Slow Cooked Lentil Curry With Rhubarb

ByRachelle R. Sowell

Jul 27, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

This is for all the days when you don’t feel like cooking but still want something hearty and tasty. This slow cooked lentil curry with rhubarb is the perfect solution. The recipe calls for seasonal rhubarb, which adds to the character of the creamy coconut lentils that are infused with a few spices and finished with cilantro. It’s easy to make, and all the action is in the slow cooker, so there’s no fuss and easy clean-up! So if you’re seeking an easy curry recipe – that also serves as a diabetes dinner or high protein vegetarian meal – this recipe is worth adding to your repertoire.

angled shot of a round clay container with cooked lentils in a tray styled with a cream coloured scarf.

There’s something about using a slow cooker that makes you want to curl up and get cozy. It’s true: when it comes to comfort food, there’s nothing quite like a slow-cooked lentil curry. Plus, with the rhubarb, you get an added seasonal touch that makes this dish even more special. Indeed, it’s an east-west fusion recipe perfect for anyone looking to mix things up a bit.

As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I’m pleased to share that this lentils-veggies recipe is not only delicious but it’s also packed with nutrition. In addition to being high in protein and dietary fibre, this slow cooked lentil curry is an excellent source of iron – vital for energy levels. And rhubarb is rich in vitamin C, adding another antioxidant boost to this dish.

Ingredients for brown lentil curry

overhead shot of a collection of food ingredients styled in a silver round tray with a red and cream traditional scarf on one side.

Food pantry essentials such as onion, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, and chillies give the dish an aromatic depth of flavour that is sure to please even the most discerning palates. Following is the complete list of ingredients you’ll need to make this slow cooked lentil curry with rhubarb:

  • Brown lentils: washed dry lentils work like a charm here. You could also use black lentils, but I find brown lentils have a more delicate flavour that pairs well with the sweetness of the rhubarb.
  • Rhubarb: this recipe calls for four stalks of fresh rhubarb. You could also substitute frozen diced rhubarb, available at most well-stocked supermarkets.
  • Onion: I use one medium white onion. It’s important to dice the onion small so that it breaks down and almost disappears into the slow cooked lentil curry sauce.
  • Tomato passata: this is simply thick pureed tomatoes. The tomatoes mustn’t be as runny as those from a can of diced tomatoes since too much liquid will make the lentil dish too soupy.
  • Coconut cream: I use pure creamed coconut diluted in water to create a pourable consistency. It’s budget-friendly for us.
  • Water: for cooking the lentils and veggies in the slow cooker.
  • Cardamoms: the seeds of green cardamom pods add a slightly sweet and floral flavour. Fresh pods make all the difference versus using pre-ground store-bought cardamom powder.
  • Ginger: I recommend using fresh ginger for this recipe as it does make a difference in terms of flavour. If you need to substitute, you could use ground ginger, but start with half the amount and add more to taste.
  • Chillies: I use three small Thai green chilli peppers, but you could substitute jalapeño peppers or any other type of chilli pepper that you like. I love a good kick of spice!
  • Cilantro: I love the bright and fresh flavour that cilantro adds to slow cooked dishes like this one. Remember to use the stems, too – they’re packed with flavour.
  • Cinnamon: it’s luscious with rhubarb and helps round out the flavour. I use cinnamon powder, but you could also use a cinnamon stick if you have one on hand.
  • Curry powder: I like mild curry powder, but you could certainly use a hotter variety if you prefer. It brings a beautiful warmth to the dish without being overwhelming.
  • Salt: adjust to suit your taste.

How to make the most delicious Indian lentil curry in the slow cooker

Slow Cooked Lentil Curry With Rhubarb

Since the slow cooker does almost all the work, this is an excellent recipe for when you fancy hands-free cooking. I particularly love that the rhubarb adds a hint of tartness to the creamy lentils. And the combination of Indian spices and coconut is exquisite.

The lentils and rhubarb cook together in the slow cooker until they’re tender and creamy. The result is a rich and flavourful curry perfect for spooning over a bed of steamed rice or savouring alongside a hot paratha.

