Easy Curried Yellow Lentils with Avocado “Croutons”

by Gena on December 6, 2012


It might have been a little odd to post this recipe two days ago, when it was about sixty degrees here in D.C., but now that it’s a chilly morning again, it feels just about right. This is a super easy recipe for curried lentils—the kind of dish you can throw together in minutes on a weeknight, regardless of how busy you are. I used yellow lentils from PNW Farmers’ Co-op; I love this company, which produces legumes that are non-GMO certified, organic, and grown sustainably on a small farm. Of course, you may substitute red lentils if that’s what you have, or even yellow or green split peas.

A few days ago, I saw that Gabby had posted a recipe for split pea soup with rutabaga croutons. Rutabaga lover that I am, I was charmed by this idea. I suppose you can call anything cut into cubes and put on top of a soup a “crouton,” technically. So the avocado I enjoyed over these lentils has been given the playful name of crouton, too. Thanks for the inspiration, Gabby!


Easy Curried Yellow Lentils with Avocado “Croutons” (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 4

3/4 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup yellow lentils
1 sweet potato, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 carrots, diced (optional, but I had them, so I used them!)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste
4 cups water

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sautee onion till its turning transluscent and even a little golden. Add the lentils, potato, carrots, and spices/seasonings, and stir to combine everything.

2. Add the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potato are tender. Alternately, you can cook this in a pressure cooker for 8-10 minutes (which is what I did!).

3. Allow lentils to cool a bit, then serve with fresh avocado slices.

curried yellow lentils

The lentils are also great served cold, especially with the avocado; I enjoyed them for breakfast this way. I love savory breakfasts, especially when it’s getting cooler out.

In these hyper busy and tiring days, it’s really tempting to just throw a meal-sized salad together every night. The idea of cooking always seems like such a drag. But dishes like this, which come together in no time and with minimal fuss, do remind me that cooking doesn’t have to be a pain. I hope you enjoy the lentils as much as I did!


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Taylor December 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

Looks perfect! I am in need of hearty, easy meals. I will try this tonight with the red lentils that I have on hand. Thanks Gena!


Reba Cox December 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

I’m in love with lentil right now! Its cheap easy to store, and so filling. I just posted a new spiced red lentil soup recipe on my blog earlier this week! Great minds think alike!



Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie December 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

This looks amazing – I love lentils in the Fall & Winter – So hearty & filling, they’re perfect in soups & stews or even just w/ sweet potatoes or sauteed veggies. Yum. Can’t wait to try this!


Melissa @TryingtoHeal December 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

Oh, lentils and avocado. Best combo ever!


Bianca-Vegan Crunk December 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

I’m totally going to start calling everything I put on top of my soup “croutons.” Genius!


Skye December 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Yum! This looks so cozy and delicious. I’m totally going to make a batch next weekend to bring to work for lunch.


Lia December 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Love the simplicity, and I am a huge fan of cutting avocado onto soup. It got SO COLD rather quickly. Just made soup tonight too, for my hosts.


hannah December 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Gena, I know you pull together wonderful salads on your own but I made this the night before last and just have to share it with you – quick to make and delicious, please let me know if you try it http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/07/allegra-mcevedy-g2-weekly-recipe


Gena December 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Will do! Yum!


Christine (The Raw Project) December 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm

This recipe looks wonderful, perfect for a chilly winter night! And so simple, thanks!


Melanie St. Ours December 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Yum! I love these kinds of lentil dishes. I’ll have to have cumin seeds and fenugreek in mine, but I’m more of a spice fiend than most! Never tried the avocados before but I just got 4 of them today…psyched to try this.


Gabby @ the veggie nook December 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Haha I love it :) Let’s take the word crouton and make it our own!

This soup sounds delicious and the avocado on top is perfect!


jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur December 7, 2012 at 12:44 am

I love that lentils lend themselves so well to just about any dish you want to throw them in. Add some curry powder and a few avocado “croutons” on top and it’s a meal! This looks simple and delicious. A great recipe to have on hand for quick weeknight meals.


Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans December 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

This recipe looks delicious! I already have all the ingredients in my pantry so I will definitely be making this for dinner sometime this week, I need lots of protein packed plants to get me through exams!


Alexia @ NamasteYoga December 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

this looks much like my staple lentil and carrot soup. I rely on it during colder months! its so quick to make and so satisfying at the same time. i love to have it with a piece of avocado toast.. so we definitely share the same love of red lentil and avocado combo :)


Rebecca December 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

Love this! Funny I make literally the exact same recipe, it’s my all-time favorite winter comfort food. However, never thought to add the “avocroutons”- just when I thought it couldn’t get any more delicious, you go ahead and add another of my favorite foods. Will make this version à la CR asap. Looking forward to trying that lentil brand as well. Thanks! Keep warm and Happy Holidays!
PS On an unrelated note, I am now back living in the United State of Kale so bring on the kale-infused recipes!


monika December 7, 2012 at 10:50 am

Hi Gena,

I’m sorry to be asking this on this particular post (so random), but I just though you would be a good person to ask about this…as it relates to EDs.

