Red Lentil Coconut Curry with Cilantro Chutney

bowl of brown rice with red lentil coconut curry and drizzled with green cilantro chutney

What an amazing lentil curry recipe from an amazing book!

I am so honored to share this incredible Red Lentil Coconut Curry with Cilantro Chutney from Sonja & Alex Overhiser’s new cookbook, Pretty Simple Cooking! Not only is it delicious and beautiful, but it is one of those dishes that warms you to your core. It’s comfort food to the max that even had our 6-year old begging for seconds!  

A bowl of curry and a bowl of chutney with a copy of teh cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking

First though, I have to say something that has NOTHING to do with the actual book…

In this wonderful world of blogging I have been blessed to form lots of friendships over the years, but the one I have formed with Sonja is particularly close to my heart. Sonja and Alex have always been very open on their blog about their food journey, but also her struggle with cancer, miscarriages, their desire to start a family, and ultimately their adoption story including the arrival of their sweet son Larson.

Bowls of curry, brown rice, and cilantro chutney

Last year, their story inspired ME to finally start the search for my biological family. I had started the process about 100 times in the past, but ultimately always found a reason to put on the brakes. After messaging with Sonja about their experiences she became one of my biggest cheerleaders. Even though we’ve never met in person she graciously sat on the phone with me and we cried together and shared stories for hours. She gave me the courage and insight I so desperately needed and was ultimately the reason that last year I finally went through the entire grueling process and reconnected with my birth family. Honestly, it was one of the most gut wrenching, mind boggling, yet incredibly rewarding experiences of my life – one that I am still processing my way through 5 months later and will undoubtedly write about here again in the future.

vibrant green Cilantro Chutney

Ok, back to Pretty Simple Cooking and WHY you are going to want to add this book and its lentil curry recipe to your cookbook collection. 

In case you didn’t know, I am a collector of quotes, and this one from the introduction of Pretty Simple Cooking totally stopped me in my tracks,

“Cooking is not a one time transaction, where ingredients go in and food comes out. Cooking requires surrender. It demands expanding your mind to new habits and possibilities. Living in the face of failure. Thinking on your feet, being resourceful. And the only way to make the kitchen part of your life in the face of these challenges is really, to fall in love.” – Sonja and Alex Overhiser

close up of red lentil coconut curry

I mean – it’s just SO good! And the 260 pages that follow it convey exactly what that quote leads you to think they will… they read like a love story. Cooking for each other, nourishing friends and family while gathering around the table. Finding passion in a room of the house that is so often overlooked these days because most of us have been taught to look at meal time as more of a chore than a cherished moment. Our society has pushed us to opt for convenience over quality, which is really a sad state of affairs for the modern family table. But, we can change that!

Plate pf brown rice topped with red lentil coconut curry and cilantro chutney

Sonja and Alex focus on 10 lessons in Pretty Simple Cooking which when followed will help you navigate the kitchen, master new recipes (like maybe a lentil curry!), and ultimately have you gathering back around your family table with loved ones on the regular.

  1. Cook real food.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Love the (creative) process.
  4. Face your fear.
  5. Seek balance.
  6. Be mindful.
  7. Yes, you can.
  8. Gather and share.
  9. Respect the ingredients.
  10. Have fun.

With their guidelines, 100 recipes, and words of encouragement throughout the book we can ALL reclaim dinner time. We can reconnect with our children, parents, friends, and spouses at the table  AND we can fall in love with the act of crafting a delicious, wholesome meal!

bowl of brown rice with red lentil coconut curry and cilantro chutney drizzled on top

Want to learn more about the book? Check out A Couple Cook’s site, their podcast, and definitely stay tuned to our Instagram as we are just one of the 340 hosts around the world participating in the Pretty Simple Cooking Dinner Party celebrating the launch of this book, Saturday February 17th.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links click here to see what that means.

If you’ve tried this Red Lentil Coconut Curry Recipe, I would be so grateful if you would rate it. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I just love hearing from you, and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours!


Red Lentil Coconut Curry with Cilantro Chutney

bowl of brown rice with red lentil coconut curry and drizzled with green cilantro chutney

This curry is spectacular on its own over brown rice, but we also love pairing it with homemade naan!

Don’t forget to rate the recipe, and let me know what you think about this Red Lentil Coconut Curry in the comments below. I just love hearing from you. Your reviews/comments really help other people that visit This Mess is Ours!

  • Author: Pretty Simple Cooking by A Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian/Thai fusion




  • 2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 3-inch nub fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste*
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 45 cups baby spinach leaves, packed (chopped if leaves are large)


  • 1⁄4 cup diced yellow onion (reserved from above)
  • 2 cups packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped golden raisins
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Make the brown rice according to directions.
  2. Make the curry: Peel and dice the onion. Reserve 1⁄4 cup for the chutney and set aside; use the remaining portion for the curry. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger and measure out 2 tablespoons. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium- high heat, then add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 cups water, red curry paste, tomato paste, and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer and cook very gently, just barely bubbling, for 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft (if not, cook a few minutes more until tender). Stir in the spinach along with 2 tablespoons coconut milk and cook until the leaves wilt. Taste and add additional kosher salt or coconut milk to taste.
  4. Make the chutney: Meanwhile, make the chutney using an immersion blender or standard blender to blend the reserved 1⁄4 cup diced onion, cilantro, golden raisins, white wine vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and 1⁄4 cup water. Blend into a thick, smooth sauce.
  5. To serve, spoon the lentils over rice and top with a dollop of chutney.


*If your brand of red curry paste is very spicy, add it in gradually to taste. Our preferred brand adds flavor without excessive heat, but make sure to taste test before adding the entire amount.

Excerpted from A Couple Cooks | Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make You Fall in Love with Real Food by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser. Copyright © 2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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What are the health benefits of lentils?

Lentils are full of plant-based protein and fiber along with a number of essential nutrients, especially Vitamin B. Lentils help promote gut health and lower risks of heart disease and diabetes.

Click here for more information on the health benefits of lentils.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Lori Globerman February 6, 2018 at 6:27 am

    What is your preferred brand of red curry paste?

  2. Sonja February 5, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Meg, my heart is so full reading this post for so many reasons! Being brought together by our adoption journeys is the most special thing on the planet, and I feel like we’ve gained YOU as family too! And thank you for such a lovely review of Pretty Simple Cooking — the lessons are so dear to us and I’m thrilled that they resonate with you! AND, this recipe is one of our favorites in the book, so we’re doing happy dances that it was a hit! THANK YOU.

    1. thismess February 6, 2018 at 12:53 am

      I am so happy that you like the post, and so honored to share your book! Hands down, this is one of the most delicious curries we have ever eaten. 8 thumbs up over here! Thank you for being such a positive light in my life when I needed it most. I could never possibly thank you enough!


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