My Instant Pot is one of my favorite kitchen tools – I use it on a weekly basis! It’s so handy for when I really just don’t have time to cook, and I have about 20 minutes while running around with the kids to throw some ingredients into the pot and then forget about it until it’s time to eat. And this Instant Pot Lentil and Cauliflower Curry is no exception.
Before I got my Instant Pot I really didn’t understand what all the hype was about — how was it THAT different from cooking on the stove? Let me tell you, it really is. The ability to “set and forget” is so priceless – I can’t say enough about it!
This delicious Indian lentil curry is a nutritious and flavorful vegetarian (and vegan, and gluten-free) dish that’s super easy and makes amazing leftovers. It also freezes really well and will last in the freezer for up to 6 months!
Another term for this curry that’s more commonly used in Indian cooking is “dal.”
What exactly is dal? It’s basically just a term that encompasses all cooked lentil dishes in India. Dal is actually both an ingredient and the name of a dish – it refers to both the dried split pea or lentil, AND the yummy spiced stew made from cooking the lentils until they’re soft and creamy.
I literally cook dal all the time because there are so many different variations you can make (different lentils, spice combinations, vegetable add-ins) and it’s a one-pot complete meal! Dal is a great way to “clean out your fridge” — because any vegetable will taste good in it. It’s also a super healthy but also kid friendly meal: both Layla and Ayan eat it with no complaints! We often eat it with brown rice, quinoa, sprouted wheat tortillas or naan (for a more indulgent side) – and sometimes serve it with Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt too.
If you have an Instant Pot already, this is a great recipe to try to get started with it (there’s no way you can mess it up!) And if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this on the stove as well — I’ve included instructions on how to do so in the recipe below. I hope you try this and love it as much as we do!
It will satisfy you and warm your soul – it’s really comfort, feel-good food!
Instant Pot Lentil and Cauliflower Curry
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- optional cayenne
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 1 16 oz Package of Trader Joe's Steamed Brown Lentils about 4/5 cup dry brown lentils
- 1 16 oz package frozen cauliflower
- 1 16 oz package frozen broccoli
- 6 cups water
- 1.5-2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro or green onions chopped for garnish
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode - normal heat.
- Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and ginger and saute 3-4 minutes until slightly caramelized
- Add the spices (cumin through mustard seeds; or cayenne if using) and saute another 1-2 minutes. Then hit the "cancel" button.
- Add the red lentils through coconut sugar. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid, and close the pressure valve. Press the 'Pressure Cook' button and make sure it's on high pressure. Set the timer to 20 minutes.
- Natural release, then open the Instant Pot and stir everything to combine. Top with cilantro or green onions before serving.
- Heat a large stock pot over medium heat on the stove.
- Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and ginger and saute 3-4 minutes until slightly caramelized.
- Add the spices (cumin through mustard seeds; or cayenne if using) and saute another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the red lentils through coconut sugar, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for up to 1 hour (stirring every 10 minutes or so) or until all of the lentils are completely cooked and the ingredients are combined.
- Top with cilantro or green onions before serving.