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This chickpea and lentil curry features protein-rich chickpeas and tender lentils in a fragrant tomato-based sauce with creamy coconut milk. It’s warm, comforting, full of spice, and so simple to make! Naturally vegan & gluten-free!
When I’m craving something cozy, I always look to curries! They are hearty, fragrant, and warm, with a slight kick from the chilies, all in a creamy yet light sauce. Most traditional curry recipes contain meat, but this chickpea and lentil curry recipe is entirely plant-based.
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One cup of chickpeas provides almost 40 grams of protein, along with manganese, folate, and dietary fiber! Chickpea lentil curry is hearty, cozy, creamy, and light. It’s crave-worthy and it’s easy to make too! Just sauté, simmer, and serve. I like to double or triple this chickpea lentil recipe and freeze half of it for a busy night when I need dinner ready, stat.
I also love that it’s elegant enough to serve when we have friends over. They all love it, and we hardly ever end up with leftovers. It’s a simple and tasty Indian vegetarian recipe! Do yourself a favor and serve with this vegan flatbread or rice to sop up the delicious sauce.
👩🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Easy recipe that’s BIG on flavor
- Tastes just as good the next day (if not better!)
- Healthy recipe with wholesome ingredients
- High in plant-based protein
- Super easy vegetarian curry
- Simple to customize
- Great recipe for meal prep
- The whole family will love this delicious meal
- Naturally gluten-free & vegan dish
This chickpea lentil curry recipe calls for pantry staples and simple ingredients found at your local grocery store. Here’s what you need:
- Coconut Oil: To sauté the aromatics. Olive oil or vegetable oil works great too!
- Onions and Fresh Garlic: The base for every good curry! Sweet, white or yellow onions all work great.
- Ginger Root: Find fresh ginger near the peppers in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle. It imparts a spicy kick that amps up the flavor.
- Yellow Bell Pepper: Orange and red bell peppers work too. They are naturally sweeter than green pepper.
- Green Chilies: For a bit of heat! If you like more heat, add three. If you like mild heat, only use one. If you don’t like any heat, omit the green chilies altogether.
- Blend Of Spices: Ground cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, and garam masala creates a homemade curry powder for plenty of sweet warmth and spice. Don’t forget a little bit of salt and pepper for seasoning!
- Diced Tomatoes: Sweet and acidic tomatoes make the base of the curry sauce. Fresh tomatoes work too, but you may need to add a splash of vegetable broth.
- Red Lentils: Red lentils are the softest of colored lentils. They naturally thicken the sauce and add texture. You can use other kinds of lentils, but you will need to adjust the cooking time and the texture of this vegan chickpea and lentil curry will change slightly.
- Chickpeas: Adds a dose of protein, fiber and heartiness to this curry, so much so that even meat eaters won’t miss the meat! I used canned chickpeas to save time.
- Coconut Milk: Full-fat coconut milk creates a rich and creamy sauce! If you want to cut calories, you can use low-fat coconut milk, but it has less coconut cream in it.
- Lemon: A squeeze of lemon brightens up the whole dish. Lime juice works great too!
- Baby Spinach: Leafy greens are packed with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. Spinach has a sweet and mild flavor, but swiss chard or baby kale work great too!
This chickpea lentil recipe is easy to customize! Try one of these delicious variations.
- Sweet Potato Chickpea Lentil Curry: Add diced sweet potatoes along with the chickpeas and lentils. They will cook through as the curry simmers.
- Green Lentil And Chickpea Curry: Swap the red lentils for green lentils. Green lentils take longer to cook, so you may need to simmer the curry up to 40 minutes to do so. Brown lentils are also a good option. They hold their shape, but don’t take as long to cook as green.
- Chickpea Lentil And Potato Curry: Toss in diced gold potatoes when you add the chickpeas. Gold potatoes are a good source of vitamins C and B6.
- Chickpea And Lentil Curry (Slow Cooker): Add all the ingredients except the coconut milk, lemon juice, and spinach to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.
- Butternut Squash Curry: Add diced butternut squash with the chickpeas and lentils.
🔪 How To Make Chickpea And Lentil Curry
This easy lentil and chickpea dhal is a breeze to make! Here’s step-by-step instructions with photos to guide you through it.
