Red Lentils with Cashews & Kale

red lentils with cashews and kale

I think out of all the legumes I love lentils the most. Lately anyway.

I make this Spinach & Lentil Soup very often … by the vat, sometimes and eat it all week long. I did that last week, in fact. I throw a can of lentils into salads all the time for a good protein boost.

I was going to talk at length about how healthy lentils are and why they’re a wise choice for your protein source. Instead, you can find everything I would have wanted to say, but I bet they say it better, over at Live Strong.

I chose red lentils for this recipe for a couple reasons. Mainly, because they cook faster than green or brown lentils and I really wasn’t up for much of a cooking session on a Friday night. Also, I have a lot of red lentils and needed to make some room in my pantry.

You could use fresh spinach in place of the kale if you’d like. I am sure it’ll turn out just as flavorful. What I love about the kale though is how it retains some of it’s firm texture.

I used raw cashews in this recipe because, again, that’s what I had. But I bet toasted or roasted cashews would be amazing. I’d stick with using cashews. The mildly sweet creaminess of the cashews really complement the lentils. I am trying to think of another nut to use in place of cashews but I really can’t think of one that would work as perfectly. If you try this with a different nut, share what you used and how it turned out!

4.5 from 4 reviews
Red Lentils with Cashews & Kale
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced finely
  • 2-3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons madras curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2⅔ cups water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup whole cashews
  • 1 small bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large deep skillet.
  2. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes, until onion begins to soften.
  3. Add seasonings and cook 2 minutes to allow seasonings to toast.
  4. Add lentils. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add coconut milk, lime juice and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once the lentils have cooked down and become soft, add the tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  7. Next, add the cashews, kale, and remaining ⅔ cup water as needed. Stir to combine. The consistency should be rather thick but not sticky or clumpy. Let ingredients heat through.
  8. Serve on rice with a wedge of lime and fresh cilantro, if desired.


You might be thinking I cook with curry a lot. You’d be right. We really enjoy curries from around the world. I am going to challenge myself to try new recipes that aren’t as inspired by the curries we love. Just for a change.


  1. Jane James says

    Wow – this recipe was yummy. I pan-fried the onions, garlic and spices and threw everything in my slow cooker, along with some cauliflower to bulk it out a bit. Off we went to after school sports and came home 4 hours later to the most divine smells. Added the kale and lime juice just after we walked through the door – 5 minutes before eating. I was hoping it would do 2 meals but my family ate the whole lot in one sitting!

    • Megan says

      Jane you just made my day! Knowing that this recipe turned out great in a slow-cooker is awesome. I was planning on trying it out in the slow cooker myself the next time I make this. Thanks for stopping by to share the tips! I like the idea of adding cauliflower too. Yummy!

  2. says

    This was a huge hit! It was filling, comforting, and perfect for a perfect hot meal in cold weather. It was a little spicy, so people who are not into that should keep that in mind. I made it for a group of 7 who came over for a meal this weekend. One of the guests was gluten-free and I am mostly vegan, so this was the first time I’ve searched my way over to this website. I am so glad I found it! People were practically fighting to have the last spoonful of this dish. I will definitely make this again and am already looking for other recipes to try, even though I myself am not gluten-free. Basically, it was delicious enough to keep me and a table full of other non-gluten-free folks coming back for more.

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