry chef & so mistakes never end well … it just means that the restaurant is serving fruit crisp tonight instead of creme brulee!


  7. Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) says

    DITTO GIRL! i always forget about lentils.. i rmbr beans but lentils just float away and then i remember why they are so good once ive eaten them and how i rly should eat them more often.. then i forget about them and the cycle goes on! ahahah i would done that canned lentil mistake too- thats an example of a typical Carrie kitchen mishap!

    oh i defs DO NOT photograph everything i eat.. esp now since my phone is broken!!! (phone=camera 😉

  8. Stephanie says

    I always wish I used lentils more often too! They’re so quick and easy to cook, and you can use them in so many recipes.
    I don’t photograph everything I eat because the same salad (baby greens and two kinds of beans!) every day twice a day would be pretty boring to most people. I wish I had a full kitchen so I could make it more interesting. I’ll have one in 33 days, though! =)

  9. Bianca- Vegan Crunk says

    I love lentils … maybe even more than chocolate (gasp)!! That looks delicious. I do photograph much of what I eat, but only when I know it’s for a planned post. I plan my meals around my blog. 🙂

  10. Hannah says

    Hi, Katie! I recently discovered your blog, and I just wanted to say I really love it. Your recipes all look so delicious (whether chocolate-covered OR about lentils–which happen to be one of my favorite foods, too).

    I definitely photograph almost everything I eat. My family makes fun of me mercilessly. My biggest problem, though, is making my food photography look GOOD. I recently started my own food blog, but so far I’m too afraid to even post pictures because they all look so bad! haha

  11. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    I don’t photograph many of my meals — I don’t feature tons of food/recipes on my blog so I don’t need to. Plus I eat the same meals week after week so it would be super repetitive!

    I think all of my cooking mistakes turn out badly 🙁

  12. faith @ lovelyascharged says

    Oops! Totally forgivable mistake though! I definitely don’t photograph seems like I eat constantly – nobody needs to see shots of pistachios, strawberries and other little snacks day in and day out!

  13. Anonymous says

    I stumbled across your blog doing a search for vegan recipes (I’m doing it for Lent and have no idea what to cook), and everything looks amazing! I can’t wait to start making things!
    Also I have the same problem with taking pictures of food – I usually remember halfway through eating something that I wanted to take pictures of it first.

  14. Disturbed says

    Can we get added to the blogroll later? I am working on creating my blog now, and I am definitely adding you to it, so I was just wondering…

    And may I just say…this looks amazing 🙂

  15. Jessica says

    I just happen to have been craving curry lately and what do you know I currently have all the ingredients to make this 🙂 Dinner tonight? I think so. Thanks!

  16. Elizabeth A. says

    Looks yummy! I remember a while back that you said you would write a post about non-vegan cravings. I’m interested in what a long-time vegan like you would have to say:) You’re pretty much my favorite blogger:)

  17. Namaste Gurl says

    This looks like a nourishing, warming, and delicious lentil- soup! I’ll have to try it out one night:)
    I’d have to agree with you- chocolate and dessert recipes are SO much more appealing looks and taste wise than regular ole’ food:)
    I photograph a lot of what I eat, but not everything. Just the things that look pretty:)

  18. Tessa @ Amazing Asset says

    Hi Katie!
    My name is Tessa, and I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now, but this is my first time posting! I wanted to write a quick note just saying how much I enjoy your blog, full of fantastic recipes, fun entries, and good issues as well.
    One of my favorite ingredients to cook with/eat is LENTILS so I will surely be trying this recipe 🙂

  19. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) says

    I love lentils, too, and always find myself asking why I don’t eat them more when they’re so easy to make. Your curry looks yummy, love all the veggies!

    I photograph most of what I eat, but not everything. I’ve found that some things just aren’t blog-worthy, LOL.

    Have a great weekend, Katie!! 😀

  20. Kat @ Cupcake Kat says

    You’re so cute Katie: “lentils are perfect for Lent”
    I really like lentils too but don’t have them that often. They’re just something you don’t think about much
    I have had cooking mishaps but usually I suprise myself when I just put tons of stuff together and it ends up tasting good!

  21. Veronica says

    Taking food pictures is a pain in the butt! I agree, taking dessert pictures is way easier b/c you’re usually not starving while you’re doing it, and desserts are so much prettier. But I do photograph most things I eat. It’s my least favorite part of food blogging, but I couldn’t post recipes without them. Just couldn’t. They’re just not as appealing without a picture! Most of my cooking mistakes are disasters, but I did once make some yummy truffles out of a failed white chocolate buttercream experiment, and once made a yummy butter rum caramel cake when I added too many eggs to the base of a dough meant for bars. Your curry looks yumtastic, BTW! I love curries.

