Home Recipe IndexMain DishesVegetarian Chickpea and Lentil Curry

Chickpea and Lentil Curry

This naturally vegan chickpea and lentil curry is a flavorful and healthy weeknight dinner that comes together quickly! 

Chickpea and lentil curry is all of the things we look for in a nutritious comforting meal: rich, creamy and wonderfully hearty! This flavorful curry also so happens to be my favorite meal for entertaining any vegan or vegetarian guests!

close up of curry mixed with rice

Recipe ingredients

This chickpea and lentil curry recipe relies on fresh produce and lots of spice to get the perfect balance of flavors.

ingredients for curry
  • Coconut oil: You can substitute the coconut oil for any other neutral oil.
  • Aromatics: Yellow onion, garlic and ginger are sauteed in oil to build depth and flavor.
  • Green chile: I usually use a jalapeno, as they are easiest to find where I live.
  • Spices: Coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and fenugreek make up our spice blend.
  • Roma tomatoes: The fresh tomatoes add a nice freshness and slight acidity to the curry.
  • Lentils: Green and brown lentils are the best variety for this curry.
  • Coconut milk: Use full-fat coconut milk for best results.
  • Chickpeas: I prefer canned (pre-cooked) chickpeas to make this recipe a breeze.
  • Kosher salt: Make sure to salt generously to balance the heat and maximize the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro adds such a nice fresh flavor to the curry. It’s one ingredient I never recommend skipping (unless you’re one of those who think cilantro tastes like soap, of coarse).

Step by step instructions

What makes chickpea and lentil curry a great weeknight dinner? It’s packed with flavor and can be made in five easy steps:

  1. Start with the aromatics. Saute the onion, garlic, ginger and green chile in a bit of oil until tender.
  2. Mix in all of your spices.
  3. Stir in the diced roma tomatoes.
  4. Add the lentils and 1.5 cups (350 ml) of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and chickpeas and cook until heated through.

Storage and reheating instructions

Leftover chickpea and lentil curry can be stored in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. The curry can also be frozen in a freezer safe container or ziplock bag for up to three months.

To reheat the curry, place it in a pot over low heat. Stir occasionally until warmed through. I generally also add an extra splash of broth or water to prevent the curry from becoming too dry or overly thick during reheating.

spice mix for curry

Expert tips and tricks

  • We use a total of six ground spices to get the perfect flavor: coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and fenugreek. Don’t worry if you’re missing a spice or two, you’ll definitely still be able to get great flavor by adding a bit more of the other spices or making a few substitutions. 
  • If your chickpea and lentil curry is tasting a little flat, try adding more salt. Adding enough salt is key to bringing out the full depth and richness of the other ingredients.
  • Use ripe and flavorful tomatoes for a rich base. If tomatoes aren’t in season, consider using canned tomatoes.

Recipe variations

Looking for a specific substitution or inspiration on how to make this chickpea lentil curry your own? Here are our favorite suggestions:

  • Switch up the spices. Garam masala, which is a blend of spices, makes a great substitute for the cumin or coriander. Additionally, paprika and cayenne can be subbed for any red chile powder (just be mindful of any differences in heat). And the fenugreek isn’t essential so feel free to skip it if you don’t have any on hand.
  • Mix in some greens. Our favorite way to round out this curry is to stir in fresh spinach or kale for the last five minutes of cooking.
  • Add vegetables: If you’re looking for other ways to sneak in your vegetables, diced red bell peppers (added with the onion) or chopped sweet potatoes or carrots would also make excellent additions!
bowl of curry with coconut milk swirl


How long does chickpea lentil curry keep?

This curry will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Can I freeze this curry?

Yes, this curry is freezer friendly and can be stored for up to three months. Let the curry cool completely and then store in a freezer safe container or ziplock bag.

How do I best reheat this dish?

We prefer to reheat the curry in a pot on the stovetop over low heat. Simply stir occasionally until warmed through. Alternatively, you can microwave the curry until heated through.

What should I serve with chickpea and lentil curry?

Our favorite way to serve this curry is with a side of rice or naan. If you’re looking to add some greens to your meal, we also suggest stirring in fresh kale or spinach for the last five minutes.

two plates of curry with rice

Loving this chickpea and lentil curry recipe? For more delicious vegetarian dinner inspiration, make sure to give these recipes a try!

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close up of curry mixed with rice

Chickpea and Lentil Curry Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Brit Kaputina
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 45 minutes
    • Category: Dinner
    • Method: Stovetop
    • Cuisine: Indian


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch (2.5 cm) ginger, minced
  • 1 small green chile, diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 2 small roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1.5 cups (350 ml) water
  • ½ cup (100 grams) green or brown lentils*, rinsed and picked through
  • 14-ounce (400 gram) can full fat coconut milk
  • 14-ounce (400 gram) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • kosher salt to taste
  • cilantro to garnish


  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent (approximately 10 minutes).
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and green chile and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the spices (coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and fenugreek). Continue to cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more.
  6. Pour in the water and add the lentils. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Add the coconut milk and chickpeas. Generously season with salt to taste and cook uncovered until lentils are tender and sauce has slightly thickened, about 7-10 minutes. Slightly increase heat if necessary.
  8. Garnish with cilantro if desired.


Lentils: Any variety of lentils that can be cooked in about 20-25 minutes will work for this recipe.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 459.81
  • Sugar: 5.61g
  • Sodium: 369.11mg
  • Fat: 30.87g
  • Saturated Fat: 24.79g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2.96g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.69g
  • Fiber: 13.19g
  • Protein: 14.46g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

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wonderfulcook December 19, 2022 - 8:41 pm

Another delish recipe to try! Sounds delicious and easy to make! I love anything to do with curry!

Brittney December 20, 2022 - 2:25 pm

Thank you! 🙂


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