Aromatic Spiced Lentils

Inspired by Indian Rogan Josh, aromatic spiced lentils blends sharp and sweet fragrant spices with creamy coconut broth in this vegan delight. It started out with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and built up along the lines of sharp, dark spices. It makes the house smell so comforting to smell the cloves and onions working in the heat; I can’t recommend it enough.

I’m a big fan of lamb rogan josh; but when I get a hankering, I don’t always have lamb. But I’m not about to let the absence of lamb in my fridge deny me my cravings. Lentils are always a fixture in my pantry, so that’s how this dish took form.

Aromatic Spiced Lentils

I know some of you are saying “But, chef… rogan josh doesn’t contain coconut milk… So, why?”

Coconut milk also resides full time in my pantry and is an almost universally complimentary ingredient; so again, why not toss that in? It also adds a sweet richness that both adds base to the spice base and takes some of the edge off the spiciness imparted by the chillies.

There are so many ways to enjoy lentils, a versatile protein since ancient times; this is just one of my new and current favourites. The smell is selling point enough as the spices toast up and fills the kitchen with that comforting aroma. The flavour stays true all the way through to the first bite; if you’ve travelled to other countries, it’ll remind you of faraway marketplaces.

The best part about making aromatic spiced lentils is that any leftovers will taste just that much better the next day after a night in the fridge. The old chef’s secret that certain dishes are better the following day definitely applies here. I know this because the remainders from this recipe didn’t last long before my wife and daughter finished it off.

Aromatic Spiced Lentils

Aromatic Spiced Lentils

A vegan lentil stew accented with aromatic spices
Prep Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Mediterranean
Servings 6 people


  • Sauce pan.


  • cups green lentils soaked for 2-3 hours, then drained
  • 4-6 whole shallots or one medium sized onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 2 whole chili peppers sliced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger root minced
  • 2 cups stock
  • 1 14oz tin coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne or ground chili
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 whole bay leaves


Soak the lentils

  • Soak the lentils in enough water to cover them completely for 2-3 hours. Once done, strain completely.

While the lentils soak…..

  • Dice the vegetables, mince the ginger and slice the chilies, measure out the spices.

Getting it together:

  • Heat the pan to medium, add the oil and the spices; toast until fragrant aroma begins.
  • Once the spices are toasted, add the diced vegetables, ginger and chilies and saute until they're coated with the spices.
  • Add the lentils and stock; bring the whole thing up to a boil and then add the coconut milk and bay leaves.
  • Once it reaces a boil, cover and bring it down to a simmer. Let it ride for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve it over rice or in a bowl by itself.


Keyword dairy free, gluten free, stew, vegan

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