Lentil chickpea curry is a popular vegetarian dish that is as nutritious as it is delicious. Hearty and flavorful, this dish is easy to make. It combines lentils and chickpeas with a blend of aromatic spices to create a filling and satisfying meal that will leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.
What to expect?
This lentil chickpea curry recipe delivers a mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures. The creamy sauce is rich and aromatic, with a perfect balance of sweetness and spice. The lentils and chickpeas add a satisfying chewiness to the dish, while the blend of spices which includes turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, and garam masala, give it a warm and earthy flavor.
The combination of spices used will create a delicious and complex flavor profile that is not overly spicy. If you prefer a spicier lentil curry, feel free to adjust the spice levels to your liking by adding more chili powder or cayenne pepper.
Here’s what sets this recipe apart:
- Flavorful and satisfying – This curry is both flavorful and satisfying, thanks to the combination of lentils, chickpeas, and a blend of aromatic spices. The resulting lentil chickpea curry is hearty, filling, and bursting with flavor.
- Quick and easy – This recipe is easy to make and requires only a handful of ingredients readily available in most kitchens. It can be prepared in under 30 minutes, making it a great option for busy weeknights.
- Versatile – This versatile recipe can be customized to suit your taste preferences. You can adjust the spice levels, add more vegetables, or swap out the lentils or chickpeas for other legumes.
For the best texture and flavor in this lentil chickpea curry recipe, we recommend using canned chickpeas and brown lentils. They provide a heartier and creamier base to the curry. And while the legumes are certainly delicious on their own, the real star of this recipe is the aromatic blend of warm spices and creamy coconut cream that come together to create a rich, flavorful sauce. Here are the other ingredients you’ll need to make this curry recipe sing.
- Chickpeas – we used canned
- Brown lentils – we used canned
- Full-fat coconut cream → Use a coconut milk product with more than 20% fat content like this one. This recipe will not be the same if you use the light coconut milk you can drink.
- Vegetable broth
- Coconut oil
- Tomato paste
- Ginger – freshly minced
- Spices: garam masala, ground cumin seeds, turmeric, curry powder, and hot chili powder or flakes
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Preparing the ingredients
- Begin by peeling and slicing the onion and chopping the garlic.
- Drain the canned chickpeas and lentils. If you use dry legumes, precook them in advance in boiling water. Add a bit of baking soda to accelerate the cooking time.
Making lentil chickpea curry
- Heat a frying pan or wok over medium heat and add coconut oil.
- Sauté the sliced onions for 4-5 minutes until they become translucent.
- Add chopped garlic and minced ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add all the spices, which includes garam masala, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, and chili flakes. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes until aromatic.
- Mix in the tomato paste and vegetable broth and stir well to combine.
- Pour in the full-fat canned coconut cream, stir well, and bring it to a boil.
- Finally, add the drained chickpeas and lentils, cover the pan with a lid, and let it simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- You can blend some lentils and chickpeas for a creamier texture before adding them to the curry. It is one of the 20 ways to thicken soup and sauces, including curries.
- Adjust the level of spiciness by increasing or decreasing the amount of chili powder or flakes according to your preference.
- When sautéing the onions, cook them slowly over low heat to release their natural sweetness and avoid burning them. This will add a sweet and savory flavor to the curry.
- Spices – This recipe uses a combination of garam masala, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, and chili flakes. You can adjust the spice levels to your liking by adding or reducing the number of chili flakes or omitting them altogether. You can also experiment with other spices such as coriander, paprika, or cinnamon.
- Coconut cream substitution – If you can’t find coconut cream, you can substitute it with almond milk, soy milk, or cashew milk. To reach the desired thick consistency, you need to add a bit of flour or starch.
- Vegetable additions – Feel free to add your favorite veggies to this lentil chickpea curry. Spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers work well in this dish.
- Garnish – Top the curry with some fresh cilantro or chopped nuts such as almonds or cashews for added texture and flavor.
- Grains: White rice and basmati rice are classic pairings for lentil chickpea curry, but there are many other options to choose from, like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or millet. Mix and match these grains for a unique blend of flavors and textures.
- Riced veggies: Cauliflower rice is a popular choice for the light, fluffy texture it adds to the meal. Sweet potato rice is another option that adds a subtle sweetness to the dish and pairs well with the warm spices in the curry.
- Noodles: If you’re in the mood for something different, try soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour. It is a great option to add a chewy texture.
- Toppings can add freshness and crunch to your lentil chickpea curry. Sliced green onion or scallions are a classic choice for adding a mild onion flavor and a bright green color to the dish. Sprouts are another option to add a delicate crunch and a fresh, earthy flavor. Fresh cilantro is a great way to add bright, citrusy flavor to the dish. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add some toasted nuts or seeds on top for an extra boost of texture and flavor.
Fridge: Store the curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
Reheating: To reheat, microwave the curry for 1-2 minutes or heat it on the stove over medium heat until hot. Add a splash of vegetable broth or water to thin out the curry if it thickens in the fridge.
Freezing: This curry freezes well, but the texture of the coconut milk may change slightly upon thawing. Store in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Thawing: To thaw the curry, transfer it from the freezer to the fridge and let it thaw overnight. Alternatively, you can microwave it on the defrost setting before reheating.
Yes, you can replace chickpeas with other beans like kidney beans, black beans, or navy beans. However, keep in mind that different beans have different cooking times and textures, which may affect the overall outcome of the dish. Our recipe uses chickpeas because they hold their shape well and have a slightly nutty flavor that goes well with the spices in the curry.
It has a rich, warm, and slightly spicy flavor from the combination of spices used in the recipe. The chickpeas also add a nutty and slightly creamy texture to the dish. However, the best way to find out what our version of lentil chickpea curry tastes like is to give it a try!
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Lentil Chickpea Curry
- 14 oz Chickpeas (canned)
- 14 oz Brown lentils (canned)
- 13.5 oz Full-fat coconut cream (canned)
- 1 cup Vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp Coconut oil
- 1 Onion (medium)
- 2 clove Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Ginger minced
- 1 Tbsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp Ground cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Curry powder
- ¼ tsp Hot chili powder or flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparing the ingredients
- Peel and slice the onion and chop the garlic.
- Peel and mince ginger. It is easy if you use a garlic press.
- Drain canned chickpeas and lentils.
Making the lentil chickpea curry
- Heat the frying pan or wok over medium heat and add the coconut oil. Add sliced onions and saute them for 4-5 minutes.
- Add chopped garlic, minced ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add all spices (garam masala, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, chili flakes). Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and vegetable broth and stir well.
- Add full-fat coconut milk (canned, shaken). Stir well. Bring it to a boil.
- Add drained chickpeas and lentils. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Grains like steamed, cooked, or fried white rice, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, or a combination of them.
- Riced veggies like cauliflower rice or sweet potato rice
- Noodles like soba aka buckwheat noodles. If you need to eat gluten-free, please choose gluten-free noodles as soba noodles may contain wheat flour which is not gluten-free.
- Toppings like sliced green onion or scallions or sprouts, or fresh cilantro.