This easy vegan pumpkin lentil curry will nourish your body and warm your soul. Made with coconut milk for a luscious texture and perfect over rice, this meal is ready in 30 minutes!
I’m back with one more pumpkin recipe! And maybe I will move on. This vegan Pumpkin Lentil Curry is ready in less than 30 minutes and couldn’t be easier to make. Plus, this recipe is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover pumpkin.
How to make an easy lentil curry
For this recipe, you’ll need canned pumpkin (or cooked pumpkin puree), dry red lentils, coconut milk, and your favorite curry paste or spice mix plus plenty of aromatics like onions and garlic.
No. It’s not the prettiest recipe but it’s one of the tastiest. I’ve cooked it twice in the last month, and I’m making it again today as part of my Sunday meal prep.
A note about coconut milk
This curry includes coconut milk and vegetable broth. The coconut milk adds subtle sweetness along with a luxurious, creamy texture.
And yes. I used regular canned coconut milk. If you find it to be too thick or the coconut flavor too heavy, you can try using just half a can of coconut milk. In this case, you’ll replace the other half with broth.
NOTE: Canned light coconut milk is the same thing. You literally pay for half a can of water. So yeah. Skip that and add your own water.
That said, I cannot vouch for the flavor if you cut the coconut milk in half. I haven’t tested it. I love this curry just as is. But please let me know if you change it up in the comments.This easy Vegan Pumpkin Lentil Curry is perfect for fall and ready in less than 30 minutes!
The best lentils for curry
Enough about coconut milk. The lentils cook fast. Unlike other pulses, you can cook lentils from start to finish (no soaking) in under 20 minutes. Red lentils, in particular, cook really fast and will become mushy after about 15 minutes.
For a heartier, more stew-like finish, try brown or green lentils. These hold up a little longer to the heat.
Black lentils are even more firm and work great for salads, grain bowls, and meal prep.
Like any stew or curry, this pumpkin lentil curry starts with plenty of aromatics. Sauté the onion in plenty of olive oil then add garlic and curry paste. Cook until the paste blends in with the mixture.
Make it spicier with fresh habanero or other hot peppers, crushed red chili flakes, or just a bit more curry paste. Keep in mind that most curry pastes have added salt so you’ll need to adjust that accordingly.
Once the onions, garlic, and curry are well combined and fragrant, add the broth, coconut milk, pumpkin, and lentils. Cover and cook. Walk away for a bit but stir occasionally.
It’s not the prettiest dish. Because of that and to help add extra nutrition and some crunch, I stirred in baby spinach and topped the curry with cashews and cilantro.
You can opt out of these and enjoy it as is in all of its orange-brown glory! Make it your own by adding your favorite toppings and serving as is or with rice, cauliflower, or quinoa!
Is this a good meal prep recipe?
This pumpkin lentil curry will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days but it also freezes very well. Freeze any extras on the first day in a freezer-safe glass container or freezer bag. I hope you love it as much as I do! Tag me on Instagram when you make it and be sure to PIN it for later!
Can this curry be made in the slow cooker?
I don’t recommend it. Because red lentils cook so fast, they might melt into more of soup texture in the slow cooker. It will be a tasty soup but somewhat different than this recipe.
Plus, I like being able to saute the onion in the pot before adding the other ingredients. This delivers extra flavor for this simple recipe.
More easy pumpkin recipes
Remember to try out these other easy pumpkin recipes:
Healthy Pumpkin Spice Granola to make your house immediately smell like fall!
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Toasted Walnuts and Spinach which makes a delicious fall dinner!
Pumpkin Banana Bread that’s made with gluten-free with oats and no regular flour.
Pumpkin Lentil Curry with Spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup red lentils (dry)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ¼ - ½ cup toasted salted cashews (optional)
- fresh cilantro (optional)
- Heat oil in a deep skillet or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook about 2 minutes, just until it starts to turn golden. Stir in the garlic and curry paste and cook about 1 minute, until the curry paste is fully incorporated.
- Stir in the broth, coconut milk, pumpkin, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and cook on medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until the lentils are cooked but not too soft. Stir occasionally. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- During the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, add 2 cups of baby spinach – allowing it to wilt into the curry.
- Serve over rice, quinoa, cauliflower or your favorite base. If desired, add chopped roasted cashews and cilantro to the top for color, flavor, and crunch.