This red lentil recipe was inspired by the complex flavors of Indian madras curry and the subtle sweetness of tomato sauce. At 14 grams per 1/4 dry cup, red lentils pack more protein than most legumes, making them a great choice for vegetarians. Red lentils are also an excellent complement to plain rice and make for a nutritious, inexpensive meal. See easy print recipe at the end.

This recipe requires a slow cooker. Alternatively, you may cook the lentils on a stove-top for 20-35 minutes on medium fire, using the same ingredients.

Indian inspired red lentil recipe

When cooking beans or lentils, I like to cook a big batch that can last a whole week. Then, I reheat them for quick lunches or side dishes for dinner. Red lentils are great by themselves or with rice. My 4 year old also loves them and I like to have them handy to add more protein to her diet if she refuses to eat meat.

A note about the calabaza squash: calabaza squash is a great addition to cooked legumes because of their subtle sweetness. In addition to their nutritional value, soft calabaza squash helps thicken soups, giving them a more appealing consistency.

Indian-inspired red lentil recipe

Course Main
Cuisine Indian fusion
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8


  • 2 cups of dry red lentils
  • 1 heaping cup of cubed calabaza squash
  • 1/2 big white or red onion chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed (about 1 teaspoon crushed)
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce pasta sauce works too
  • 1 tablespoon madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups of water


  1. Clean and rinse the lentils as needed.
  2. Place the chopped onions, cubed calabaza squash, garlic and red lentils in the slow cooker, mixing with a spoon.
  3. Add the water.
  4. Set the slow cooker on low temperature for 4 hours and cover.
  5. After two hours, add the curry powder and the tomato sauce. Stir.
  6. An hour later, taste the lentils and add all or half the salt, per your taste.
  7. Add the pepper when the 4 hours have elapsed, stirring once more.
  8. Serve alone or over plain rice.

Recipe Notes

If you are making this dish for less than 8 people, store the left overs in the refrigerator and reheat as needed on a sauce pan, using low fire for 10 to 12 minutes. Enjoy!

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