  22. Lyza says

    Why Katie, I’m shocked! Lentils?! LOL my last thought on here was, “I’m going to have to get my hands on some cocoa powder before her recipes drive me crazy!!”

    This looks yumlicious 🙂 I’ll have to ask my dad to make it for me (I’m so anal about the environment, I can’t bear to buy my own cans……I hope this is a good thing. I am just going to cover my eyes and ask him to make it for me, knowing full well he’ll use one! >.< )! I also love how you instead of wasting the liquid, opted to save it for a soup 🙂 Economical and eco friendly 🙂

    • Hannah says

      Hey, Lyza! If you don’t want to use cans, you can always buy your lentils (dried) in bulk from any healthy store. They’re really easy to cook (unlike dried beans, no soaking required!) , environmentally friendly, and so cheap they’re practically free 🙂

      • Lyza says

        Oh, I know 🙂 I have probably 2-3 pounds from Whole Food’s bulk section that’s been in my pantry for ages. It was actually the canned tomatoes I was referring to. Whoops! 🙂

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      You can definitely, definitely use dried lentils! 🙂 (If you still want a soup, not a stew, just make sure to use less than 1 cup dry so it makes 1 cup after cooking… that’d be like 1/4 cup dry? I’m not good with bean conversions, but I think it’s something like that.)

  23. kaila @ healthy helper! says

    Lentils are my favorite source of vegetarian protein! They are versatile and not to mention delicious! Can’t wait to try this recipe…..I love anything with lentils!

  24. chelsey @ clean eating chelsey says

    I always have the SAME thinking with lentils – I need to use them more often!! 🙂 I don’t photograph everything I eat – far from it actually!

  25. Alexandra (Veggin' Out in the Kitchen) says

    OMG that looks fabulous!!!! I LOVE lentils and I LOVE curry. This looks perfect!!! 🙂

    I also definitely make my fair share of cooking mishaps! But they don’t always turn into something good 🙁 I have an incapability of following recipes, and sometimes it shows! Maybe you could teach me how to tweak recipes into something good? 😉

    I definitely don’t photograph everything I eat… I’m often like you – I just want to eat!! And sometimes when I take pictures, my food gets cold. I’ve considered putting a disclaimer on my blog that my recipes may not be good hot, but they’re amazing cold! 😉


    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      How to change a bad recipe into something good: Just throw a bunch of chocolate chips in there. Voila! Nothing can be bad with chocolate, right? 😉

      On a more-serious note, I often will add a can of tomato sauce to a bland recipe, to jazz it up. Or a little soy sauce. And sometimes, if a sauce is getting lost in a recipe, you can always blend/puree it to make a yummy soup! I did that with a Thai curry once!

  26. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    “And have you ever made a cooking mistake that turned out to be a good thing?”

    Are you kidding me? That’s the majority of my cooking life. I plan things, but things dont go according to plan, and then I improvise and voila, something good results. Maybe not what I dreamt up in my mind, but totally acceptable…sometimes probably better than what i dreamt up.

    And lentils…omg about 3-4 weeks ago I was on a lentil posting streak, raisin curry lentils, salsa lentils, lentils with potatoes, you name it, lentils were the deal. All from scratch in under 30 mins.

    Great job on this! And yes the 1 c dry vs. cooked is why you had the excess liquid.

    And your comment to me yesterday re photoshopping things…yes girl, cant believe everything/anything you see anymore!

  27. Tara says

    I photograph my pretty meals. Sometimes things just don’t look great or I forget that I was going to take a picture of it, so I mix it all together.
    I have like, 3 huge bags of lentils that I’ve never used. They intimidate me! I really need to use them up. I’d like to try this, daal, and snobby joes! Doe you have any other ideas of what I could do?

  28. Mary @ Bites and Bliss says

    What an awesome recipe!! I’m the same way, I have no problem making recipes for sweets and baked goods..but am seriously lacking in the actual food department. 😉

  29. VEGirl says

    Haha I can’t take pictures of everything I eat! I always serve up more smaller portions, instead of one or two big ones– so it’s hard to photograph that :). I will eat lots of little things, too.

    I think I have definitely made mistakes in cooking that ended well. Only thing is, I cant think of any right now– but I can tell you one my mom did! For my birthday cake, she made a half batch of a brownie recipe that we all love and put it in one round cake pan. When it came out we all remarked how dense, moist, and fudgie it was. Turns out she cut the flour in half– but forgot to cut the liquid! It ended up being a fugdie brownie cake and it was awesome!


