Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Thai Green Lentil Curry

Thai Green Lentil Curry

Filled with herbs and spices from the curry paste, lentils, and colorful veggies, this vegetarian Thai green lentil curry recipe is a delicious and nutritious main dish.
thai green lentil curry with brown rice in a white bowl

This is a variation of our easy coconut curry base recipe. This Thai green lentil curry recipe is a quick and nutritious weeknight dinner. Lentils cook quickly and take on all of the delicious Thai curry flavors. Packed with colorful veggies and paired with a healthy whole grain, this recipe is nutritious and delicious!

Learn How to Make the Base Recipe

Three Must-Know Cooking Skills

For recipe success, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for Making the Best Green Lentil Curry Recipe 

Beware the spice level of the curry paste! Different brands vary greatly in heat level. You could taste the paste on its own, but that might light your mouth on fire! Start with less, then add more to your taste. You can mix in extra after all the coconut milk is added – just whisk well.

Canned coconut milk naturally separates and hardens in your pantry. Shake well before using.

For this recipe, don’t worry about being exactly precise with the veggie measurements. Just note that the more veggies you add, the less soupy the curry will be.

Slice veggies into similarly-sized pieces for even cooking.

Rinse the lentils with water in a fine mesh sieve or strainer before cooking to remove any dust or debris.

Rather than adding the lime juice and basil to the entire dish, you can also serve them on the side as optional garnishes.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk: use the canned variety – not the kind sold as a drink. You can substitute light coconut milk, but the curry won’t be as creamy.
  • Thai Curry Paste: use red, green, or panang; just remember to be careful with the spice level!
  • Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth: use homemade or store-bought. You can substitute low-sodium chicken broth or water in a pinch, but it’s not preferred.
  • Brown Sugar: substitute sugar in the raw for the most similar flavor. White sugar and coconut sugar can work too.
  • Fish Sauce: substitute low-sodium tamari, liquid aminos, or soy sauce for a vegan Thai coconut curry.
  • Dried Green Lentils: substitute a 15-ounce can of drained and rinsed green lentils, but reduce the broth to 1 cup, and reduce the cooking time to 8-10 minutes total. You can also substitute red split lentils, but will need to reduce the broth to 2 cups, and reduce the cook time to 20 minutes, allowing the lentils to cook for 10 minutes before adding the vegetables.
  • Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans: use any combination of hard, medium, and/or soft vegetables. Adjust cook time so that all vegetables come out crisp-tender. 
  • Thai Basil Leaves: substitute Italian basil or cilantro, but note that cilantro adds a different flavor. 
  • Lime: substitute bottled lime juice or lemon juice.

Thai Green Lentil Curry Recipe Variations

Add or change up the vegetables based on what you have at home or are craving! Make a green lentil curry with spinach or another leafy green to boost the nutrition even more.

Want more curry recipe inspiration?

Use our easy coconut curry base recipe as a guide to make it your own, or try out this favorite variation!

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!

Is this a Healthy Lentil Curry?

Yes! Filled with herbs and spices from the curry paste, lentils, and colorful veggies, this vegetarian Thai green lentil curry recipe is a delicious and nutritious main dish.

Thai Curry Paste

Thai curry paste contains chili peppers, garlic, galangal (or ginger), lemongrass, herbs, and spices. All of these flavorful ingredients are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and fight disease. Lemongrass even has antimicrobial properties!

Lentils

Lentils are a nutrient powerhouse! They are packed with plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight.

Colorful Veggies

Vegetables of all colors provide health benefits. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which supports healthy cells and immune health. Green beans are rich in vitamin C which also supports immune health, and folate which promotes healthy cell growth and function. Together, all of these and other nutrients promote a healthy body and mind!

Learn more about health benefits of different foods and ingredients or in our book, To Your Taste!

Curried Lentils Serving Suggestions

Serve curry over Jasmine brown rice, quinoa, or another whole grain to make a beautiful Whole Life Plate. Don’t forget to add garnishes for extra flavor, texture, and nutrition!

Storage Tips for Lentil Thai Curry

Cool curry completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To reheat, transfer to a microwave-safe dish and heat through in the microwave. 

Looking for more lentil recipes?

Try out these delicious recipes!

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers

Vegetarian Lentil Burgers

thai green lentil curry with brown rice in a white bowl

Thai Green Lentil Curry

This is a variation of our easy coconut curry base recipe. This Thai green lentil curry recipe is a quick and nutritious weeknight dinner. Lentils cook quickly and take on all of the delicious Thai curry flavors. Packed with colorful veggies and paired with a healthy whole grain, this recipe is nutritious and delicious!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 14- ounce can full-fat coconut milk, divided
  • 2-3 Tablespoons green or red Thai curry paste*
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce (sub tamari or soy sauce)
  • 1 cup dried green lentils**
  • ½ medium sweet potato, diced ½" (~1 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut in half
  • ¼ cup roughly torn Thai basil
  • 1 medium lime (~2 Tablespoons juice)

Instructions
 

  • In a 3-4 quart saucepan, bring ½ cup coconut milk to a boil. Add curry paste and stir. Continue cooking over medium high heat, stirring until thick and bubbling.
  • Add the remaining coconut milk, broth, sugar, fish sauce, and lentils. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer ~20 minutes. Then add sweet potato and green beans and continue to simmer, uncovered. Continue to cook until vegetables are crisp tender and lentils are cooked through, ~8-10 total minutes.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the Thai basil and lime juice. Serve over quinoa, brown rice, or Jasmine rice, and add toppings to taste. Enjoy!

Notes

*Different brands of curry paste greatly differ in spiciness level, so start with less, then adjust to taste.
 
**You can substitute one 15-ounce can of lentils for the dried. Be sure to drain and rinse them before adding to the curry. Add with the sweet potatoes and green beans and cook for ~8-10 minutes total (eliminate the 20 minute simmer time).
Keyword Thai Green Lentil Curry

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