Vegetable Curry with Lentils and Spinach

April 20, 2011

Although this coconut curry may not be as photogenic as the coconut Bundt cake that I posted the other day (haha!), this dish from The Healthy Slow Cooker is both delicious and nutritious! As with all of the slow cooker recipes I like to make, this one can be prepared the night before to cut down on prep time in the morning. Indian spices and heat from cayenne pepper combine with the sweetness of coconut milk and sweet potatoes in a wonderful balance of contrasting flavors, and spinach and lentils are both packed full of nutrients. If serving this curry over brown Basmati rice or with whole-wheat naan, it makes a perfect light-yet-complete vegetarian supper.

Vegetable curry with lentils and spinach

To make ahead: Prepare through step 2 and refrigerate up to one day before proceeding with step 3.

Serves 8


  • 2  teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1  teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1  tablespoon olive oil
  • 2  onions, finely chopped
  • 4  carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4  parsnips, peeled, tough core removed, and thinly sliced
  • 4  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  tablespoon minced gingerroot
  • 2  teaspoons turmeric
  • 1  (2-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2  teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 2  cups vegetable stock
  • Salt
  • 2  sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1  cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper dissolved in 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1  (10 ounce) package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1  cup coconut milk


  1. In a dry 12-inch skillet over medium heat, toast cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant and cumin seeds just begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and grind. Set aside.
  2. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, and parsnips and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, gingerroot, turmeric, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and reserved cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 minutes. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt to taste and transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and lentils and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until lentils are tender. Add cayenne pepper solution and stir well. Add spinach and stir to submerge in liquid, then add coconut milk and stir to blend. Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes, until flavors have blended. Discard cinnamon stick and serve.

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