  30. Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) says

    Lentils are the BEST!! I have them pretty often…I put that down to my Indian momma always keeping a huge stash in the house! 😛 But I am SO making this soon!! I love lentils! 😀

    And trust me, there’s NOTHING wrong with posting sweet recipes every day! I make and eat them all!! 😀

    P.S. Awww THANKS for entering my giveaway!! That’s SO sweet about you not entering usually!! You are the kindest girl ever, you know that?! 🙂

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      You have an Indian momma? Lucky!! Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines… but there’s only ONE good Indian place around here (I went for my b day). One of my good friends, in high school, was Indian, and her house ALWAYS smelled SO freakin good!

      And lol well actually I did enter one other contest before, a few years ago… the host had no other comments and I felt awful :(. So I won some homemade cookies, but my mom made me throw them out because I didn’t know the sender :(.

  31. Claire says

    Good work kiddo!
    … How can it be frozen hot chocolate, understand the wonders of hot chocolate and … frozen chocolate? but frozen hot chocolate, this is intriguing, Excited! 😀

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Haha I was wondering that too when people asked me if I could re-create it. But apparently, it’s kinda like ice cream (but with a bit more of an ice-milk texture) with the taste of hot chocolate. And you can use a straw or spoon! 🙂

  32. michelle says

    I don’t photograph what I actually eat because I tend to slop food altogether into a bowl but I do take pictures of every step of my recipes. Your curry looks yum!

  33. sweetmissmolly says

    That dish looks amazing! I may actually make it tonight. I actually had something opposite happen. I made a dish. It was ok. I made it a soup. It was awesome! Every dish is in a state of evolution!

  34. Vega says


    I have a question…is there any way you can come up with a vegan rice krispie?
    I love “healthifying” things but I’m not very good at it…and I’m not a big fan of lots of sugar, lol. Perhaps a nut butter could be used in place of the marshmallows?
    Just wondering if you had any ideas!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I’ll put it on my list of things to try!! 🙂
      Oh, but in the meantime, you can always try googling “vegan rice crispy treat recipe” or “healthy rice crispy treat recipe” and see if anyone has already done it :).

  35. Heather @ kissmybroccoli says

    I usually photograph my main meals unless they’re leftovers…because leftovers rarely look pretty, but not my snacks since the reason I’m having a snack is to avoid gnawing my arm off (obviously no time to whip out the camera). Not all of my meals make it on the blog. Most of the time, I don’t know what I’m going to blog about until I sit down to write it, so I like to leave my options open! 😉

  36. Anonymous says

    YUM! I just made the Curry and it is GREAT 🙂
    I just had to add oat cream because I added too much salt (so much for cooking mishaps^^)…In Germany we say that if a meal is too salty, the cook is in love…I met a really cute guy in the library a few days ago, so thats a point I guess 😉

  37. Danni (Healthy Kitschy Vegan) says

    It is kind of fun when you screw up a recipe and it ends up being kind of awesome. That sorta happened to me the other day. I was making a madras curry from 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East, and HATED how it turned out. So I imagined what I wanted it to taste like, and made a freaking DELICIOUS curry-like dish that I am going to make quite often now!

  38. catalinamaya says

    I just made this as dinner for parents and myself; the aroma and taste is moksa as the Hindus would say – it’s like Vishnu the Preserver has taken another avatar as the curry itself! 😀

    All jokes aside, my father, who is famous for his own Indian chicken curry, and my mother, being half Indian has grown up on curries, both said it was delicious, and between the three of us, we devoured the whole recipe!

  39. Amy says

    I made this today, and it turned out great! My grandma, who pretty much won’t eat anything that I call healthy, loved it!

  40. Heather says

    So I know this is a pain but I am a calorie counter and am making this recipe for dinner this week was wondering what the nutritional break down is for a serving I saw that it served 6. Do you happen to have that available?

  41. Paula says

    re: vegetable stock — Katie how do you acquire yours … do you make it from scratch, buy it, maybe use vegan bouillon? I wind up buying the Imagine or Pacific brand but it gets a bit expensive. If you make your own stock, please share at some point. Thanks in advance.

    This looks delish

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I don’t really like the taste of the Imagine veg one, but I do like their No-chickn broth.
      I wait until I find coupons, and I always freeze what I don’t use in ice cube trays, so at least I never waste any. Yeah, I should probably make my own… but I pay for convenience :-(.

  42. Jade says

    Oh this is just so yummy, I can’t believe how much of it the recipe makes as well, I’ve got enough easily for a week’s worth of food here! I didn’t have any courgette but I’ll definitely try it with it next time.

    I love your blog Katie, I’m not a vegan, I’m not even a vegetarian, but your recipes are so wonderful they are definitely making me considering turning veggie (not sure about vegan though, I am far too much of a cheese lover unfortunatley!!).

