Warm and savory, this Slow-Cooked Lentil Curry is a welcome lunch or dinner entrée any time of year. Preparing it in an Instant Pot or another multi-cooker saves time and energy. If using a traditional Crock Pot with a ceramic bowl, complete step 1 on the stovetop in a sauté pan, then transfer the contents to the crock pot and continue with the recipe.

Extra curried lentils refrigerate or freeze very well. They are great to have ready on busy days! Portion them into smaller quantities, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and gently reheat when ready to use.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use fresh spices for the best flavor and allow them to “bloom” as directed in step 1 for about 30 seconds to infuse maximum flavor.
  • Adding the coconut milk near the end of the cooking time gently heats it and adds the creamiest flavor to the dish.

Note: Cooking times vary depending on the type, brand, and model of cooker. Experiment and make notes regarding your specific appliance.


Makes: approximately 10 cups of curried lentils


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or ginger paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional; to taste)
1 can (28 ounces) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups dried brown lentils
1 cup frozen peas, or peas and carrots
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Serving Ideas:
Cooked brown basmati rice
Fresh pita bread
Make it a Bowl (directions follow)



  1. Add the oil to the pot of the Instant Pot or Multi-Cooker. Use the “brown” or “sauté” function to heat the oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft and lightly browned. Turn off the heat to the pot, and add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne (if using). Stir to combine with the onions and allow the spices to “bloom” from the residual heat.

Note: If cooking the onions on a stovetop, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onions, and sauté them until soft and lightly browned. Lower the heat to medium-low, then add the spices, stir to combine, and “bloom” them for 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to the crock pot bowl.

  1. Pour the tomatoes, broth, and lentils into the pot and stir to combine. Cover and set to
  • BEANS (or Manual)
  • LOW heat setting
  • TIME – 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours (time varies by brand and model)
  • Set the valve on the top of the cover to STEAM (rather than “pressure”).
  1. Check the lentils after 6 1/2 hours. They should be soft and tender, and the mixture should be thick with most of the liquid absorbed. If the lentils are not tender, continue to cook them for another 30 – 60 minutes.
  2. Add the peas (or peas and carrots), coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook on LOW for another 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off the cooker and serve as desired – such as spooning over cooked brown rice, alongside fresh pita bread, or as a bowl (below).


Divide and arrange the following ingredients in each bowl:

  • a scoop of cooked whole grain
  • handful of chopped fresh or sautéed greens (such as spinach, kale, chard, or collards)
  • 1 cup of curried lentils
  • sprinkling of chopped nuts or seeds (such as cashews, pistachios, almonds, or pumpkin seeds)
  • sprinkling of chopped cilantro or thin slices green onions

YUM! Enjoy!


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