Curried Lentils and Spinach

Lentils like many other legumes are chameleons. They’re traditional in Indian cooking. You can use the box of frozen spinach because it’s more available but I also like keeping a bag of chopped spinach in my freezer for recipes like this. Those bags are 16 ounces so I use 2/3 of the bag or about 3 ¼ cups. This is mildly spiced so if you like things hot, you might want to double the spices and add a hot pepper when cooking or more cayenne.

Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves, garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • pinch of cayenne pepper, if desired
  • 1 1/4 cups lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 package (10 ounce) frozen spinach
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cilantro or mint, for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a medium (1 1 /2 to 2 quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the ginger, curry powder, cumin seeds and cayenne, if using.
  2. Saute another 30 seconds and then add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes and test to see if lentils are cooked through.
  3. When the lentils are close to being thoroughly cooked, add the spinach and cook until hot. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice. Taste, and add salt and pepper. Top with chopped cilantro or mint. Serve on top of rice or other cooked grain.

You can make this recipe with pantry ingredients, which means that you can make it on the spur of the moment, anytime you want a tasty meatless meal. It’s mildly spiced but easy to make it as hot as you like.