It’s no secret—I love lentils. Why? They’re delicious, packed with protein and nutrients, inexpensive, super versatile, easy to cook, and an environmentally friendly crop. Seeing as it’s been a while since I shared my last lentil recipe, I thought it high time to post another one of my favorites—Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils.
Although this dish is inspired by flavors from India and Thailand, don’t let its international flair scare you away. Thanks to the help of ingredients that are available at most grocery stores and your slow cooker, it’s super easy to prepare. And since you control the amount of curry and cayenne pepper added, you can make this meal as spicy or mild as you like!
So if you’re looking for a way to warm up your dinnertime menu, try something new and make my delicious Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils! I promise, they’re the perfect marriage of flavor, nutrition, and ease!
- 4 cups brown lentils
- 1 15.25 ounce can of red kidney beans (about 1½ cups cooked beans)
- 2 onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil (optional)
- 4 ounces red curry paste (about 10 tablespoons—more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1½ teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 2 cans tomato puree (15 ounces each)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
- 6-8 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- ½ cup milk, cream, or coconut milk
- foolproof brown rice for serving
- sour cream
- Rinse the dry lentils and check for any debris or stones then add to 6-quart slow cooker.
- Add kidney beans, onions, garlic, ginger, butter, curry paste, spices, maple syrup, and tomatoes (puree and diced tomatoes). Add 6-8 cups of water. I prefer a thicker dish so I use about 6 cups. You can always add more water later to thin the lentils to your desired consistency.
- Stir to combine making sure the lentils are covered with liquid. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Lentils will be soft when fully cooked.
- Stir in cream and then make any final adjustments to the flavor with added salt, pepper, or cayenne pepper.
- Serve over brown rice and garnish to taste.
This recipe serves a crowd. So, if you're not looking to serve as many or you don't have a 6-quart slow cooker. Divide the ingredients in half adjusting as needed. It's a super flexible recipe so don't worry too much if you have a little too much of one thing or not enough of another.
Although not necessary, for extra flavor saute the onions, garlic, ginger, and curry paste in the butter/coconut oil before adding it to the slow cooker. A quick way to help the aromatics bloom before adding them to your slow cooker is to microwave them (onions, garlic, ginger, and curry paste) stirring occasionally until the onions soften (about 3-5 minutes). Then proceed with the recipe instructions.
Kitchen Resources and Tips:
- While you can make your own red curry paste, I usually buy a jar instead. Although not organic, Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste is available at most grocery stores and has a simple, clean label: red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger), salt, shallot, spices, kaffir lime. If you’re looking for an organic option, try Lumlum’s.
- This classic Crock-Pot Slow Cooker with a cook and carry option is so cool. If you’re like me and have experienced the unfortunate spill in the car when bringing a slow cooker dish over to friends, then this Crock-Pot is a true lifesaver!
- A great kitchen ladle is a must for serving up this red curry lentils recipe. I recently realized the ladle I had been using was old and made of plastic … which got me wondering if there might be BPA in it. So I decided it was time to replace the old one with something that I didn’t have to worry about, like this stainless steel ladle from ChefLand.
- A non-slip cutting board is an invaluable kitchen asset when chopping onions. I upgraded to these Epicurean non-slip boards almost two years ago, and I’ve been really pleased with them.