Jumping head first into November with a Creamy Lentil Curry recipe that will warm you from the inside out! This lentil bowl is easy to make and topped with caramelized butternut squash which makes it the perfect November meal.
This is definitely one of those recipes that you will be excited to make again the very second it’s gone. Like many soups and stews, it actually gets better the second and even third day, so it is wonderful for leftover or to meal prep ahead of time for easy, healthy lunches. The curry powder, ginger and turmeric provide such bold, sweet and earthy flavors that you will want to add a spoonful of this stew on everything from roasted veggies, to rice, to greens.
What do I need to make this Creamy Lentil Curry?
- Curry Powder: This ground spice blend is a mixture of turmeric, chili powder, coriander, cumin, ginger and pepper.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves: These dried or frozen leaves have a spiced, bright citrus flavor that is a lot lighter than a bay leaf and perfect for brightening curries. You can find kaffir lime leaves at most spice stores, online, or at many asian food stores.
- Note: If you do not have kaffir lime leaves, you may substitute 1 1/2 tsp of lemon/lime zest for each lime leaf.
- Whole Cumin: Whole cumin provides much bolder bursts of flavor when you bite into the individual seed, compared to ground, so I like to use a combination of both.
- Ground Cumin
- Red Lentils: Lentils are small legumes that are full of protein, fiber, and minerals. There are many types of lentils but red or yellow are best for this recipe as they have the shortest cook time.
- Coconut Milk: Canned, full fat coconut milk will achieve the creamiest and most flavorful result in this recipe.
- Tomato Paste
- Chili Garlic Sauce
How to serve this Creamy Lentil Curry:
These creamy lentils are amazing on their own, but pair beautifully alongside basmati rice or massaged kale. I love to top them with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, fresh cilantro, sliced cucumber, and my favorite addition: roasted butternut squash. The sweet and caramelized flavor of the squash pairs wonderfully with the spiced, earthy, bold lentils and brings a lovely seasonal aspect for fall. You can mix the roasted squash into the lentils after cooking, or place on top when serving.
How to roast Butternut Squash:
Butternut squash has to be one of my favorite varieties of winter squash. Its sweet taste and creamy texture are delicious in so many different recipes. This wonderful taste is greatly enhanced after being roasted in a 400 degree oven. The edges become caramelized and the inside of each cube is tender, creamy and sweet. It can oftentimes seem daunting to peel and cube a large, firm squash, so don’t shy away from pre-cubed, store bought options, but for a step by step guide (with photos) of how to peel and prep your own, follow my tutorial here.
Can these lentils be made ahead of time?
YES! I actually RECOMMEND making it ahead of time as it actually gets better after 24-48 hours! After a day or two, the flavors and spices are married together for a bold and complete harmonious flavor. This means it’s perfect to make for meal prep! Make a big batch on Sunday and you will be enjoying delicious, warm curry all week long. Store each ingredient separately in airtight glass containers.
Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cubed
- 1 TBSP avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- 1 TBSP coconut oil or vegan butter
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 TBSP curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne optional, for extra spice
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 1/2 C red lentils
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 28 oz water
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 14 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1 TBSP chili garlic sauce
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1/2 C cilantro, finely chopped
- massaged lacinto kale
- pumpkin seeds
- cucumber, sliced
- fresh cilantro
- basmati rice
- naan bread
- Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Spread cubed squash on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Coat evenly. Place in oven and roast for 30-40 minutes until golden.
- Warm a large dutch oven or pot over medium low heat. Melt butter or oil.
- Add in onion and sauté until fragrant. Add in garlic, ginger and seasonings. Sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Stir in tomato paste and lentils to combine.
- Pour in tomatoes and water and add in lime leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once your lentils have thickened, add in coconut milk, chili garlic sauce, shredded carrot and cilantro. Gently simmer for 5 more minutes. Season to taste.
- Serve hot over massaged kale and/or rice topped with roasted squash, fresh cilantro, and pumpkin seeds.