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Creamy Coconut Lentils half pot

Creamy Coconut Lentils

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4 -6


  • 1 tbsp oil for sauteeing I like coconut for this oil because it adds to the coconutty flavour
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 chilies minced (depending on spice preference)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced, crushed, or grated
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup canned crushed or strained tomatoes medium tomatoes OR 2 grated or finely chopped medium tomatoes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/4 cup red lentils rinsed
  • 1 can coconut milk light or full-fat, see note
  • 3/4 coconut milk can water


  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pot over medium heat
  • Add the onion and minced chili to the pot and stir. Cook until the onion beginning to soften and become translucent.
  • Add the garlic and ginger to the pan. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes or until the garlic is cooked and the onion is beginning to brown.
  • Stir in the spices and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and the salt, be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any flavourful brown bits.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. The tomatoes should darken and it should smell amazing.
  • Pour in the can of coconut milk, about 3/4 of a can of water, and the lentils. Stir to combine.
  • Turn up the heat to medium high to bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Simmer and stir occasionally for about 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have collapsed. They should not be al dente at all - red lentils should be VERY mushy. Don't worry, you can't really overcook red lentils.
  • Once the lentils are cooked if the mixture is too watery, uncover and simmer without the lid to allow some liquid to evaporate. If the mixture seems too dry (at any point during the cooking) you can add a bit more water.
  • Serve with rice and bread, garnish with a small sprinkling of unsweetened shredded coconut (optional).


If you grate your tomatoes on a regular grater you end up with a juicy puree of the flesh of the tomatoes but the skin is left magically behind. This works well for me because I have a grater with a built in container. If this seems too messy for you, you can also just puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender.
You can use lite or regular coconut milk. Both versions taste great - if you want your lentils to be extra creamy and decadent then use regular coconut milk.