Heart Healthy Red Lentil Curry Recipe

By Kelly Love |

Heart Healthy Red Lentil Curry Recipe

Red lentils are the legume/bean that nourishes the heart! 

Ingredients – All Organic

  • 1 package red lentils – Approximately 5 cups or 2 pounds in a bag. An entire red lentil package fits well into a large Instant Pot. The soup freezes nicely, so making a larger amount saves time in the future. Cut down recipe if needed. Also works with all other types of lentils - green, brown, black, etc.
  • Sautéing options
    • Water sauté – add about an inch of water or choose oil below
    • 1-2 T. Refined organic olive oil – best for cooking/baking – smoke point is 450 degrees.
    • 1-2 T. Coconut oil
    • 1-2 T Ghee (in glass container) 
  • 1- 2 onions – chopped
  • 1 - 2 small shallot — finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 
  • 2 tablespoons minced or crushed garlic — about 6 cloves 
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 – 2 packages mushrooms - chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoon organic curry powder 
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper — use more for more hot spice flavor or omit if desired 
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns
  • 1 strip kombu 
  • 1 can light coconut milk — (14 ounces) optional
  • Water to cover beans plus 2 inches (after adding beans to the Instant Pot)
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 Tablespoon salt (if use the entire bag of lentils)-  DO NOT ADD SALT TO ANY BEAN DISH UNTIL AFTER BEANS ARE COOKED AND FULLY SOFT.  Note -  Lentils cook fast in an Instant Pot  -  about 20 minutes, then let pressure reduce naturally (or if in a hurry release the steam manually). Then add salt and cook 30 minutes more for maximum digestibility
  • When serving, add 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice — about 1/2 large lemon - 
  • For Garnish  - add when serving
    • Thinly sliced scallions – specifically nourishes the heart
    • Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley 


  • Rinse and drain the lentils
  • Soak in water with 1 T. lemon juice to cover the beans plus a few inches to allow for expansion during soaking Soak at least 8 hours to 24 hours. See “Optimize Bean Preparation for Maximum Digestibility”. 
  • Drain beans into a colander and rinse well
  • When ready to cook
    • Sauté options – 
      • To the Instant Pot add 
        • Water  – just add about an inch of water to the Instant Pot and proceed as below or add one of the following oils.
        • 1-2 T. Organic refined olive oil
        • 1-2 T. Coconut Oil
        • 1-2 T. Ghee
    • Once water or the oil has been added, set the Instant Pot to sauté. 
      • Add the shallot, onions, ginger, and garlic. 
      • Cook, stirring often, until very fragrant and the shallot/onions are soft, about 4-5  minutes. 
      • Add the curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and stir well. Stand back and try not to breath in any of the steam coming from the pot (it’s spicy!). (Instant Pot sauté cycle is around 10 – 15 minutes.)  Stir and make sure it is not burning.  Add water if needed.
      • Add celery and mushrooms and complete the Sauté cycle. Add water if needed. The Instant Pot is still open. 
  • Add the lentils, strip of kombu, coconut milk, and water to cover plus a couple of inches. Stir to coat the lentils completely with the liquid.
  • Set Instant Pot on Beans/Chili for 20 minutes. (It will take about 8 minutes for the pressure to build, then the timer will begin.) Once the timer has stopped, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent to release the pressure completely. Open the lid and add salt and a couple more cups of water if needed.
  • Cook 30 minutes more on slow cook.
  • When ready to serve:
    • Stir in the lemon juice. 
    • Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. 
    • If the curry is too thick, add a bit more water to loosen as needed. 
    • Add scallions or parsley or cilantro as garnish.
    • Serve soup alone or with potatoes or rice, as suggested below. 

Recipe Notes

  • The red lentils will become completely creamy and smooth.  This soup can be eaten thick, or water can be added to the consistency desired – both are delicious.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
  • Freezes for 2 to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. The lentils thicken as they cool, so to reheat, add water, vegetable stock, chicken stock, or coconut milk, then rewarm, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn when reheating.
  • Serving Options:
    • Serve as is with your meal.
    • Add Potatoes to the soup
      • Chop red or Youpon potatoes (not russet)  into bite sized chunks.  
      • Bring to a boil in salted water.
      • Reduce heat and cook until potatoes are soft. Usually just 10 – 15 minutes.
      • Add potatoes to the lentil soup to create a warming soothing winter soup.
      • Option -  Cool potatoes thoroughly to create resistant starch, add to lentil soup and heat.
    • Cooked basmati or brown rice
      • For mixing with the soup or serving with the dinner.
      • Also may be prepared ahead of time and cooled and then added to the soup for resistant starch.

A Family Favorite 

In conclusion, this red lentil curry recipe is so good and always on rotation in our house! It's simple to prep and a really great meal for the whole family with so many nutrients.

Kelly Love

Kelly Love

Kelly is proof that switching to a pure, natural lifestyle is powerful even for those who consider themselves healthy. She’s experienced how much our everyday choices impact our quality of life and is passionate about helping others see and feel the connection. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband and two daughters.