To make this slow cooked lentil curry with rhubarb, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. In a large slow cooker, start by adding all the ingredients, except the cilantro and the coconut cream-water mixture.
  2. Next, set your slow cooker to high and cook for 2 hours and 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the rhubarb is falling apart. Meanwhile, mix together the coconut cream and water and set aside.
  3. Finish the slowed lentil curry by adding the coconut cream-water mixture and cilantro. This will help thin out the curry and add a touch of creaminess.

You can find the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

Tips for success

  • For slow cooker success, it’s important to use small, evenly diced veggies. This will help them cook evenly.
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker, you could make this lentil curry recipe on the stovetop. Simmer everything in a large pot over low heat until the lentils are tender and the rhubarb falls apart.
  • Use hot water to make the coconut sauce. It helps to dissolve the creamed coconut quickly and easily.
  • Add more water to cook the lentils if you want a runnier curry.
a round clay container with cooked lentils in a tray styled with a cream coloured scarf.

Lentils nutrition

Brown lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein and dietary fibre. They’re also loaded in micronutrients like:

  • folate
  • iron
  • copper
  • manganese
  • vitamin B1
  • vitamin B5
  • vitamin B6
  • zinc
  • phosphorus

According to one review, lentils have a greater percentage of insoluble dietary fibres than 23 other pulses. Furthermore, lentils are high in prebiotics (12.3–14.1 g/100 g of dry lentils). This helps to maintain a healthy gut and prevent gut-related health issues.

Gut healing foods can help to repair and heal the gut lining by providing the body with the nutrients it needs. A leaky gut can lead to inflammation, food sensitivities, and a whole host of other health problems.

Below is a breakdown of lentil nutrition per 100 grams:

Nutrient and calories Amount %DV
Calcium 35 mg 3%
Choline 96 mg 17%
Copper 0.8 mg 89%
Dietary Fiber 11 g 39%
Fat 1.1 g 1%
Folate 479 mcg 120%
Iron 6.5 mg 36%
Magnesium 47 mg 11%
Manganese 1.4 mg 61%
Niacin 2.6 mg 16%
Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5) 2.1 mg 42%
Phosphorus 281 mg 22%
Potassium 677 mg 14%
Protein 25 g 50%
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 0.2 mg 15%
Sodium 6 mg 0%
Thiamin (vitamin B1) 0.9 mg 75%
Total carbohydrate 63 g 23%
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg 29%
Zinc 3.3 mg 30%
Calories 352 kcal

Calcium in lentils

Lentils are one source of plant-based calcium. In fact, a 100-gram of raw lentils provides about 35 milligrams of calcium (3% DV). This isn’t that high compared to other plant-based foods like tofu, but it’s still a contribution.

Calcium is crucial since adequate calcium intake is required for bone health. It’s also important for muscular function and nerve signalling. Furthermore, calcium is involved in blood clotting, hormone production, and enzyme activity.

close up image of a round clay container with cooked lentils in a tray styled with a cream coloured scarf with flowers in the background.

Carbs in lentils

Lentils are a complex carbohydrate and an excellent source of slow-digesting carbs. This makes them a great choice for folks who have type 2 diabetes and looking to control their blood sugar levels.

A 100-gram serving of raw lentils contains about 63 grams of carbs, of which 11 grams is dietary fibre.

Cooked lentils have a low glycemic index (GI) (reported ranges 18 – 37), which is good news for blood sugar balance to reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

One recent randomized control trial showed that replacing half of the carbs from high-GI foods with lentils significantly attenuates post-meal blood sugars in healthy adults. In other words, eating lentils may help regulate blood sugar levels after eating.

Are lentils protein?

A cup of cooked brown lentils contains around 15 grams of protein. This means that lentils are a great source of plant-based protein – especially for vegetarians and vegans. Protein is required for cell repair and growth. It’s also used to make enzymes, hormones, and other bodily chemicals.

Do you have to soak lentils before slow cooking?

No, you don’t have to soak lentils before slow cooking. That’s because lentils are a small, quick-cooking legume. Therefore, soaking lentils isn’t necessary and won’t save you any time. Additionally, slow cooking helps to soften and break down the hard outer shell of the lentils. This makes them easier to digest and easier to cook, too.

