From time to time I’m left with a lone ingredient in my cupboard that has been staring back at me, begging to be put to good use for months. A can of sweetened condensed milk. Some sort of nut or grain. And most recently- lentils. I’ve been toting around 2 cups of dried lentils for months.  When we moved into our apartment, and I was once again faced with these lentils, I knew I really needed to get rid of them.  I mean honestly, they traveled to a new city! A moving company moved my lentils! Ok, enough.

In these situations, I turn to Mark Bittman. Out of all the cookbooks I own, the one that always saves me when I’m dealing with a stray ingredient is Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything.” Perplexed with what to do with my lentils, I turned to the index of this book.  After scrolling through a dozen or so lentil recipes, I settled on one that sounded incredibly simple.  Ridiculously simple is more like it. Lentils, potatoes, curry, and coconut milk come together in this heart warming stew that tastes like it’s been sitting on the stove all day, when in reality, you can bang it out in under an hour on any week night.  Oh and it’s super healthy, which was something I felt like my body really needed this week. It’s providing the perfect balance to my after dinner ice cream intake.

Lentils and Potatoes with Curry slightly adapted from Mark Bittman

Serves 3-4

Though I doubled the recipe, I’m sharing Mark’s original proportions below. That said, this dish freezes very well, so it can’t hurt to make a big batch!

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed

1 15 oz can coconut milk

2 1/2 cups chicken broth (or veg broth)

1 T curry

2 medium starchy potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks

2 T butter


greek yogurt and chopped cilantro for serving

Place lentils in a large bowl.  Bring several cups of water to boil, and pour over lentils.  Let rest for 15 minutes while you prep other ingredients.

Set a heavy bottomed pot to medium high heat.  Add in lentils, coconut milk, broth, and curry.  Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in butter.  Once butter is incorporated, add in potatoes, cover pan, and let cook covered and undisturbed for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes season with salt and pepper. Cover and continue to cook for 15 minutes until lentils are quite soft. The mixture should be moist but not soupy.  Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt and cilantro.  Can be stored up to 4 days in fridge, or frozen for up to two months.

  1. Lentils are one of my favourite dishes (I am making some for tonight). I think I will try this - sans the yoghurt.

    • It’s such a comforting dish, and would be just as good without the yogurt. Enjoy!

  2. Funny-I’ve had lentils staring at me for awhile now too! thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Thanks for this! And thanks for the recommendation of Mark’s book. I have had staring contests with several ingredients for months. I’m on Amazon now…

    • My pleasure! You’ll be amazed, the book is so helpful.

    • Absolutely! It’s a perfect option for meatless Mondays.

  4. My hubby loves curry. Looks like a delicious way to eat curry(I’m not crazy about it).

  5. Clara: This dish looks and sounds wonderful!! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the great idea. The photography is great also.
    Best Regards

  6. Brandon

    Looks fantastic (and healthy)

    • Expect to eat a lot of it next week :)

  7. This looks delicious. I love lentils, but my one attempt at making lentil soup was a FAIL! So after that I sort of gave up on them but I think I will try them out one more time this week.

    Hope I can duplicate your amazingness!!

  8. Your girl Ina has an amazing lentil soup recipe that I make constantly in the winter. I plow through lentils like nobody’s business. You have to try it:

    • I’ve made it, so good! Although I did it sans sausage, which sounds really tempting right now…

  9. callmecaitlin

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I’m a pretty recent college grad who’s been getting by on cereal, but I’ve been craving some real food lately. I tried making the curry with lentils (it was amazing!) a few weeks ago, and today I tried substituting the lentils with garbanzo beans. Also amazing! :)

  10. Teddy Artschwager

    As a current college student who is mostly vegetarian, I cook with lentils quite frequently (almost always in curries), they’re easy, delicious and filling.

    This recipe looks wonderful, I wouldn’t have thought to pour boiling water over the lentils first, then rest them. Can’t wait to try it, only missing one ingredient: fresh cilantro!

    Another ingredient I’ll probably add is garam masala, I believe its mainly coriander, cumin, cinnamon. It gives great depth to curries, aromatic and sweet. I’d also consider substituting with sweet potatoes.

  11. Looks delicious! I too have lentils sitting in my pantry.

  12. Shannon

    I came across this after a search for lentil recipes in google. I was awesome and so easy!! This will be a regular in our repertoire. :)

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