I don’t talk about my ED with anyone, except my family; however, for the last while, my doctor has made it a point to remind me that I am a narcassistic, perfectionistic anorexic, with apparently-there signs of Münchausen syndrome…In fact, she told me to get off of my high horse yesterday…(I’m never going back to see her again…) All of this raised some worry in me, because I now sit here and wonder if those around me think that I think that I am better than them, because I eat differently and/or don’t engage in some of the activities that they do? I know that I don’t feel better than anyone; however, I am wondering if you think that it would be best to tell my friends and certain family members (that I feel comfortable with) about my ED, so that they can see I have a problem, instead of thinking I’m “holier than thou” because I don’t eat a certain way or whatever. (I hope to God that they don’t feel this way…but now I am just worried) I’d appreciate any words of wisdom. Thanks so much for allowing me the space to at least ask this question…


Shannon December 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm


Obviously I can’t speak to how your friends see you, but I do know what is is like having an eating disorder and I will say this: the more support you receive, the better. I struggle with talking about it and I have only told a couple of people. But being able to admit it even to one or two people I am close with has helped in some ways. ED can be incredibly isolating and having the support of friends can really be a boon to your recovery.

Also, when I told my best friend what I have been going through, I felt like it deepened our friendship. For years she had been telling me about her biggest problems and secrets and I realized I had been holding her at a distance by keeping my struggles from her. It made me understand that for friendship to be genuine, it has to be reciprocal. And while letting someone in in this way is scary, it can also be freeing.


Gena December 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm


I would never wish to undermine your doctor, but I must say that I support your decision not to return. Those comments about your ED are, frankly, appalling, and they demonstrate a total lack of understanding of mental illness. You may be a perfectionist and an anorexic, but to call you a “narcissist” is totally misled. Yes, eating disorders do make one self-involved, but they are diseases, not expressions of flawed character. Just the way a person who is chronically ill may become fixated on his or her pain, so too will an anorexic become engulfed by his or her disorder. That doesn’t mean that, when recovered, he or she might not once again become dissociated from the fixation on the self.

I do think it might help to talk to your family and friends. I avoided doing so through my entire ED (though all of my friends knew; it was the elephant in the room), and I so regret having kept it quiet now. I’m sure I’d have gotten better sooner with more help.

It also sounds as though your eating patterns are still very affected by your ED. So of course, I encourage you to seek out helpful, supportive psychotherapy in addition to care from a physician, RD, etc.

Good luck, and be strong.

xo Gena


Mandy December 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

Hi. I have been reading your site for some time and I really enjoy it, especially the nutrition information. A mild version of this recipe sounds ideal for our tea tonight and I think my baby will be more than happy to smear it all round her face (hopefully managing to eat some as well!). As I live in the UK, I had to look up Rutabaga to find out what it was – turns out to be swede. Rutabaga sounds much more interesting than swede! Thank you for your posts.


Gena December 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm

You are so welcome! Hope your little one likes it.


Jason December 10, 2012 at 8:41 am

Hi Gena,

Looks delicious, but how is this ‘raw’?


Maggie@SoulFoodComp December 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

Delicious hearty soup/stew! Love the idea of the avocado on top, perfect hit of healthy fats and creamy deliciousness!


Asuma December 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

Omg that looks so good!!! Avocado on anything has got to be good :P


Sunniva December 12, 2012 at 6:50 am

This looks SO delicious! I have to try this tonight.

Recently I’ve chopped some fresh (mature) coconut as croutons, it’s such a nice suprise. Ever tried it?


kamrul hasan December 12, 2012 at 7:15 am

i was the looking for the same and related info, what you describe on your article. And found you through google search. Its helps me a lots and i understood that you are one of skill article writer/ blogger. I have book marked your blog and hope to visit again to learn more. Thanks for your valuable efforts and time.


Carrie C. in VA March 16, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Gena, I don’t think I remembered to stop back by and let you know that we LOVE this recipe and I make it every single week. Really – every single week! My husband and my 18 month old son love it… still working on getting my 2 year old to try it ;-)
I can never find anything in Wegmans called Yellow Lentils so I buy some beans from the Indian aisle called black mung beans. But to me they LOOK like yellow lentils. Do yellow lentils have another name? I ask because I’d like to compare nutritional info and make sure I choose the healthiest legume. Thanks!


Gena March 17, 2013 at 7:21 am

Hooray! Thanks for telling me, Carrie!


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