Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry


“The fresh tasting flavours of this Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry will surely have you coming back for more!”

Mung bean and spinach curry in a bowl with a garnish of spinach leaves.

Looking for a fresh tasting and delicately spiced Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry recipe? Then I think I have exactly what you’re looking for! Stewed in a spiced coconut paste, this curry brings out the sweet nuttiness of the green lentils and the earthiness of the spinach. 

The freshly grated coconut and spinach gives this green lentil curry a natural earthy flavour that is both light and satisfying. It is a perfect accompaniment to rice and sits well alongside other side dishes.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup green gram lentils (mung beans), rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water (for boiling the green gram lentils)
  • 150g spinach, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli, slit lengthways and deseeded
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup water (for the coconut paste)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly

(* 1 Tsp = 5ml, 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml)


How to make Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry

1. Rinse the green gram lentils several times under cold running water until the water runs clear. Then drain with a sieve and add the green gram lentils to a heavy bottomed pot along with water and turmeric powder. 


2. Cover with a lid and allow the green gram lentils to simmer gently over a medium-low flame for around 30-40 minutes, or until they have fully cooked and doubled in size. The lentils should be soft but still retain their shape. If all the water has evaporated before the lentils have properly cooked, simply add another cup of water.


3. Next add the spinach and cover with a lid once more. The steam created will wilt the spinach by half within 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off when you have reached this point.


4. Into a blender, add freshly grated coconut, cumin seeds, green chilli, a garlic clove, a shallot, water and grind into a smooth paste. 


5. Turn the flame back on and add the blended paste to the cooked green gram lentils. Stir to incorporate well and simmer the curry over a medium flame for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.


6. Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium flame. Once the oil has warmed, add the mustard seeds, and within 10 – 30 seconds the seeds should begin to splutter. Next add the sliced shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots take on a caramelised colour. 


7. Finally, pour the tempered ingredients into the curry and sprinkle in some flaked sea salt. Stir well and cover with a lid until the vegan green lentil and spinach curry is ready to serve.


Tips for making the prefect bowl

Coconut paste – For this recipe I’ve used frozen freshly grated coconut. If you decide to do the same, you must ensure the frozen grated coconut has properly defrosted. Otherwise the oils from the coconut will remain solid and won’t emulsify into the paste, making the paste chunky.

Salting the dish – Do not under any circumstance salt your green gram lentils until after they have cooked through. Salting too early will prevent the legumes from reaching their peak tenderness. Stir in some flaked sea salt towards the end and they will still absorb perfectly.

The curry should have a medium thick consistency – However, adjust the simmering time to achieve the consistency you prefer. If it is still too thick, add enough water to loosen it up slightly.


What spinach do I use?

For this recipe, I have used a fully grown english spinach. If you aren’t able to access this, feel free to use young spinach instead. This is spinach that has been harvested fairly early in the plants growth, usually between 15-35 days. This is what is widely sold in most supermarkets.

If you do use young spinach, it is important that you add the spinach only after you have added and cooked the coconut paste as instructed. Adding it in the order described in the recipe will overcook the young tender spinach, which only needs a minute or two towards the end of the cooking process.


Preparing the green gram lentils

Before you start cooking, check the dry green gram lentils for any unwanted debris by gently moving the beans around. Once you are satisfied that there are none left, rinse the lentils under cold running water between 1 to 2 times until the water runs clear.


Cooking the green gram lentils

To cook the lentils perfectly, allow the pot to come to a rapid simmer and then reduce the heat to a point where the pot gently bubbles away for 30-40 minutes. For this recipe, you are aiming for a slight firmness to its shape and texture. 

This is because you will still be adding the coconut paste and simmering everything for another 5 minutes. If you’re unsure if it’s cooked, spoon out a morsel and carefully press between your thumb and index finger.


