This easy chickpea and lentil curry is packed with flavour. Made with just a few simple pantry staples this curry is a satisfying and comforting dish that will leave you with a happy belly and a smile on your face.
A good curry is a lovely thing, warming, filling and totally satisfying. This chickpea and lentil curry is all of those things and more! It's vegan, gluten-free and only takes about 30 minutes to make. This easy lentil chickpea curry is perfect for a weeknight dinner or great for a weekend when you want to ditch the takeaway.
This red lentil curry is packed with goodness, chickpeas, lentils, spinach and peppers! And because of all that protein, this curry is super satisfying and filling. Warmly spiced with a little kick of heat this really is packed with flavour.
Curries are a weekly occurrence in my house. Whether it's my aubergine and chickpea curry or my red lentil dahl, everyone in my family loves them. This chickpea and lentil curry is one of my favourites, not just because it tastes great but also because it's ready in no time and all I need are store cupboard ingredients!
🛒 What You'll Need
- Chickpeas - canned chickpeas are fine for this recipe but if you want to use dried chickpeas you can. Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans the Spanish term for chickpea, a compound of “garau” meaning “seed,” and “antzu” meaning “dry.
- Lentils - I use dry red lentils for this curry. They're a great budget-friendly ingredient so I always have a bag in the cupboard. You can also use other kinds of lentils, brown lentils or green lentils will also work really well.
- Spices - For this curry, I use a blend of spices which include ground cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes, chilli garam masala and ground coriander.
- Fresh Aromatics - you will also need fresh ginger and fresh garlic. I also add a handfull of fresh coriander to the finished dish.
- Vegetables - I add fresh baby spinach and green pepper to this curry. You could use frozen spinach if you need to just defrost it first. You will also need a can of diced tomatoes (chopped tomatoes).
- Stock - You will also need vegetable stock (vegetable broth). I make the stock using vegetable bouillon, but you can use stock cubes if you want. Make sure your vegetable stock is vegan if you want to keep this a vegan dish.
- Other ingredients - you will also need a lemon for lemon juice, olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
🔪 How To Make Chickpea and Lentil Curry
See the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredient list.
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion along with a small piece of salt and cook over medium heat until it's translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes, cook for a minute then add in the spices. Again, only cook those spices for a minute. Then add the chopped green pepper.
2. Next, add the chopped tomatoes to the curry. Stir in the vegetable stock and stir well. You can add the lemon juice in now.
3. Now, add the chickpeas and red lentils. Stir well. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir often!
4. Once the curry is nice and thick and the lentils are cooked remove the lid then stir in the spinach. Once the spinach is wilted the curry is ready.
👩🍳 Recipe Tips
- Sauté the spices: Take the time to heat your spices in the oil before adding other ingredients. This technique, known as blooming, helps to unlock the full potential of the spices, intensifying their flavours and ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the dish.
- Add a tangy element: Elevate the taste of your curry by incorporating a tangy element. Freshly squeezed lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can provide acidity that balances out the richness of the legumes and spices. Adjust the amount to suit your personal preference.
- Allow the flavours to meld: After bringing the curry to a simmer, let it cook for a little longer to allow the flavours to meld together. This allows the spices to penetrate the legumes, resulting in a more robust and flavorful dish. Remember to taste and adjust the seasonings as needed before serving.
🔄 Recipe Variations
- Add More Veggies: This is a great curry for sneaking in a few extra veggies! Sweet potatoes and butternut squash work really well in this curry. You could get another leafy green in there too by adding in some kale or collard greens!
- Spice it up: Want it hotter? Add more chilli pepper or add half a teaspoon of chilli powder. This curry does have a little kick but hey there's always room for more heat!
- Switch it up: You could switch the red lentils for precooked puy lentils, or black beans. And if you'd like a creamy curry add some coconut cream full-fat coconut milk.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
We love this with basmati rice or cauliflower rice, however, brown rice or quinoa are great too. It's also great with fresh chapati on the side it or vegan naan bread. If you fancy making this into a bit of a feast you could also serve some popadom with raita, lime pickle and chutney.
❓Storage / Freezing
- Storing Leftovers - If you have any curry leftover you can store it once cooled in an airthight conatiner and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Like all curries it will taste even btter the next day! Reheat it on the hb until piping hot. It may need a splash of water to loosen it up.
- Freezing Leftovers - This curry is great for freezing. I freeze this before I add the spinach. It will keep for up to a month in a labelled freezer friendly container. You could divide this up into portion sizes too if you like. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then reheat in a large pan once it is piping hot stir in the spinach.
🍴 More Tasty Vegan Curries
If you're looking for more tasty vegan curry ideas I have you covered. My Mushroom Curry with spinach and chickpeas is a reader favourite and one of the most popular curries on here! Another very popular curry is my Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry, this one is great for kids too. One of my favourites is this Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry, it's very easy to make and is perfect for a tasty weeknight dinner and great for making ahead too.
Chickpea and Lentil Curry - Vegan
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (210g) (1 ⅓ cups) finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic finely minced or put through a garlic press
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger, (½ tbsp) finely grated
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper chilli flakes or one green chilli pepper finely chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper (capsicum) pith and seeds removed then roughly chopped
- 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes (2 cups)
- 1 400g can of cooked chickpeas (1 ½ cups drained)
- 120 g red lentils (⅝ of a cup)
- 200 ml vegetable stock (1 ½cups) I made my stock with 1½ teaspoons of vegetable bouillon and 200 ml of boiling water.
- The juice of half a medium lemon (2 or 3 tbsp)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt divided into two parts
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 75 g spinach (2 cups)
- A small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion along with a small pinch of sea salt and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.Add the garlic, chilli pepper flakes and ginger, stir well and cook for a minute.Next add the spices, again stir well and cook for just a minute. Be careful not to burn the spices, as soon smell the spices they are done.
- Now add the green bell pepper, and stir into the spices.Next, pour in the chopped tomatoes, the vegetable stock, lemon juice, add the chickpeas and lentils. Add the salt and pepper then stir well.
- Bring the pan to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.Cook for about 15 minutes stirring often. Check the seasoning halfway through cooking.If the sauce is looking too dry add some water to it and continue simmering.Once the lentils are cooked and the sauce has thickened add the spinach to the pan, put the lid back on for about two minutes. Take the lid off, then stir in the wilted spinach.
- Serve immediately with rice, naan, some coriander (cilantro) leaves.
- Heat - If you are serving this to younger children you may want to reduce the heat slightly, I would omit the chilli pepper completely for young kids. If you want to increase the heat then you could add more chilli pepper.
- Batch Cooking - if you would like to batch cook this then there is a slider tool in the recipe card where you can increase the number of servings. This curry is really great for batch cooking.
- Nutritional Information - all nutritional information shared is an estimate based on third-party calculations. If calorie count and/or nutritional values are important to you, we recommend putting the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary depending on which brands were used. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for the best results.
*This recipe was first published on The Last Food Blog in March 2019. It has now been updated with new photos and more information.