What can I add to lentils for flavour?

There are a few things you can add to lentils for flavour:

  • Spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric
  • Aromatics like garlic, ginger, and onion
  • Acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar
  • Herbs like fresh cilantro or parsley
  • Natural sweeteners maple syrup or dried fruits

Can undercooked lentils make you sick?

Yes, undercooked lentils can make you sick. This is because lentils contain a type of toxin called lectins. Lectins are a plant protein that can cause gastrointestinal distress if they’re not properly cooked. Symptoms of lectin toxicity include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, some people may experience joint pain and inflammation.

So, it’s important to ensure that lentils are cooked thoroughly before eating them. If you experience any of the symptoms above after eating lentils, it’s best to seek medical attention.

perspective image of a round clay container with cooked lentils in a tray styled with a cream coloured scarf. There is a bowl of rice in the background.

Nutrition highlights per serving

Below, you’ll find the nutrition information for one serving of slow cooked lentil curry with rhubarb:

  • An excellent source of fibre – meeting over 100% of the DV for dietary fibre
  • A good source of potassium
  • A good source of Vitamin C
  • A very high source of iron
  • A source of calcium
  • 29 grams of net carbs

*Nutrient claims based on a 2000-calorie diet.

What are some of your favourite meatless meals? Share in the comment section below!

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,

Slow Cooked Lentil Curry With Rhubarb

This is for all the days when you don’t feel like cooking, but still want something hearty and tasty. This slow cooked lentil curry with rhubarb is the perfect solution. The recipe calls for seasonal rhubarb which adds to the character of the creamy coconut lentils that are infused with a few spices and finished with cilantro. It’s easy to make, and all the action happens in the slow cooker so there’s no fuss and easy clean-up! So if you’re seeking an easy curry recipe – that also serves as a diabetes dinner or high protein vegetarian meal – this recipe is worth adding to your repertoire.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time2 hrs 45 mins

Total Time2 hrs 55 mins

Servings: 5 servings

angled shot of a round clay container with cooked lentils in a tray styled with a cream coloured scarf.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown lentils dry, washed
  • 1 onion medium, finely chopped
  • 3 rhubarb stems, washed, ends trimmed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup tomato passata thick
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 green cardamoms fresh pods, deseeded, crushed seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt sea salt
  • 1 inch ginger fresh, peeled, grated
  • 3 green chillies washed, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro fresh, washed, finely chopped, including stems

Coconut cream-water mixture

Instructions

  • In a large slow cooker, add all the ingredients, except the cilantro and the coconut cream-water mixture

  • Set the slow cooker to high, cover and cook the lentils for 2 hours and 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the rhubarb is soft

  • Dissolve the coconut cream in water and set aside

  • Finish the slow cooked lentil curry by adding cilantro and the coconut cream-water mixture

Notes

  • For slow cooker success, it’s important to use small, evenly diced veggies. This will help them cook evenly.
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker, you could also make this lentil curry recipe on the stovetop. Simply simmer everything in a large pot over low heat until the lentils are tender and the rhubarb is falling apart.
  • Use hot water to make the coconut sauce. It helps to dissolve the creamed coconut quickly and easily.
  • If you want a runnier curry, add more water to cook the lentils.

Nutrition Facts

Slow Cooked Lentil Curry With Rhubarb

Amount Per Serving

Calories 344
Calories from Fat 36

% Daily Value*

Fat 4g6%

Saturated Fat 3g15%

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g

Sodium 617mg26%

Potassium 1163mg33%

Carbohydrates 56g19%

Fiber 27g108%

Sugar 6g7%

Protein 22g44%

Vitamin A 291IU6%

Vitamin C 12mg15%

Calcium 101mg10%

Iron 7mg39%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please note the nutritional analysis values are estimates and suggestions. This nutrition facts table does not know your life – your body, including your hunger and satiety cues, change daily. It’s okay to eat more or less. Say no to food guilt and instead embrace mindful eating.