Indian Red Lentils

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

This lentil recipe is ready in a flash - in as little as 9 minutes! When you don't know what's for dinner, this lentil curry bean dish is a great healthy standby that is a great kid-friendly meal as well.

Our family loves curry.

Anything curry.

In fact, though we like experimenting with cuisine from all cultures, I would say that Indian is one of our favorites.

Now, before I go on, let me say that this lentil recipe isn't really curry – so don't run away if you are not a curry fan.

And soon I hope to post a dish that DOES feature curry seasoning.  And it is for sure my most requested recipe EVER.

Most Indian food, however, can be quite time consuming.  So when I can get the taste of Indian spices in a fast, one pot meal, then I have the best of both worlds.

‘Cause these days, who has a lot of time to spend in the kitchen on elaborate steps?  I have other things that need to be done.

Like photo albums (please don't ask how many years behind I am.  I need to start a support group for moms with empty photo albums :-).)  Care to join me?

Anyhow, back to the recipe.

This recipe is adapted from a dish simply called “Red Lentils” by Southern Living.

It's a pretty “Blah” name for a great dish.

It's quick on its own, but really lickety-split in my pressure cooker.  If you don't have one of these yet, put it on your Christmas list now.

I know, I should get better at planning meals, but it sure is nice to not have any idea what you are going to have for dinner at 5:30 and have dinner on the table at 6:15.

And it can be done — without packages —

In 9 minutes in the pressure cooker.


Mom is happy and my family is happy too because they aren't having popcorn, carrot sticks, and hard-boiled eggs (or sardines for my egg-allergic son) again because mom forgot to plan :-).  (Did I mention that we never eat out and we don't buy processed foods :-)?)

Here are some other of my super fast recipes that are “go to's” when I don't have much time.

Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets
Pakistani Curry – my most requested recipe
Super Savory Hummus
Fast & Yummy Bean Dip
GF Chili Mac (and other super fast meals)

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Ways to Serve

  1. RiceThis dish tastes great served over rice (which, by the way, I can cook in 20 minutes flat in my pressure cooker.  Woo-hoo!)  I always use brown rice due to its higher nutritive qualities (UPDATE: 5/16 – we sometimes eat white rice since there is now a concern about arsenic in brown rice.

Mostly we have actually greatly reduced grains so we serve this alone or with veggies or cauliflower rice.)

2. Pasta

It would be fabulous over gluten-free pasta or spiralized veggie noodles too.

3.  Add Ins

Next time I plan to add seasoned chicken pieces to this dish.  Specifically, I think that sauteing small chunks of chicken in coconut oil and my Homemade All-Purpose Seasoning would be a wonderful addition.

My Chat Masala spice mix tastes great on this.  We have this on our table at all times and put it on everything. Except – ahem – desserts :-).

4. Dip

You could also puree this and serve it as a dip for chips, veggies, or this Focaccia Flax Bread.

Oh – and if you are like us and you just LOVE curry dishes, see my recipe for Sweet Curry Powder – DIY – it is real winner and great money saver!


Indian Red Lentils

This Indian Lentil Recipe is ready in a flash (as little as 9 minutes!) & is kid friendly too!


  • 3-4 Tbsp coconut oil or other healthy fat. Nature's Way is one good brand.
  • 1 onion, diced (or ~ 2 Tbsp. minced plus a bit of water to reconstitute)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (see my tip on The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic)
  • 28 oz (3 1/2 cups) chicken broth (see notes* for a great place to buy it. Vegetable broth is also fine - see my Homemade Vegetable Broth Mix recipe)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (of course, fresh is fine also)
  • 2 1/2 cups red, brown, or green lentils, rinsed (you can use any kind of lentils (see notes**). The glycemic index of the reds is a bit higher so brown is a better choice if you're watching carb intake. And make sure that you read my post on How to De-Gas Beans. It's a must!)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional. I left it out due to my youngest not liking spicy foods)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I pulled mine out from my freezer. See myEasiest Way to Preserve Herbs.
  • You may also substitute 2-3 Tbsp dried basil)
  • Salt to taste (I recommend Real Salt and use about 2 tsp)


  1. Melt oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Saute 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
  3. Add broth and next 5 ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. (Red lentils will cook quicker than brown or green.) If using a pressure cooker, bring to a boil.
  6. Place the lid on the cooker and bring up to high pressure. Cook for 9 minutes on high [you may need a few more minutes since the tomatoes counteract the cooking of the lentils slightly.
  7. Conversely, you could add the tomatoes after cooking the beans and then let the resulting dish cook for a bit].
  8. Let pressure come down naturally. Remove lid carefully.)
  9. Stir in basil and salt to taste.


*Here is a great place to buy bone broth.
**The lentils in the photo are red lentils.  Isn't it interesting how they turn yellow when cooked?


