Treat yourself to this creamy Chickpea and Lentil Curry for dinner tonight! This comforting recipe is quick and easy to make with basic ingredients (great for weeknights), and full of delicious, crave-worthy Thai flavors!
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Do you ever get sick of cooking? Yes, I do too, even though it's my job (lol). Instead of ordering take out, at times like these I rely my favorite fast and easy recipes ... like this Chickpea Lentil Curry.
This recipe actually started as a bit of a desperation meal! I was trying to use up a can of garbanzo beans and bag of red lentils, and I decided to turn these basic pantry staples into a red coconut curry.
Lentils and chickpeas might sound like an unlikely combo, but I loved this dish's Thai-inspired flavors so much, that I've ended up making it over and over again. And once you try it, you're going to be making this recipe on repeat, too!
This quick curry is super tasty and beyond easy to make. It makes throwing dinner together a total snap. You can have a complete meal—that tastes amazing!—on the table in about 30 minutes.
Ready to try this Lentil and Chickpea Curry recipe for yourself? Then, keep reading for all the delicious details!
This quick recipe uses ingredients you'll find in most grocery stores. Here's what you'll need:
- Chickpeas - Canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) work great for this recipe. They're one of my favorite ingredients, because they're so affordable and versatile.
- Lentils - You'll want to use Dried Red Lentils for this recipe. As the lentils cook, they break down and thicken the stew. Yellow lentils will also work great.
- Veggies - This recipe uses a combo of delicious, easy to find veggies: onions, carrots, and grape tomatoes.
- Curry Paste - I used Red Curry Paste to make this recipe, but you can substitute Green Curry Paste, if you prefer. It works just as well, although it will give the curry a different flavor profile. To enhance the sauce, you'll also add some brown sugar and fresh garlic. The brown sugar is optional, but it adds a touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the salty, spicy, and sour flavors typically found in Thai food.
- Coconut Milk - A can of coconut milk gives this recipe a creamy texture and classic coconut curry flavor. Use full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest results, and avoid coconut cream (which is sweetened).
- Vegetable Broth - This recipe is simmered in a combo of coconut milk and vegetable broth. I make mine from bouillon cubes or Better Than Bouillon.
- Cilantro + Lime - A little cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime are tasty finishing touches that brings out all the other flavors.
While not a traditional recipe, this Chickpea and Red Lentil Curry was inspired by the flavors of a classic Thai curry. Coconut milk and curry paste are a fun and easy way to liven up the flavors of these simple pantry staples!
This tasty curry is naturally vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free! Serve it whenever you need a fast meatless dinner, or make it ahead of time for meal prep.
Curry paste is mixture of fresh and dried ingredients, such as chilies, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, shallots, lime leaves, and other spices. It's commonly used in Thai cooking and often pared with coconut milk.
Here in the U.S., Thai Kitchen seems to be the most common brand found in grocery stores, so that's what I used. This brand of chili paste is fairly mild, which is why I used a whole jar (about ½ cup of paste). The resulting curry is also pretty mild.
Tip: If you use a different curry paste, make sure to taste it first! Other brands may be spicier, so you may need to cut back to two or three tablespoons or so. Use your judgement ... you can always add more, if needed.
You'll Also Need
You'll also need a large skillet with a lid to make this chickpeas and lentils recipe. I have this Calphalon Frying Pan, and it's perfect ... I use it for everything from veggie burgers to stir fries! Don't have a pan with a lid? Cover the skillet with a piece of aluminum foil instead.
How to Make Chickpea and Lentil Curry
This recipe couldn't be easier to make! You'll find a detailed recipe below, but here's an overview of the step:
- Sauté veggies. You'll begin by sautéing the onions and carrots in a little oil. Once the veggies start to soften, add the garlic and cook it just until it starts smelling fragrant. It should only take about 30 seconds or so.
- Mix in curry paste. Add the curry paste and brown sugar, stirring until the veggies are coated, then continue cooking for about a minute. As you sauté the curry paste, you'll wake up all the delicious flavors.
- Add the chickpeas, lentils, broth, coconut milk, and tomatoes. Stir everything together well, then increase the heat and bring the curry to a boil. Once the curry boils, reduce the heat to a simmer. Then, cover the pan with a lid, leaving a small crack. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the curry has thickened and the lentils are tender.
- Season to taste. Before serving, stir in fresh cilantro and season to taste with salt. (If you can't stand cilantro, use flat leaf parsley instead.) Make sure to give the stew a really good stir, too ... this will break down the lentils even more, making the finished dish thicker and creamier. Yum!
All righty, it's time to dig in! You won't believe the mouthwatering flavors in this vibrant Lentil and Chickpea Curry.
Tip: The finished curry will be fairly thick. If it gets too thick while cooking though and starts sticking, just add splash of broth or coconut milk to thin things out a bit.
You can add even more flavor to this Chickpea and Lentil Curry by stirring in some fresh ginger (add it along with the garlic), or you can spice things up with hot peppers. Feel free to mix in some spinach at the very end, too, if you'd like to add extra veggies.
This easy Chickpea Lentil Curry recipe is a meal in a bowl! You can enjoy it on its own, but it's even better served over rice (fragrant jasmine rice is especially tasty here) topped with a sprinkle of cilantro and a lime wedge.
This recipe is very hearty, and will serve about four to six people (depending on appetite size). If you'd like to round out the meal a bit more though, try serving it with a simple salad (like this Garden Salad or this Green Salad), sautéed veggies or greens, or a cucumber salad.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container, and they will stay fresh for three to four days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to three months.
If you enjoyed this easy recipe, make sure check out these other curries next!
- Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Spinach
- Easy Pumpkin Curry
- Slow Cooker Vegetable Curry
- Roasted Carrot Soup
- Curry Corn Chowder
- Chickpea Potato Curry
- Quinoa Chickpea Burgers
- Curry Veggie, Quinoa, and Chickpea Stir Fry
- Curry Shortbread Cookies
Need more quick dinner ideas? Don't miss my roundup of 30 Minute Vegetarian Meals ... you'll find everything from pizza to pasta, sandwiches, and so much more!
Chickpea and Lentil Curry
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil (such as canola or vegetable)
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (4-ounce) jar red curry paste (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (use full fat for best results)
- ½ pint grapes tomatoes, halved (about 1 cup)
- kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (plus more for serving)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- cooked rice, for serving
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; season lightly with salt. Cook until onions are starting to become tender, stirring occasionally (about 7 to 10 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly (about 30 seconds).
- Mix in curry paste and brown sugar (if using) to coat veggies, then continue cooking for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Stir in chickpeas, lentils, broth, coconut milk, and grape tomatoes, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover pan with lid, leaving a small crack open. Simmer until lentils are tender and starting to break down, stirring occasionally (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Remove pan from heat, then stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt.
- Serve curry over rice, topped with a sprinkle of cilantro and a lime wedge. Enjoy!