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Instant Pot Lentil Curry

Just had to tell you about this awesome Instant Pot Lentil Curry I tried. You know how we love finding those no-fuss, yummy recipes? This is totally one of them. It’s all about tossing everything in the Instant Pot and letting it do its magic. 

lentil soup instant pot

You’ll love how the spices just meld together with the lentils, creating this rich, comforting dish that’s perfect for any day of the week.

And getting it all done in the Instant Pot means we have more time to chill and catch up. Honestly, it’s so easy, I bet we could make it while we’re binge-watching our favorite show.

I mean, who knew that a bunch of lentils and some spices could turn into something so delicious? And the best part is, it’s super healthy too. We’re talking full-on flavor without any of the guilt. Plus, it’s a great way to impress anyone without looking like you tried too hard. Win-win, right?

lentil recipe instant pot
  • Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with protein, fiber, and minerals. 
  • It’s a great recipe for anyone looking to explore curry recipes without overwhelming complexity.
  • This curry offers a warm, satisfying meal that’s perfect for chilly nights or when you’re in need of a comforting dish.
  • Whether you’re strictly vegan or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this fits the bill.
  • Lentils are one of the most cost-effective ingredients out there, making this curry not just delicious and nutritious but also easy on the wallet.
  • Cooking lentils traditionally can be time-consuming, but with this Instant Pot recipe, you have a delicious meal in a fraction of the time.

For 2 people

red lentil instant pot
  • 1 cup Red lentils
  • 2 cup Vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized  Red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup Carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Paprika 
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin 
  • A pinch of Chili powder *Optional
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (taste and see if need more)
  • 1 tsp Minced Ginger
  • 2 cups Tomato puree (Passata)
  • 1/2 cup Water 
pressure cooker for lentils

1. Add the lentils with vegetable broth in the instant pot and stir, press pressure cooker mode for 7 minutes

2. In a separate frying pan,  heat the oil and sauté diced onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger in a frying pan.

4. Once the diced onions and carrots are slightly softened. Add dried spices (curry powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and salt), and mix them well.

4. Add sautéed vegetables, tomato puree, and water to the instant pot, and mix well with the red lentils.  Cook them in the pressure cook mode for 5 minutes. Once the red lentils are soft and tender, season and taste to see if more salt and pepper are needed. Enjoy.

lentil in pressure cooker

🍲 Green lentils or brown lentils – Experiment with different varieties of lentils. While red lentils break down to create a smoother curry, green or brown lentils, French green lentils (Puy lentils), or yellow lentils will offer a chunkier texture. Remember, cooking lentils in the instant pot might require slight adjustments in cook time depending on the type.

🍲 Coconut milk – For a creamier texture, stir in some coconut milk towards the end of cooking. It adds a lovely richness and balances the spices well.

🍲 Garam masala or cumin seeds – Don’t shy away from using garam masala or cumin seeds for an authentic Indian flavor. These spices can be added along with the curry powder to deepen the dish’s flavor profile.

🍲 Lemon juice or fresh cilantro – Brighten up your dish before serving with a squeeze of lemon juice or a handful of fresh cilantro. It adds a fresh, zesty finish that really makes the flavors pop.

🍲 Basmati rice, naan bread, or cauliflower rice – Serve your curry with a side of basmati rice, naan bread, or for a low-carb option, cauliflower rice. Each offers a unique complement to the curry’s flavors.

🍲 Adjusting for texture – If you prefer your red lentils with a bit more bite, reduce the cooking time by a few minutes. Cook for 5 minutes for a firmer texture, especially if you’re planning on reheating as leftover soup later, as lentils continue to cook a bit in their residual heat.

🍲 Optimal cooking time – For red lentils, a cook time of 7 minutes under high pressure with a natural pressure release ensures they’re perfectly cooked. However, if using green, brown, or Puy lentils, you may need to pressure cook on high for about 15 minutes to achieve tender lentils.