Tempering your Green Lentil and Spinach Curry

If you’re not familiar with tempering, it is simply the process of frying key spices or aromatics in oil and pouring them over a curry. This process adds another layer of complexity to the curry, imparting a fragrant nutty aroma from the heated coconut oil and mustard seeds as well a sweetness from the caramelised onions. 

It is a simple way to elevate the flavour of the vegan green lentil and spinach curry. The trick with tempering is getting the oil hot enough, but not till it’s smoking. So keep your heat at a medium flame, about 350°F/180 °C. This will ensure your spices don’t burn in the oil. 


Ideas for accompanying dishes

Want some inspiration for dishes you could have alongside this Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry? Why not check out some of these other recipes? They would make a great accompaniment to this dish!

Keralan Chicken Curry

Dry Fried Coconut Lamb Curry

Fried Cabbage (Cabbage Thoran)

Light Indian Lamb Stew

Indian Fish Cakes


How best to enjoy your curry

This hearty curry will work well alongside other non-vegetarian or vegetarian curries. It can be poured over, roti, paratha or rice. If you want to add another layer of heartiness, enjoy this curry with some brown rice. Alternatively, you could just have the curry on its own! As it is delicately spiced, it is perfect by itself and can be enjoyed as a soup.


Storing Suggestions

You can refrigerate your Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry in an airtight container and it will keep well for 4 to 5 days. Similarly, if you’re thinking of freezing the curry, it will keep well for up to 3 months.


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Green Lentil and Spinach Curry in a bowl

Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry

The fresh tasting flavours of this vegan green lentil and spinach curry will surely have you coming back for more!
AuthorGeorge Alexander
PREP TIME10 minutes
COOK TIME40 minutes
TOTAL TIME50 minutes
Servings4 (servings)
CourseMain Course Side Dish Soup
CuisineGluten-Free Healthy Indian Lentils & Legumes Vegan
KeywordCoconut Lentil Curry Green Lentil Curry Vegan Lentil Curry
Calories296 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green gram lentils (mung beans) (rinsed)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water (for boiling the green gram lentils)
  • 150 g spinach (chopped roughly)

THE COCONUT PASTE

  • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli (slit lengthways and deseeded)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup water

TEMPERING

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 shallot (sliced thinly)

Instructions

  • Rinse the green gram lentils several times under cold running water until the water runs clear. Then drain with a sieve and add the green gram lentils to a heavy bottomed pot along with water and turmeric powder.
  • Cover with a lid and allow the green gram lentils to simmer gently over a medium-low flame for around 30-40 minutes, or until they have fully cooked and doubled in size. The lentils should be soft but still retain their shape. If all the water has evaporated before the lentils have properly cooked, simply add another cup of water.
  • Next add the spinach and cover with a lid once more. The steam created will wilt the spinach by half within 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off when you have reached this point.
  • Into a blender add freshly grated coconut, cumin seeds, green chilli, a garlic clove, a shallot, water and grind into a smooth paste.
  • Turn the flame back on and add the blended paste to the cooked green gram lentils. Stir to incorporate well and simmer the curry over a medium flame for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.
  • Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium flame. Once the oil has warmed, add the mustard seeds, and within 10 – 30 seconds the seeds should begin to splutter. Next add the sliced shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots take on a caramelised colour. 
  • Finally, pour the tempered ingredients into the curry and sprinkle in some flaked sea salt. Stir well and cover with a lid until the vegan green lentil and spinach curry is ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 296kcal (15%) Carbohydrates: 45g (15%) Protein: 15g (30%) Fat: 7g (11%) Saturated Fat: 6g (38%) Sodium: 55mg (2%) Potassium: 1025mg (29%) Fiber: 11g (46%) Sugar: 8g (9%) Vitamin A: 72IU (1%) Vitamin C: 49mg (59%) Calcium: 17mg (2%) Iron: 29mg (161%)

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #pestleandspiceuk.

If you love this Vegan Green Lentil and Spinach Curry recipe, why don’t you check out our other vegetarian recipes? Like this delicious Roasted Pumpkin Curry Soup.

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