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Indian Vegetables with Coconut Lentils is a flavorful one pan vegan meal with a rainbow of vegetables in creamy red lentil sauce. It’s a high protein easy vegan meal.

It’s cold and I’m in the mood for some spicy, hearty food to warm me up. This recipe contains the warming spices, ginger, garlic, turmeric and curry. It’s a highly nutritious satisfying dish. The sauce is made with red lentils and coconut milk, full of protein and healthy fats. The perfect cold weather meal.

This recipe was originally published in 2015. I retested, rephotographed and updated the content. Now I am republishing it for you today! I hope you enjoy. Thank you for following Eat Well Enjoy Life!

Why I Like Lentils

After years of eating a paleo diet I’ve decided to incorporate more vegan main dishes into my diet. I believe eating less meat and more vegan foods is good for the planet. My desire is to be able to eat more varieties of healthy foods.

I’m starting with lentils. They are small and easier to digest that the larger beans. The red lentils in this recipe cook in only 20 minutes.

Lentils are widely used throughout India, Pakistan, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Growers first raised lentils in the Middle East in 8,000 B.C. Greeks considered the them a poor man’s food while Egyptians regarded lentils as royal fare. The lentil came to the Americas in the early 16th century. During World War II people began to use it as a low-cost, high-protein meat substitute.

In India red lentils or Moong Dhal is often served to babies as their first solid food.

Lentils are high in protein making them a great protein source on a vegan/vegetarian diet. They also contain folate, Vitamin B, dietary fiber and minerals and are one of the best vegetable sources for iron.

Lentils have plenty of fiber. It can lower cholesterol and helps keep your blood sugar stable. Fiber pushes waste through your digestive system and prevents constipation.

What is Curry Powder

Curry powder is a mixture of spices. It is not a staple ingredient in Indian cooking. Curry powder was created by the British to evoke the essence of Indian food and is not used in authentic Indian cooking. There are many varieties of curry powder, some spicy, others mild. In this recipe I use a very mild Madras Curry Powder. Choose any curry powder you like.

Vegetables For This Recipe

The vegetables in this dish are alkalizing and packed with nutrients.  I use sweet potatoes, cauliflower, string beans and zucchini but you can substitute whatever is in you refrigerator. You don’t need as many varieties.

Sweet potatoes give the dish a satisfying texture and a rich sweet taste. I highly recommend using them. White potatoes would also be good.

String beans have a nice crunchy texture and mild grassy flavor. You could substitute asparagus or peas.

Cauliflower is a staple in Indian cuisine. It’s mild flavor takes on the tastes of the sauce or spices it’s cooked in. Broccoli can be substituted.

Zucchini is slightly sweet with silky texture. It is optional.

Tips for Making Indian Vegetables with Coconut Lentils

  • Don’t let the vegetables overcook, they taste better when just tender. They will continue to cook even after you take the pan off the heat.
  • Add the sweet potatoes first, they need enough time to get soft. 10-15 minutes. Cut them into 3/4 – 1 inch chunks.
  • Add the string beans next, they take a little longer to cook than the cauliflower.
  • Add the zucchini last, it only needs 2-3 minutes to cook.
  • Be sure to cover your pan when the lentils and sweet potatoes are cooking. It helps them cook evenly and prevents the sauce from getting dry.

STORAGE TIP: Since you’re only using 1/2 cup of coconut milk, freeze the rest. Canned coconut milk spoils quickly, so pour whatever you don’t use into ice cube trays. I like these trays. The large cubes hold 1/4 – 1/3 cup. It’s great for freezing coconut milk and broth. I take out 1 or 2 cubes for a recipe. Once frozen, you can pop them out and store in a freezer bag.

These Indian Vegetables with Coconut Lentils are hearty and satisfying, perfectly spiced, coconutty, and incredibly delicious.

They are wonderful for an easy, healthy dinner or lunch. Leftovers are delicious the next day. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water to thin it out.

They are prefect alone or can be serve with rice or quinoa. You could even use them as a filling for a wrap.

If you like this recipe please give it some stars or leave a comment.

You may also like these other delicious, nutritious, satisfing vegan meals:

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Indian Vegetables with Coconut Lentils

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Ingrid DeHart –
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


A flavorful one pan vegan meal with a rainbow of vegetable in creamy lentil sauce.  High in protein.


  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Madras curry powder or organic curry powder
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sweet potato, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups string beans, cut into 1 ½” lengths (1/2 pound)
  • 3/4 cup zucchini, cut into 3/4” cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, more to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Lime wedges for garnish


  1. Melt ghee or oil in a large sauté pan.
  2. Add onions, saute on medium low for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic and ginger, sauté stirring occasionally, 1 minute.
  4. Add, curry powder and turmeric.  Sauté, stirring until spices are fragrant, 30 seconds.
  5. Add the lentils and water, bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  6. Add sweet potatoes, COVER and simmer on medium/low 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are almost tender. Stir occasionally.
  7. Add string beans and salt. Stir and cook 3 minutes.
  8. Add cauliflower, cook 2 minutes more.
  9. Add zucchini, cook 2 minutes until vegetables are tender but not soft.
  10. Turn off the heat. Stir in coconut milk.  Add lime juice. 
  11. Taste to adjust salt and lime juice.
  12. Serve topped with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.


Change up the vegetables according to what is in your refrigerator but keep the sweet potatoes for rich texture and sweet taste.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish, Indian
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free,


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