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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Red Lentil, Split Pea and Coconut Curry with Kale

I don't know what it is, but I often feel that a meal isn't a meal unless it has some kind of meat. I could make the best salad in the world and eat a ton of it, and still feel a little bit dissatisfied (and guilty for feeling dissatisfied).

Then I realized that it isn't really the meat. It's the protein that satisfies me. So I have started to add walnuts to my salads. And to be honest, just that little change makes a huge difference (plus, they give a great crunch). Totally satisfying.

This got me thinking. What other meals do I love with meat? Well, for starters, I love curries. I love duck curry, chicken curry, fish curry, you name it. But for some reason, I always feel a little bit guilty about eating curries because of their richness, with the coconut milk and duck (my favorite). So, that's it. Curry became the perfect candidate for a food makeover! The goal? Maintain it's warm and spicy flavors but turn it into an everyday, guilt- free but satisfying meal. And I was able to do that with split lentils and peas.

Split lentils are a great option if you want to use them in weeknight cooking because they don't have to be pre-soaked and they cook relatively quickly. But they still have the heartiness of whole lentils. And, they are full of soul satisfying protein! So, try this curry or transform one of your favorite meaty meals into one that's a little bit healthier. Off the top of my head, I am thinking chili, bolognese, even meatloaf would be worth a shot. And let me know how it turns out!

Red Lentil, Split Pea and Coconut Curry with Kale
Serves 6

1 cup Split Red Lentils, rinsed
1 cup Split Peas (Yellow or Green), rinsed
5 cups Water
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1 tbsp Butter
1 Onion, finely diced
2 tbsp Fresh Ginger, minced
2 Red Bell Peppers, Diced

2 tbsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Crushed Red Chili Flakes (optional)
1 can (14 oz) Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Tomato Paste
1 bunch Kale, stems removed and chopped
1/4 cup Green Onions, sliced
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
Rice for serving

In a pot over medium-high heat, bring the lentils, peas and water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until lentils are tender.

In the meantime, heat the oil and butter in a separate pan. Cook the onion and ginger for a few minutes, then add the peppers, curry and red chili flakes and cook until the peppers start to soften.

When the lentils are tender, add the onion mixture to the lentils along with the tomato paste, coconut milk and kale. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the green onions and cilantro. Season to taste with salt. Serve as is or over rice.


  1. I love lentil curry especially with flat bread! seeing your photos make me crave for it!

  2. I've never tried lentil curry, but I've got some lentils in my cupboard just begging to be covered in coconut milk ;) I can't wait to try this recipe. So glad to be your newest follower. This recipe is awesome.

  3. Absolutely worth a try for a healthy meal. looks great.