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Kalyn's Kitchen

Indian Spiced Lentils

Indian Spiced Lentils are delicious and easy to make, and if you like Indian food you’ll love this for a low-glycemic side dish! Check out Side Dishes to find more things to serve on the side of the plate!

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Indian Spiced Lentils found on KalynsKitchen.com

I remember the first time I ever tasted lentils, in a soup that was served at a Mexican restaurant where I had my first job. Certainly my mother never cooked them so I have no idea how I became such a lentil fan, but if a recipe contains lentils, it’s pretty much a sure thing I’ll like it.

This favorite recipe for Indian Spiced Lentils is a lentil side dish that I first posted nearly five years ago, almost as an after-thought added to another recipe. I’ve made this many times since then, and this dish is so tasty and easy-to-make that I finally decided it deserves a post of its own. This week I made it again and took some photos, and I’m officially adding it to recipe favorites on the blog.

(Indian Spiced Lentils was updated with better photos September 2010)

Indian Spiced Lentils found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’ve made this many times with plain brown lentils, but recently I’ve become fond of these small lentils from the middle eastern grocery store for dishes where I want the lentils to keep their shape, so that’s what I used this time. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and cook the onions until they’re starting to get some color, about five minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more. Add the curry powder and saute with the onions and garlic for about 2 minutes more. Then add the lentils and chicken or vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover pan, and cook until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes.

Indian Spiced Lentils found on KalynsKitchen.com

Start checking after about 30 minutes. This is done when lentils are tender and the liquid is absorbed. (If you don’t have your stove at a low enough simmer, you may need to add a little more liquid before the lentils are tender. The cooking time of lentils will depend on how old they are; I cooked the lentils in these photos about 38 minutes and then let them sit for 5 minutes with the lid on.)

When lentils are done, chop up a generous amount of parsley. (I used curly parsley, but either type would work, and I think cilantro would also be good in this.) When lentils are soft but still slightly chewy, stir in parley, season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and serve hot. This is a perfect dish to make ahead, freeze in individual portions, and take for a grab-and-go lunch for work.

More Tasty Recipes for Lentils:

Mujadarra (Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions) from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Southwest Lentil Patties with Creamy Lime Dressing from Healthy Delicious
Green Lentil and Red Pepper Salad with Red Onion, Mint, and Feta from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Vegetarian Lentil Burgers from 101 Cookbooks
Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Curried Lentil Risotto from Just Bento
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula’s Moroccan Lentil Stew) from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes from Smitten Kitchen
Lentil Soup with Ground Beef and Brown Rice from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spiced Lentils and Rice from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Indian Spiced Lentils

Indian Spiced Lentils are delicious and easy to make!


  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced in 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1 tsp. minced garlic)
  • 1 tsp. sweet curry powder
  • 1 tsp. hot curry powder (or less, depending on how spicy you like it. You can also use your favorite curry powder blend instead of the sweet and hot curry powder.)
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or 1 can chicken broth and 1/4 cup water (or use vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley (or less)
  • salt/pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in medium sized heavy pan, add onions, and saute 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes. Add curry powder to onion-garlic mixture and saute about 2 minutes more.
  2. Add lentils and stock, bring to a low simmer, then cover pan and cook until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed.
  3. Cooking time will depend on how old the lentils are, but after 30 minutes I would start to check every few minutes. You may need to add a little water towards the end if your stove doesn’t keep the simmer low enough. (I cooked the lentils in the photos for 38 minutes and then let them sit about 5 minutes with the lid on.)
  4. When lentils are done (soft but still slightly chewy), remove from heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes while you chop the parsley.
  5. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper and serve hot.


This is a perfect dish to cook ahead, freeze in individual portions, and take to work for a quick grab-and-go lunch.

This recipe was adapted from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Lentils are a great low-glycemic legume, and this recipe for Indian Spiced Lentils is suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but if you’re eating lentils for phase one remember that the recommended serving size is not more than 1/2 cup. This should work for most low-glycemic eating plans, but lentils are too high in carbs for a low-carb diet.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
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    38 Comments on “Indian Spiced Lentils”

  1. Made this a couple of weeks ago and although I doubled the recipe, we (2 adults, a 4-yr old and an 18-mo) still only ended up with a little left over because everyone LOVED it! Tonight I'm quadrupling the recipe so I can have some to freeze and I've added 1lb chopped frozen spinach for a little extra nutrition.

  2. I wouldn't make this without curry powder but type "lentils" into the search bar and you will find a lot of other lentil recipes.

  3. This sounds delicious! And am very excited about adding lentils to my diet. However, my husband & I aren't fans of curry…can you recommend another spice that might work? Thanks!

  4. PJ, I do love the French green lentils too. Those and these small brown ones are my favorites for lentil salads and side dishes, but I love the red lentils and plain brown ones for soup.

  5. This lentil dish sounds delicious! Thats true for me too – I am very likely to enjoy any dish as long as it has lentils as the main ingredient. Recently I have started ordering french green lentils which are just great in terms of keeping their shape after cooking.

  6. I'd eat it as a side dish, or maybe as a small lunch. Nothing to be scared about; lentils are delicious!

  7. Do you eat this as a meal or a side dish? I know lentils are supposed to be super healthy and I want to cook with them more, but I'm still scared 🙂

  8. Nati, that sound delicious! I like lentils no matter how they're cooked; just love the flavor of them.

  9. Hi Kalyn
    Lentils make me hungry.
    My way of making them is, I cook them and dispose of any liquid left if any, then add a few drops of lemon juice, garlic, chopped cilantro, tabasco, salt and a good amount of extra virgin olive oil….Nati

  10. Hi ChicaJo,
    Just moved your blog to Google Reader since Bloglines is closing! Glad you like it; an easy way to have lentils as a side dish.

  11. Love lentils too and this post has got me craving!

  12. Gina, definitely my favorite of all the beans and legumes too!

  13. Mom made lentil soup when I was a kid, it was the first legume I ever liked. They are probably my favorite!

  14. Nilima, I don't want to soak for this recipe, but thanks for the tip.

    Ann, glad you like it.

  15. the best quick recipe ever found, specially for health enthusiast like me, I just love this stuff, I made a copy of it,thanks for sharing Kalyn,



  16. Hi,

    You may try soaking lentils for a while that will reduce cooking time.
    Warm water also can be used for soaking.


  17. Dana, actually it's not a soup. This is a lentil side dish, but definitely very tasty.

  18. This soup looks great… it's supposed to get cooler around here this week… and this tasty soup is the perfect cool weather soup!