Curried Lentil Bowl
This curried lentil bowl features steamed kale, roasted vegetables and delicious garlic and turmeric coconut curried lentils. This hearty, plant-based bowl is lovely served warm in the Fall and Winter months but can also be served cold as a healthy, filling salad.
The curried lentils are easy to make. The lentils get cooked as usual by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil, adding 1 cup of uncooked red lentils, covering and simmering until tender. This takes 10-15 minutes for red lentils.
Once the lentils are cooked, you’ll mix in turmeric, cumin, curry powder, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Not only will you enjoy all the nutrients from the lentils but the turmeric adds a boost of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
I’ve also made this recipe with green lentils. If you’d like to use green, simply increase the cooking time by about 10 minutes.
How to Prepare Kale
There are a couple different ways you can prepare the kale for this recipe. Before proceeding with the preparation methods below, give the kale a good wash, tear the leaves away from the stems and cut the kale into bite-sized pieces.
If you prefer to keep the kale raw, I would recommend massaging it with just a tiny bit of olive, avocado or flax oil. This helps to soften the kale, improve digestibility and reduce any bitterness. For about 4 heaping cups of kale, use just 1/2 tsp of oil. Use you hands to massage the kale until it becomes soft.
To steam kale, add a couple inches of water to a saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce to a light simmer. Place a steamer basket in the pan and add the chopped kale. Cover and steam for 5-6 minutes until it reaches your desired doneness. For more detailed instructions on steaming kale, click here.
This is how I usually make kale for recipes like this. It’s not really sautéed kale so much as kale lightly cooked in a splash of water. I use this method because I’m lazy and it’s easier than steaming kale with a steaming basket.
I just add the chopped kale to a skillet with a few splashes of water and cook for a few minutes until wilted. It’s quick, easy, oil-free and prevents overcooking the kale. You wanted the kale just slightly softened which only takes a couple minutes, so keep an eye on it.
You could use oil instead of water if you wanted for truly sautéed kale but I just use water in a pan for a quick and easy alternative to steaming.
How to Roast Vegetables
Roasting any veggie is super easy. Chop, season, throw on a pan and roast away. I shared some handy veggie roasting tips here if you want to read more.
Oil or Oil-Free Roasted Vegetables?
Roasting vegetables with or without oil comes out about the same in my opinion. I actually prefer oil-free roasting vegetables because I find they don’t get soggy.
To roast oil-free, I’d recommend lining your pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat but other than that, just chop and roast. I will say oil-free roasted veggies come out on the dryer side, especially sweet potatoes and carrots. To prevent this, you can toss with a bit of vegetable broth before roasting.
If you don’t mind a bit of oil, toss all the veggies with 1/2 tsp olive oil to prevent them from drying out. That’s a negligible amount of oil once you divide the veggies into 4 servings so it’s up to you if you’d like to use some or not.
What Vegetables to Use
For this recipe, I used carrot, sweet potato, onion and zucchini but bell peppers, snap peas, cabbage, parsnips, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli and potatoes all work as well.
Some vegetables, such as zucchini and bell peppers, cooked quicker than starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots. How to get around this? I just roast everything together because I don’t really care if the zucchini is a bit overdone but if you want everything to be roasted just right, you can either stagger the cooking times or steam non-starchy veggies first so they cook as quickly as the non-starchy veggies.
Quick Cooking Time
These vegetables roast in 15-25 minutes.
- bell pepper
Longer Cooking Time
These vegetables roast in 25-45 minutes.
- sweet potato
- brussel sprouts
For this recipe, I roasted everything on silicone mat-lined baking sheets for 40 minutes at 425.
Curried Lentil Bowl Recipe
This cozy lentil bowl is full of nutrition and easy to make with just a few plant-based ingredients. It’s well balanced with protein from the lentils, unrefined carbs from the veggies and lentils and healthy fats from the tahini. It’s just delicious as is but if you want to adjust it, I’ve included some recipe addition and substitution ideas below.
Recipe Substitutions and Additions
- add pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or sunflower seeds for extra fats and texture
- use any vegetables you like for roasting: sweet potato, potato, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, garlic, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrot mushroom etc.
More Lentil Recipes
- Roasted Vegetable Lentil Salad
- Vegan Lentil Kale Salad
- Vegan Lentil Tacos
- Vegan Lentil Taco Salad
- Lentil Marinara Bowls
For the Curried Lentils
- 1 cup uncooked red lentils
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the Bowls
- 4 carrots, approx. 2 heaping cups
- 1 white onion, spiced, approx. 2 cups
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato, chopped, approx. 2 heaping cups
- salt and pepper
- 8 handfuls de-stemmed and chopped kale, approx. 8 cups
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Chop all the veggies and place on 2 silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking trays in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.
- While the veggies are roasting, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once boiling, add the red lentils, reduce heat to low, cover and lightly simmer for 12-15 minutes until the lentils are tender. Leave the pot on the element but turn the heat off. Stir in the coconut milk and spices and let sit to thicken until the veggies are done.
- Prepare the kale by tearing the leaves away from the thick stems and then chopping into bite-sized pieces. Add all the kale to a large skillet with a few splashes of water and cook for 5-6 minutes until dark green and softened.
- Divide the roasted veggies, curried lentils and kale into 4 servings. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Keywords: curried lentil bowl, healthy, plant-based, oil-free, easy