5 from 2 votes

Curried Lentil Rice

This Curried Lentil Rice is the perfect vegetarian entree or side dish. It’s made with white rice and your choice of lentils tossed with sautéed onion, garlic, and a spicy red curry paste. 

Curried lentil rice in a white bowl with a wooden serving spoon.

Whether you’re wanting a quick dinner for meatless monday or you’re trying to come up with a flavorful side dish for your chicken or beef dinner, this Curried Lentil Rice is just what you want. 

Not only does it taste amazing, but it’s so easy to prepare. The longest part of making this recipe is cooking the rice! 

Why You’ll Love Curried Lentil Rice

  • Quick and easy. This whole recipe is ready in just 15 minutes with just 8 simple ingredients.
  • Amazing flavor. The caramelized onion and garlic paired with the spice of the red curry paste and the freshness of cilantro and lemon? It really is the perfect blend of flavors.
  • Entree or side dish. Enjoy this curried lentil rice as a tasty vegan/vegetarian entree or serve it as a side dish next to your favorite protein.
Curried lentil rice in a bowl with a wooden spoon.


The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

  • Rice – You’ll need 2 cups of cooked white rice for this recipe.
  • Lentils – Any variety of lentils will work. Be sure to rinse and drain the lentils before heating them.
  • Oil – We’re using just a little bit of oil to sauté the aromatics.
  • Aromatics – We’re creating a flavor base with the classic combination of onion and garlic.
  • Curry Paste – I use hot curry paste to make it extra spicy. If you prefer a lower spice level, use mild curry paste instead!
  • Garnishes – I like to garnish this rice dish off with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

How to Make Curried Lentil Rice

The longest part of the preparation for this recipe is cooking the rice…which requires next to no hands on time anyway! Once the rice is cooked, this meal comes together in just a few minutes.

  • Step One: Heat the lentils in a small saucepan. In a separate skillet, heat oil, then sauté the onions and garlic until softened.
  • Step Two: In a bowl, mix together cooked rice, lentils, onions and garlic, red curry paste, cilantro, and lemon juice.

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    Now, dig in!

    Curried lentil rice in a white bowl.

    Equipment Needed

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    What to Serve with Curried Lentil Rice

    You can enjoy this lentil and rice recipe as a vegetarian entree or as a side dish! Here are a few pairing ideas:

    Recipe Tips and Variations

    • Pre-cook the rice. This recipe makes an excellent meal prep lunch. To save time later on, make a big batch of rice and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days. When you’re ready to serve, simply warm it with the lentils!
    • Want some extra flavor? Cook your rice in veggie or chicken broth!
    • Canned vs dried lentils: I usually use canned lentils to keep the prep super easy. However, if you want to soak and cook dried lentils, feel free to do that instead.
    • Add other veggies. Feel free to kick the nutrition up a notch by sautéing whatever veggies you like with the onion and garlic. Try cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, peas, zucchini, you name it.
    • Add a protein. Want to make this dish into a more filling meal? Try mixing in cooked and shredded chicken, turkey, beef, you name it. Keep in mind that the more you add, the more sauce you may need.
    Curried Lentil rice on a fork.

    Storage Instructions

    This lentil and rice curry can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, simply warm on low on the stove or in the microwave until heated through.

    Can I freeze curried lentil rice?

    Yes! To freeze this dish, let it cool completely, then store it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve it again, simply thaw it in the fridge and reheat.

    Why Do Lentils and Rice Go Together?

    Because together they form a complete protein!

    You’ve probably heard the term “complete protein” before. If not, it refers to a food that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. Both lentils and rice are incomplete proteins, meaning they are lacking one or more of those essential amino acids. However, paired together they do contain all 9 amino acids. 

    That’s why lentils and rice are so often paired together!

    Do You Have to Cook Lentils Before Adding to Curry?

    Yes! The lentils do need to be cooked before they are added to the rice. I like to use pre-cooked, canned lentils for super easy prep, but feel free to cook your own lentils too. 

    More Rice Recipes You’ll Love

    You might also like my Tomato and Lentil Soup and Warm Lentil Salad.

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    5 from 2 votes

    Curried Lentil Rice

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 6
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 15 minutes
    The perfect plant-based side! Turn your simple rice and lentils into a super flavorful dish packed with curry.


    • 2 cups cooked white rice
    • 1 can lentils (any variety) 15oz/540 ml can, rinsed and drained
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 sweet onion chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 3 tbsp red curry paste
    • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
    • Juice of half a lemon


    • Heat lentils in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Set aside.
    • Add olive oil to a skillet and saute onions and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.
    • In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, lentils, cooked onions and garlic, red curry paste, cilantro and lemon juice. Stir. Serve hot.


    Serving: 1g | Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 206mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Side Dishes
    Cuisine Indian
    Keyword Curried Lentil Rice, lentils, rice

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    Recipe Rating


    1. I had no idea what pulses were or that this is the year of the pulses. Very cool. I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to incorporate these into our diet (especially because I want to transition to vegetarian or pescetarian). This is a wonderful recipe that I can’t wait to try. Thank you for sharing it! #ThursdayFavoriteThings

    2. I DO love spicy dishes and I’m always looking for new ways to serve lentils – love them but have just recently started using them – so this completely hits the spot! 

    3. Hi Stacie, This dish looks delicious – I look forward to trying it! I like most of the beans pictured in your post with one exception – Black-Eyed Peas! Thanks for sharing this recipe. Blessings, Janet

    4. Our Mediterranean culture is still well known for eating healthy foods, and pulses are among them. I love all of them, and together with that rice seems delicious!
      Thanks for sharing with us at #2usestuesday!

    5. Wow! …This sounds so good! Full of flavor, and healthy too! Pinning to try later! #SmallVictories

    6. I was looking for a post of how to do this without the paste. I have the basic Indian spices, so some portions of them instead of the paste would be helpful to folks living elsewhere in the world. If no one can give me some ball park amounts of curry, etc. I guess it is experimentation time.

    7. Debbie White Beattie says:

      This looks so good and I like the ingredients because it is a healthier dish but I think I’d switch the white rice for cauliflower rice so it would be totally healthy for me

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