Easy lentil and mushroom curry with coconut

This quick vegan mushroom curry has a rich and creamy sauce that is simple to make and highly nutritious. Perfect with rice for a midweek family dinner.

This is a traditional British curry, in that it’s completely inauthentic and bears only a passing resemblance to anything served on the Indian sub-continent.  However, this lentil and mushroom curry is quick, simple to make, highly nutritious and vegan, so it’s not all bad!

Spicy and creamy

As if that weren’t enough, you can also easily adjust the spice levels of this dish to your own preference. Simply choose a hotter or milder curry paste as you prefer. The lentils and coconut make the sauce lovely and creamy without the addition of any dairy products. However, if you’re not strictly vegan, you might enjoy a dollop of natural yogurt or some cool raita on the top.

Picky eater?

My daughter Kipper typically says she doesn’t like curry, and then wolfs it down. In this case, she was picking at the rice, and I encouraged her to just try a mushroom, just one, and see. She nibbled it gingerly, like she didn’t trust it.

“It’s yukky!” she announced. Then she had another nibble. And another. The mushroom was gone. 

Why don’t you try another mushroom and see if that one’s better?  I suggested. She did. “This one’s yummy!” she said, through a mouthful of mushroom curry. Her father and I agreed that it was a shame that she’d initially got the one horrible mushroom in the whole curry, but we were glad she persevered. She ate all her mushrooms after that.

This makes enough for 3-4 people. The leftovers are great for lunch – I had them on toast!

Lentil and mushroom curry

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Lentil and mushroom curry with coconut

Course Main Course
Cuisine British, Indian
Keyword coconut, curry, lentils, mushrooms
Author Helen


  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 450 g mushrooms (approx. 16 oz.)
  • 3-4 tbsp curry paste – choose one with a heat rating that appeals to you
  • 85 g red lentils (scant ½ cup)
  • 400 ml hot vegetable stock (1¾ cups)
  • 50 g sachet of creamed coconut (approx. 1¾ oz.)
  • Cooked rice and chopped coriander or flat-leaf parsley to serve


  • Peel the onions and slice into crescents. Brush any dirt from the mushrooms and cut them in half.
  • Heat the oil in a wide pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they too are beginning to turn brown – about 5-6 minutes in total. You may need to add another tbsp or two of oil if the pan is looking dry.
  • Add the curry paste to the onions and mushrooms, and fry, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils, vegetable stock and creamed coconut, and mix well.
  • Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve with rice, and chopped parsley or coriander.

If you love curry, you’ll probably also enjoy this child-approved vegan cauliflower and chickpea curry, and this deliciously comforting feel-good fish curry. 

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