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Quick Red Lentil Coconut Curry (Stove and InstantPot)

Quick Red Lentil Coconut Curry (Stove and InstantPot)

20 MIN

Tender and creamy in under 15 minutes, red lentils are the ultimate weeknight legume. I love them in any type of curry, especially paired with coconut milk. Aside from chopping cilantro, this recipe requires zero prep. Using red curry paste saves you the hassle of measuring out multiple spices and chopping garlic and ginger.

Nutrition Notes

There is a whole lot to love about red lentils. In addition to being a good source of plant-based protein (18 grams per cooked cup), lentils are heart-healthy thanks to fiber (1 cup cooked provides more than half of your needs), folate, potassium and magnesium.

  • 13.5-oz can lite unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups water 
  • 14.5-oz can fired roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup red curry paste (recommend: Thai Kitchen*)
  • 2 cups uncooked red lentils 
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
  • 5 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon 
  • Cooked rice 

*Jar says “hot” but this dish does not end up spicy. 


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the first 4 ingredients (coconut milk through curry paste). Once it comes to a simmer, stir in lentils and salt to taste. Return to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until lentils are cooked to your liking. The longer you cook them, the more they fall apart and become creamy (which is how we like to eat them). 

Check for seasoning, then stir in spinach until it wilts (1-2 minutes). Stir in cilantro and lemon. Serve over hot cooked rice. 

How to Make Quick Red Lentil Coconut Curry in the InstantPot

Combine coconut milk through salt in the InstantPot. Cover and adjust vent to seal. Select manual, then set to high pressure for 4 minutes. It will take approximately 15 minutes to come to pressure. When it beeps, quick release the pressure and remove the lid. Follow the remaining instructions as listed above. 

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