lentil soup in the pressure cooker
  • Cool Down: Before storing, allow it to cool down to room temperature. However, don’t leave it out for more than 2 hours to avoid bacterial growth.
  • Refrigerator Storage: Transfer the cooled mixture into airtight containers. Glass containers are preferable as they don’t absorb flavors and make reheating more convenient. Lentil curry can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Ensure the lentils and water or sauce are well combined when storing to keep the lentils moist.
  • Freezer Storage: For longer storage, freezing is an excellent option. Portion the curry into freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags, leaving some space for expansion. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Label the containers with the date, so you know when it was stored.
  • Reheating: When ready to eat, you can reheat it in the microwave, stovetop, or even in the Instant Pot using the “Sauté” function. If it’s frozen, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator or use the microwave’s defrost setting before reheating. You may need to add a little water or broth when reheating to bring back its original consistency, as lentils tend to absorb liquid during storage.
  • Stir Well: Whether reheating in a microwave or on the stovetop, make sure to stir the curry occasionally to ensure even heating. This is especially important if you’ve added lentils to the curry, as they can settle at the bottom.
  • If you’ve made a large batch and plan to eat some within the week and freeze the rest, portion out what you’ll be freezing before refrigerating. This way, you avoid freezing, thawing, and refreezing, which can affect the texture and flavor.
  • For those who love to cook large batches for meal prep, consider freezing individual servings. This makes it easier to thaw only what you need for a meal, reducing waste and ensuring you always have a quick and nutritious option on hand.
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OTHER CURRY AND LENTIL RECIPES

lentil soup instant pot

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY LENTILS AREN’T PERFECTLY COOKED AFTER THE RECOMMENDED TIME?

If your lentils aren’t perfectly cooked after the recommended pressure cook time, you can seal the Instant Pot and cook them on high pressure for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remember, cooking times can vary slightly depending on the type and age of the lentils.

Q: CAN I MAKE LENTIL SOUP USING THIS RECIPE?

Absolutely! To transform this curry into a lentil soup, increase the amount of vegetable broth by 1 to 2 cups, depending on how liquid you like your soup. You might also want to adjust the spices to taste, as the additional liquid can dilute the flavor slightly.

Q: I’M NEW TO THE INSTANT POT. HOW DO I KNOW WHEN TO RELEASE THE PRESSURE?

For this recipe, allow the pressure to release naturally after cooking. This means you simply wait for the pressure indicator to drop on its own, which can take about 10-20 minutes. This helps to ensure the lentils cook evenly and become tender without being mushy.

Q: HOW CAN I INCORPORATE MORE VEGETABLES?

Feel free to add more vegetables such as spinach, kale, bell peppers, or sweet potatoes. Add leafy greens at the end of cooking to just wilt them, while harder vegetables can be added before pressure cooking, so they become tender.

Q: HOW CAN I THICKEN THE CURRY IF IT’S TOO LIQUID?

If your curry is too liquid, you can use the “Sauté” function on your Instant Pot to simmer and reduce the liquid after the pressure-cooking process is complete. Another option is to mix a small amount of cornstarch with water to create a slurry and stir it into the curry, cooking for a few minutes until it thickens.

Q: CAN I USE A DIFFERENT TYPE OF OIL INSTEAD OF OLIVE OIL?

Yes, you can substitute olive oil with other cooking oils such as coconut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. Each oil may add a slight variation to the flavor of the dish, with coconut oil being a great choice for adding a hint of sweetness that complements curry flavors.

lentil soup instant pot

Instant Pot Lentils

The spices and lentils mix up so well, making this yummy dish that's perfect anytime. Plus, it's super healthy, packed with goodies, and vegan too! But honestly, it's so tasty, everyone will dig it.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 portion
Calories: 555kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced
  • ¼ cup carrot finely diced
  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • tbsp curry powder mild or spicy up to you
  • tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a pinch chili powder *optional
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 cup tomato puree passata
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

  • 1. Add the lentils with vegetable broth in the instant pot and stir, press pressure cooker mode for 7 minutes
  • 2. In a separate frying pan,  heat the oil and sauté diced onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger in a frying pan.
  • 3. Once the diced onions and carrots are slightly softened. Add dried spices (curry powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and salt), and mix them well.
  • 4. Add sautéed vegetables, tomato puree, and water to the instant pot, and mix well with the red lentils.  Cook them in the pressure cook mode for 5 minutes. Once the red lentils are soft and tender, season and taste to see if more salt and pepper are needed. Enjoy.

Notes

  • If you’ve made a large batch and plan to eat some within the week and freeze the rest, portion out what you’ll be freezing before refrigerating. This way, you avoid freezing, thawing, and refreezing, which can affect the texture and flavor.
  • For those who love to cook large batches for meal prep, consider freezing individual servings. This makes it easier to thaw only what you need for a meal, reducing waste and ensuring you always have a quick and nutritious option on hand.

Nutrition

Serving: 1portion | Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 1624mg | Potassium: 2295mg | Fiber: 37g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 4749IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 15mg | Net Carbohydrates: 57g

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