Wonderful, fast, savory Indian cuisine in no time!

Do you have a favorite go-to dish when you forgot to plan dinner?

Please share for all of us sometimes-scattered moms!

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Question, you cook it for 30 mins on the stove AND then 9 in the pressure cooker? Was confused if I do both. Thanks!

  2. Hi how can chicken be added to this recipe???

  3. I have been on the search for a good lentil recipe. I have bags of them but never know what to do with them! I know this is a lot to ask-but could you suggest an alternative to the tomatoes? I try to avoid nightshades as much as possible.

    • You could leave them out or just add some carrots or zucchini. Really, whatever veggie you like could work – enjoy! I have another good recipe I hope to share as well!

  4. I only have green lentils in the house and need something quick? Can I use the green ones or will it taste weird? Thank you!

  5. Mary Ellen says:

    Because of different schedules everyone eats at different times. Can this be done in crock-pot?

  6. This is DELICIOUS! And it makes so much. Problem is, it’s only me eating it. Have you ever tried freezing it? Don’t think I can eat it fast enough, unless I eat it for every meal! Never tried to freeze a lentil dish. Would be great if I could freeze little 1/2 pint jars for lunches at work (like I do with soup.)

  7. I too just made it and I am eating it. The red lentils probably turn yellow because of the Tumeric. Tumeric turns everything yellow (grin). I love it. I love it even more with Chat Masala – the Adrienne Wonder Spice.

    • Thanks for the new name for the Chat Masala – I’ll be sharing that with my family today! Actually, the red lentils turn yellow no matter what. Not sure why. I tried to find out but my internet search isn’t turning up anything. Take care!!

  8. Just made it! And loved it!

  9. This is on my stove right now and the apartment smells so good! I wouldn’t blame the neighbors if they invited themselves over for dinner.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by to share! I am so glad you enjoyed it! Wish I were there to come by. We had a thrown together dinner on a busy evening :-).

  10. Forgot to mention, I found you through the Not Your Ordinary Recipes link up.

  11. I think I’m in love. With this recipe. With this blog. With you for providing such helpful detail! I’m on a newly, heavily restricted diet, so it is a real relief to find you!

    • Thanks for your kind words! What are your new restrictions? I saw your blog and didn’t see any restrictions mentioned so I was wondering what your dietary needs are.

      • Oh, gosh. It’s easier to tell you what I CAN eat. Good quality protein (eggs, legumes, bison, lamb, fish, chicken, turkey – free range, organic, etc), low-glycemic fruits and vegetables with some exceptions, and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil). No dairy, no grains, no sugar, nothing fermented, no nightshade vegetables, nothing processed, ideally nothing frozen or canned… the list goes on and on.

        • I know how you feel. With the exception of the grains and nightshades and the frozen foods, we are in the same boat. What kind of professional diagnosed you with this? And would you mind sharing the reason for the frozen foods being not allowed? I assume nuts and seeds are OK, right? Have you been using stevia?

          • It’s part of a detox/cleanse regime. Some, but not all, of these foods will come back, such as grains, but likely excluding gluten. The idea behind not using frozen foods (and also not using canned foods) has to do with food becoming depleted of its ‘life force’ when frozen or canned. I’m not supposed to eat leftovers either! (Can’t quite manage that with kids!) The doc is a medical doc trained in Eastern medicine as well, mainly Ayurveda. Nuts and seeds are okay. I can use stevia. Eventually honey will likely be okay in small amounts. I have used agave nectar and brown rice syrup in the past.

          • I see. I know this all is a path, but when you are feeling up to another option, check out this website. This is who I am working with. From what I can tell, very effective detox. You can, if you like, share on the comments, or send me an email, and let me know what you are struggling with. I am shocked in the difference in me in 10 months. (I get nothing from referrals. I am just hoping to help others).

          • Adrienne, do you mean THIS website, or were your referring to another web site? Thanks for offering to help. I really appreciate it.

          • I didn’t realize that the link didn’t show up without text to link it to. Here it is: Theresa Vernon – Chronic Fatigue / Nutritional Balancing. I can forward more info if you’d like. I should really do a post on this soon. But I really need to pace myself with all of this.

          • Thanks Adrienne. I’ll take a look at the info on her site!

          • You’re welcome. The site doesn’t cover all I’d like to share, but it’s a starting point. She really is a sharp “cookie” (pun intended – from your site :-)).

  12. I love Indian flavors too, and these look really good! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with Sunday Night Soup Night. I’ll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I’d love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe!

  13. We loved this and used Quinoa instead of rice. Oh So yummy.

  14. Hi, visiting from Ultimate Recipe Swap. This looks and sounds wonderful. Going to go dig out my lentils now. Thanks

  15. This looks really good…. I love lentils, but not a big fan of curry. I love using coconut oil for dishes like this. It gives it the extra flavor I love.