Instant Pot Red Lentil & Kale Curry

This post is sponsored by USA Pulses & Pulse Canada

Even though it’s officially Spring, our weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo yet. And wouldn’t you know it, our furnace decided to stop working this week so now our house is freezing. Until it can be fixed, we’re walking around wearing extra layers and keeping warm with comforting meals like this Red Lentil and Kale Curry.

I love cooking with lentils because they are a great source of vegetarian protein and are loaded with fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. They’re also a good source of iron, which helps to carry oxygen throughout the body, and are super-affordable to make healthy eating easily fit into your budget.

Red lentils, in particular, are quick and easy to cook, perfect for a fast weeknight meal. Making them in the Instant Pot, or any electric pressure cooker, makes this meal as hands-off as possible, as it’s cooked all in one pot with just a couple presses of a button. Though you’re welcome to make in on the stove top, too!

The boys in my family like the vegetables in any meal to be diced as small and uniformly as possible, so that they don’t bite into any large chunks. As a result, I used several small diced vegetables in this curry to make it as picky-eater-friendly as possible. Feel free to add larger chunks if your family will tolerate them, such as cauliflower florets or cubed butternut squash. This recipe is easily adaptable to use any fresh produce you have on hand! To speed preparation, I used baby kale so that I wouldn’t have to chop or remove the stems from larger leaves, but you could also use fresh baby spinach, if you prefer. I hope you’ll enjoy it whenever you need a warm and comforting meal!

5 from 3 votes
Instant Pot Red Lentil & Kale Curry
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
A quick and easy weeknight curry that's loaded with protein-rich red lentils and baby kale, all made in the Instant Pot.
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 193 kcal
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 carrots , chopped
  • 1 bell pepper , chopped and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt , plus more to taste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tightly packed cups of fresh baby kale
  • Lemon wedges , for serving
  • Cooked jasmine rice or cauliflower rice , for serving
  1. Set the Instant Pot to the "saute" setting, and stir together the olive oil, onion, carrots, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables start to caramelize, about 10 minutes. (Add a splash of water as needed to help prevent sticking.)
  2. To the cooked vegetables, add in the curry, ginger, salt, and lentils and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Press the "off" button to stop the sautéing function. Add in the water, then cover securely with the lid, turning the knob at the top to the "sealing" position. Press the "manual" button, then adjust the time to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Once the cooking is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 10 more minutes before removing the lid. Be sure to turn the knob at the top to "venting" to allow any extra steam to release before carefully removing the lid.
  3. To the cooked curry, stir in the coconut milk and baby kale, which should wilt quickly. Adjust any seasoning to taste, adding salt and black pepper as desired. (Keep in mind that the flavor will be diluted when you serve this curry over rice, so you can add up to one more teaspoon of salt to bring out all the flavors.) Serve over a bed of warm rice with lemon wedges, if desired.
Recipe Notes

Red lentils cook faster than other varieties, so if you use green or brown lentils I would increase the cooking time to 15 minutes to make sure they are cooked until tender.


Stove Top Directions: To prepare this recipe on the stove, simply use a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the veggies for 10 minutes, then add in the spices, lentils, and water as directed above. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and cover to cook until the lentils are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, kale, and season to taste. Serve warm!

For more healthy recipes made with protein-packed pulses, like dry peas, chickpeas, lentils and beans, be sure to visit As written, this Instant Pot Red Lentil & Kale Curry provides over 1/2 cup of cooked pulses per serving!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to cook with pulses? 

Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

14 thoughts on “Instant Pot Red Lentil & Kale Curry

  1. Rachel

    We had a furnace problem with the last cold snap in our area–why not, right? Prego woman here (39 weeks, woohoo!) and I have been craving curry like crazy lately… Excited to try this recipe before baby comes (or after). Thanks for sharing 😀

  2. Sabrina

    This looks delish PLUS the fact that I can make it in the IP makes me even more excited to try it out! Thanks!

    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Sorry, that was a typo in the directions– it was supposed to say ginger! I just fixed it. 😉 You’re welcome to add a clove of garlic if you like, though.

  3. Jess

    Just made this and it was DELICIOUS!! Highly recommend it. My bf was pretty impressed that the instapot sautéed like that. I used green lentils (ran out of red), and added two small sweet potatoes too. Great flavor and so easy. The instructions were great, but curious –>do you rinse the lentils? And was it very soupy before you put the coconut milk? Ours looked more like soup.

  4. Karen

    Delicious! made on stove top using green lentils. by mistake I added an entire can of coconut milk so ended up adding some tomato paste to thicken. I also pureed a bit of the mixture as my husband doesn’t like “chunks” of veggies 🙂 also added sautéed mushrooms for more texture. adding this to my weekly rotation!! thank you!!!

  5. Joanne

    If I leave the red peppers out will it impact the flavor? Is there a substitute? Or can I just omit it from the recipe? Thanks!

    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      This recipe is a bit soupy– my husband likes his curry really runny, so that there’s lots of liquid to sop up with the rice. The only chunks are the vegetables. If you want a firmer lentil, try using another variety like green or brown. I find that red lentils do get mushier, which goes over better with my picky toddler because they add protein and blend into the sauce more unnoticed.

  6. Daryl

    I love curry! I could probably eat curry every day, but I find that a lot of recipes for curry taste very Americanized, so I was a bit hesitant to make an entire pot of it that I knew I would have to eat all week long. I am thrilled to report, however, that not only was this incredibly easy to make (I used the stove top method), but it was absolutely addictive! Every day at work as I heat it up someone asks me about it because it smells heavenly. And I’m really sad to say that I only have one serving left, which is rare after eating something four days in a row. I also have a love/hate relationship with cauliflower rice. I love it because I’m allergic to rice and it makes a good filler, but with a lot of dishes the cauliflower flavor comes through a little too much. So I decided to fancy this up a little bit and added tumeric, cumin and cilantro to it, and it blended beautifully with the curry. I will definitely make this again and again.


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