Sauté Aromatics: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 to 2 more.
Add Peppers: Add the diced bell peppers and chilies, then sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Add Spices: Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric, cilantro, and garam masala. Continue to stir and cook until the spices are fragrant.
Stir In Lentils & Chickpeas: Stir in the diced tomatoes, red lentils, and chickpeas. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk.
Simmer Vegan Curry: Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. If the sauce becomes too thick, add 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock to thin it out.
Add Spinach: Once the lentils are cooked and the sauce is thick, stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts.
Enjoy: Serve this chickpea lentil and spinach curry with basmati rice, naan bread, or brown rice.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Yes! Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are high in plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, and fiber. The protein and fiber help you stay full and promote a healthy digestive tract. Research suggests the consuming chickpeas helps prevent certain types of cancer too, while lentils help prevent diabetes and heart disease!
No, but they are similar. Both lentils and chickpeas are legumes that are rich in fiber and protein. Chickpeas are slightly bigger and rounder than lentils with a chewier texture. Lentils have an earthy flavor and softer texture. Both are a healthy addition to a plant-based diet.
Chickpea curry will last in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. To store in the fridge – transfer the leftover chickpea lentil coconut curry to an airtight container. Place in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute or until warmed through, before serving.
Yes! You can store and freeze chickpea curry for up to 3 months. To store in the freezer – let the curry cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in the microwave or in a large saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.
Yes, absolutely! If you love to prep your meals, then add this to your meal prepping list. It’s simple to make, and you can set it out in individual servings. Then when you need a healthy weeknight meal, simply grab a container, heat it up, and enjoy it!
🍽️ How To Serve
Here are a few of our favorite ways to serve curried chickpeas and lentils!
- Naan Bread: Take the naan (preferably whole wheat naan) and use it to scoop up the lentil and chickpea curry. The spongy, soft bread pairs nicely with curry.
- Brown Rice or Quinoa: Adding brown rice or quinoa is a lovely way to add some extra fiber and whole grains.
- With A Simple Salad: I like adding a really simple salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes and onions as a side for this tasty curry!
- Whole Wheat Tortillas: Add the homemade red lentil curry to the center of a whole wheat tortilla. Wrap it up like a burrito and enjoy! You can also wrap it in a roti!
- Sandwich: Turn this easy chickpea curry recipe into a sloppy joe type of sandwich. It’s a delicious way to enjoy curry dishes and it’s very kid friendly too!
💭 Expert Tips
- Play with the spices! If you like more heat, add some cayenne pepper or chili flakes.
- Instead of the chickpeas and red lentils, you can use any kind of lentils/beans you like! Try black beans, kidney beans, or brown lentils.
- Feel free to add in some veggies: roasted squash, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and kale would all work well in this dish.
- Canned brown lentils can be used instead of dried, reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes.
🍛 More Healthy Indian Recipes!
- Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
- Vegan Thai Green Curry
- Chole Masala
- Chickpea Tikka Masala
- Vegetable Vindaloo
- Rajma Masala
- Instant Pot Dal Makhani
- Pav Bhaji
- Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Sweet Potatoes
- Curried Cauliflower Soup
- Kerala Egg Roast (Mutta Curry)
- Aubergine Curry
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🎥 Watch How to Make It
Chickpea And Lentil Curry
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 2-3 green chilis finely diced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground garam masala
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3.5 ounces dried red lentils
- 15 ounce can chickpeas
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk can also use light coconut milk
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- juice 1 lemon
- 3 ounces baby spinach leaves
- Sauté the coconut oil and onion in a large pot for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and diced chili, sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric, cilantro and garam masala, continue to cook until spices are fragrant.
- Stir through the diced tomatoes, red lentils, and chick peas, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, stir until well combined.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stirring throughout the cooking time, you may want to add ¼ cup water if the sauce becomes too thick.
- When the lentils have cooked and sauce has thickened stir through the salt and pepper, lemon juice, and spinach.
- Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the leaves have wilted. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve with rice and naan bread.
- Adjust the heat of this by removing or adding additional green chili.
- This dish can be made ahead of time and gently reheated.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
- Canned brown lentils can be used instead of dried, if you make this substitution, reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes.