Lentil Spinach Coconut Curry

A nourishing lentil spinach and coconut curry that comes together quickly and is packed full of indian flavour.

Lentil Spinach Coconut Curry- Emma's Little Kitchen

Hey y’all (<— texas is rubbing off on me), thanks for giving me a much needed break the last few weeks! We are still getting settled in our new home, but so far we are enjoying the South. Today I am bringing you another delicious “go-to” curry.

Lentil Spinach Coconut Curry- Emma's Little Kitchen

My first versionΒ is actually the most popular recipe on Emma’s Little Kitchen to date, a fact that really surprised me! I almost didn’t post it because it felt too simple, or not “special” enough (I make it ALLLLL the time!). Turns out, thats exactly what you lot are after, so I’m following your cues!

Lentil Spinach Coconut Curry- Emma's Little Kitchen

There’s a few reasons why I think my original go-to curry is so successful, and many are replicated in this recipe.

Quick– SOOOO important for our family now! Having a five month old means no more long or laborious meals. I imagine this will only become more true as James becomes older, more mobile, or we throw a sibling or too into the mix (yikes!). Even before the babe came along, I was always looking for speedy weeknight meals so I could fit my marathon training in around my 50+ hour a week desk job. This curry is perfect because its FAST and also…

Freezable– One of the easiest ways to stick to a healthy whole foods diet is to double all of your meals and freeze half, we do it all the time and it really helps us to stay on track (98.5% of the time!). This curry freezes very well, and I find it actually improves a little with age (bonus!).

Store Cupboard Ingredients– This recipe calls for many non-perishable ingredients- lentils, coconut milk, and spices. I prefer to use fresh spinach, but frozen could easily be substituted if its all you have to hand. Onions and garlic always last so long in my fridge I almost count them as non-perishable. This means you can russell up a delicious curry whenever the mood strikes or inspiration fails.

Budget Friendly– Admittedly coconut milk can be a relatively expensive item, but lentils, onions and spinach are cheap as chips! I reckon this meal would still cost a couple of pounds or dollars per serving.

Delicious– Lets face it, Indian Food is the bomb shmickety.

So there you have it, my “Go-to” Curry Part II.

Lentil Spinach Coconut Curry- Emma's Little KitchenEnjoy!

Lentil Spinach Coconut Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A nourishing lentil spinach and coconut curry that comes together quickly and is packed full of indian flavour.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tin coconut milk (14 fl oz)
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander (optional)
  • salt to taste
  1. In a large lidded pan or skillet, heat olive oil over a medium heat and add onions. Saute until softened, about 4-5 mins. Add Garlic and ginger, and cook for a minute longer
  2. Add the curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper to the pan and give everything a good stir so the onions are coated in the spices
  3. Next, add the lentils, coconut milk, water (or stock), and cover. Gently simmer for about 20 minutes stirring frequently (I find that my lentils stick to the bottom of the pan otherwise). If the mixture looks dry at any point, stir in a few more splashes of water
  4. After 20 mins, fold in the spinach and cook for a minute or two more until the spinach wilts. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan
  5. Finally add lemon juice and coriander if using, and adjust the seasonings to taste
  6. Serve with rice or naan




  1. Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen says:

    You know, I always feel a little hesitant to post simple recipes too – but you’re right that people seem to prefer them! I think most people are looking for inspiration when it comes to quick weeknight meals. I love how this is freezer-friendly and based on pantry ingredients, too. I am a huge fan of Indian food (I just had some for dinner!) and definitely want to try this out. The addition of spinach is genius and adds such a lovely pop of color. So glad to hear the move has gone well!

    • Emma says:

      Thank you Brie! Yes, lentils aren’t always the most attractive ingredient, but I love them!

  2. Colette says:

    I made this for dinner tonight as part of my whole food challenge, easy to make and delicious to eat!

  3. Tony says:

    Hi Emma….random question and do the judge me…lol….lentils, fresh or tinned. I’m really useless in the kitchen fyi

    • Emma says:

      Hi Tony! No judgement!! The recipe calls for dried lentils, if tinned is all you have you would need to reduce the cooking time, and reduce the liquid (I would take out all the stock and just use coconut). I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Dacia says:

    Hello Emma! Thanks for this quick and delicious recipe! With a 4-month old at home, we are always on the lookout for quick and delicious foods. Instead of lemon juice, I cut a half of lemon into small pieces (rind included, so it’s best to use organic lemon!) and added it at around 10 minutes into the cooking time. I also doubled the cayenne pepper to give it a little more bite.

    • Emma says:

      You are so welcome Dacia! I have never added lemon to a curry that way, I shall have to try! Sounds like it would really ramp up the flavour. I know, babies are cute but they can really cramp your style in the kitchen… I’m looking forward to the days when my bub can do the dishes, I’m playing the long game πŸ˜‰

  5. lauren says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. My three daughters gobbled it up — score! Healthy, filling and inexpensive. Just found your blog. Will be making the pineapple sweet potato curry next. πŸ™‚

  6. Els says:

    Hi Emma,
    I am making quite a few things from your blog lately (apple cinnamon-crunch bars, gingerbread granola bars, blueberry muffin smoothie) and a few days ago I made this curry and instantly fell in love with it. I’ve lived in Nepal for almost 6 months and 4 months with a local family were I ate dhal bhaat (lentil soup, rice and some kind of curry –> spinach/saag was my favorite) twice a day. I still love it but making all the different dishes at home is quite a hassle and it never tastes the same as with the organic vegetables and spices from my nepalese ‘mother’.
    But this one resembles the dhal bhaat taste quite well! And the best thing: just one pan needed (and ok, 1 more for the rice). Whoohoo! πŸ™‚ Already told my boyfriend I would like to eat it for breakfast as well πŸ™‚
    Thank you!
    Tonight your lentil-tomato pasta will be on the menu.

    • Emma says:

      Els, thank you so much for dropping by to tell me this! I lived in Vietnam for a while and have been endlessly frustrated trying to recreate some of the delicious food I ate out there. I’m so happy that this curry resembled your favourite dish a little πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy the lentil pasta!! (Aren’t lentils the best?!) x

    • Emma says:

      Hi Tasnim! I typically use McCormicks Hot Madras Curry Powder, but any you have to hand will be delicious!

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi Emma,
    Really getting inspired by your gorgeous recipes at the moment. Made this scrummy curry last week which was delicious. Going to try the one skillet Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne tonight.
    Keep up the good work πŸ™‚
    Sarah x

  8. Yasmin says:

    This is such an amazing dish! I gave it to my very skeptical, meat loving hubby and he demolished it. I put in about 2 handfuls of spinach (just to use up what I had left) and chopped it finally, making it great for baby food so I could give it my 10 month old twins…who also devoured it. Thanks for adding ‘deliciousness’ to my day.

    • Emma says:

      Yasmin, thank you for your comment! I think my son was about 10 months old when he had this for the first time too πŸ™‚

    • Emma says:

      Hi Coby, if you are using red lentils you won’t need to soak them. Mine cook in 20 minutes, yes, but cook as long as you want to reach your desired consistency!

  9. Viv says:

    Hi Emma! Thanks so much for this recipe.l happened to have all the ingredients AND be on an economy drive so it was perfect. Deceptively easy to make and so quick and healthy. It was absolutely delicious. Both carnivore Husband and 3 year old loved it. A couple of notes that might be helpful for anyone looking to make it: I used split red lentils and your timings were perfect; I used Goodalls Medium Curry powder which actually had an expiry date of 2 years ago but it was absolutely fine; my sister suggested that at the onion stage one could also add in some carrot or celery etc which would up the veg content-I havent tried this though.
    I will definitely be making this again!

    • Emma says:

      Thank you so much Viv! My toddler loves this one too πŸ™‚ I love the idea of tossing in some more veg, I may try that myself!

  10. Teri says:

    Just made this dish – it is fantastic! Thank you, Emma! I used just a 1/4 cup of coconut milk to trim calories a bit but still retain the lovely creaminess. This is a keeper πŸ™‚

  11. Benedikt says:

    God, this was delicious! My girlfriend and I loved it. I didn’t have cumin, this is why I’ve used coriander instead. Thanks a lot for the recipe πŸ™‚

  12. Olivia says:

    Just made this, I was in need of a cozy study meal on a cold Sunday. It was super simple and the whole house smelled amazing!! I actually found it a bit bland, perhaps my curry powder is a bit old. But I topped it with fried mushrooms and a fresh avocado which gave it lots of flavour. I also think it would be really good with a poached egg on top. Great recipe, thanks so much! …So yummy!!

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