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Tikka Masala Lentils

One of the most popular recipes (and one of my personal favorite recipes) from my blog is this Crockpot/Instantpot Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s a Whole30 rendition on the Classic Indian dish and is actually one of my kids’ favorite dishes, too! They request it often and my entire family devours it. Because it is so popular, I created a meatless version with these Tikka Masala Lentils!

Tikka Masala Lentils

Here is a vegetarian-friendly rendition of my Tikka Masala using lentils instead of meat. The flavors are all still there in this meat-free dish, and it’s still just as satisfying! It’s not whole30 (since Lentils are in the legume family) but it is made using only clean, wholesome ingredients and it is also dairy-free. And if you are looking for another delicious lentil recipe, try my Curried Lentil Soup!

You can serve it alone or alongside some steamed rice or any steamed veggie goes great alongside it as well! 

Tikka Masala Lentils


tikka masala lentils
5 from 16 votes

Tikka Masala Lentils

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced fine (1 yellow onion)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 2 cups brown lentils (dry)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (13 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk I use Thai Kitchen's Brand
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, for serving


  • In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the yellow onion, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger. Saute, stirring, until the onions are tender, about 4 minutes. 
  • Add the paprika, curry powder, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and tomato paste. Toast spices, stirring, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and stir to incorporate. Once incorporated, add the broth and bay leaf and stir to combine. 
  • Bring lentils to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes. They should still have a little bit of a bite to them at this time. 
  • Add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, 5 to 10 more minutes. Once the lentils are tender, stir in the fresh lemon juice. Taste, and add salt to taste.
  • Top with fresh cilantro. Serve however you please and enjoy!


Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 1244mg, Potassium: 947mg, Fiber: 21g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1041IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Servings: 6
Calories: 308

Welcome! I’m Alex.

I’m a food lover sharing healthy, simple, delicious, recipes from my kitchen to yours. Here you’ll find lots of Whole30, lots of healthy, and a little indulgence here and there because…it’s all about balance y’all!

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Recipe Rating


    1. I just added the estimated nutritional information for this recipe (you can find it at the bottom of the recipe card).

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe!! It’s delicious & easy! I used green lentils, left out the cayenne pepper, & added some pureed grape tomatoes. I made rice to go with it. I’ll definitely make this again. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Hi!! Yes Red Lentils should still taste great– cook time should be about the same, you may need an additional 10 mins. do keep in mind that red lentils don’t hold their shape as well and tend to get a bit mushy (which is still yummy) while brown lentils have a bit more texture to them and hold their shape better when cooked.

  2. 5 stars
    this was so good!! i am only cooking for two so we made the entire recipe and then froze half for an easy meal in the future. we used a mixed bag of lentils and all were cooked through by the end of the 20 minute mark before adding in the coconut milk.

  3. 5 stars
    So good! Perfect spice level it was not super spicy at all. Paired with white rice, maple glazed carrots, and roasted cauliflower. Truly will make many more times! I used red lentils because that’s all I had and only cooked them about 8min since they cook a bit faster.