One of the most popular recipes (and one of my personal favorite recipes) from my blog is my Crockpot/Instantpot Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s my Whole30 riff on the popular Indian dish. This is actually one of my kids favorite dishes, too! They request it often and my entire family devours it.
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.
You can serve it alone or alongside some steamed rice or any steamed veggie goes great alongside it as well!
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Tikka Masala Lentils
- 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
- t 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!