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Haha I hear you on the cheese thing! Oddly enough, I used to be the BIGgest cheese lover… my aim screenname even had “cheese” in it! I moved to China, though, where they don’t eat much cheese and so I wasn’t eating it anymore and suddenly found I’d lost my taste for it. It was the weirdest thing, because I could eat a bowl of macaroni and cheese like nobody’s business lol.

      In any case, I’m glad you like the recipes! No one says you have to be vegan to enjoy vegan foods, right? 😉

  43. Paula says

    Yes, but as someone who had breast cancer, I feel a caring duty to tell people that dairy is bad news any way you look at it.

  44. Paula says

    Is there a particular colored lentil that is best? I have a lot of red lentils in the house. They tend to cook up very fast and get soft. So I guess I’ll have to watch them.

    Anyway just wanted to know people’s preferences on lentils for this recipe. Thanks in advance.

  45. Paula says

    By green, I take it you mean the ones used for green split pea soup. That’s cool. I do prefer the yellow when I’m using curry … I just like it better color-wise. Well, I just got back from supermarket and got me a bag of brown lentils. But for now I’ll use the red lentils and see how it comes out. This will be my first try at one of your non-dessert recipes. Will report verdict 🙂

  46. Paula says

    I have only used red lentils in the “Fat Free Vegan” version of Isa’s chickpea cutlets called Quinoa & Red Lentil cutlets. It seems a bit too mild … it’s good … but I think I like the chickpea one better.

  47. Paula says

    Verdict: Mmmmm mmmmmm good! Spunky, especially with the dash of red wine vinegar at the end. I used a can of crushed tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes, but there’s no real difference in the end, is there? I cut down on the salt, and was careful with the curry, using only 1 tsp at first, but found it wouldn’t be overkill to add the other at the end.

    This a real nutritious winner Katie! So grateful you do what you do with these easy delicious VEGAN (no animal harmed!) recipes.

  48. Paula says

    I’ve made this twice now, first with the crushed tomatoes and second with the plum tomatoes. I think I like the crushed tomatoes better … it comes out thicker and makes the house smell like there’s spaghetti sauce cooking. Still a great recipe, and delicious cold. My boyfriend thought it could use a little something else. Maybe I’ll put some cubed potatoes in it next time.

  49. Sally says

    I made this recipe tonight for our dinner with some cheesy cornbread. Mmmm! I did substitute sweet potato for the carrots and celery for the zucchini since we didn’t have either. Turned out well too. Thank you for your many tasty recipes!

  50. Erin says

    I feel a bit strange commenting on a post made over a year ago, but I just wanted to say I made this tonight for the first time and it was incredible! 😀 I was a little skeptical at first because it didn’t LOOK all that great… but mmmm 🙂

  51. Leigh Benigni says

    My husband and I are SO VERY THANKFUL we found your blog. As new vegans we were struggling with what to make for everyday lunches and dinners. Plus, we have two children and this makes it a little more challenging to find things that they will find yummy too. I can’t tell you how much ti means to find easy to make everyday dishes using ingredients that I can find at our local market. THANK YOU CCK!!!

  52. Barbi says

    Please make lentil based desserts :] Haha. I’m vegan and gluten-free, and like you I always need my cocoa fix. And often put cocoa into ‘odd’ foods like beans, rice, and avocados. Just now I mixed cocoa powder in some plain lentils and it wasn’t great but I feel like you could master something out of it! Absolutely love your blog, have for safe to say over a year. Thank you for it.

  53. Ciara says

    I made this for dinner tonight for me and my meat loving boyfriend and even he couldnt get enough Katie u are a genius!! Will def make again

  54. N says

    Looks yummy! But curry is supposed to be soupy- your liquidy version looks way more like curry than the drained one! I think maybe non-liquidy curry is a Western interpretation? Not sure but in most traditional curries, the soupy part IS the actual “curry”

  55. Pamela says

    Thanks for this recipe, Katie! I made it for the second time last night, because it seemed like the perfect dish on a snowy evening. Like you, I always forget about cooking with lentils, but love them every time I do. I started following you for your dessert and oatmeal recipes, but I really love all your savory dishes. Tonight we are going to have your Mexican Tamale Pie 🙂

  56. Gail Fuller says

    Made this tonight – my first time trying lentils. My 2 year-old twins and I LOVED it! We’ve been slowly trying all of your dinner recipes and have loved every single one. I’ve been desperate for some new recipes so I was so happy to find your site and excited to try even more recipes. Thank you!

  57. Kim says

    Would this freeze well? I cook and freeze meals for my daughter to eat while away at college and this recipe looks amazing!

    • Unofficial CCK Helper says

      I cook and freeze many of Katie’s recipes, and they all hold up well, just as good heated up as when fresh.

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