Madras Lentils

Vegetarian Madras Lentils... in the crockpot!

Sometimes I eff around in the grocery store for hours.  Yes, hours.  My typical grocery shopping routine is quick and concise thanks to my finely tuned cart-stuffing system [one that involves Iggy the Ipad and my trusty ZipList app] but sometimes… I just want to wander!  I recently spent a little extra time playing in the ethnic food aisle [my favorite!] and found myself gawking at all the colorful Indian sauces and fancy packaged meals.  When was the last time I made an Indian dish!?  It’s been forever right?  I glanced at a random pouch of Madras Lentils and decided to play a little game of copycat.

Though this will be my most inventive copycat creation yet, simply because I’ve [a.] never had madras lentils and [b.] glanced at the pouch for a total of 2.5 seconds before getting distracted by something shiny.  I’m writing this part of the post before the dish has even been completed but oh. my. gosh. does my kitchen smell amazing!  I’ll be back in a little bit with the outcome!

…I’m back! Ahhh! This dish is insane!!! 

It was love at first bite. Make it.

Crock-Pot Madras Lentils

Crock-Pot Madras Lentils
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: entree, side dish
Cuisine: crock-pot
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 cups of cooked lentils
  • 2 cups of canned tomato sauce/puree
  • ½ a large onion, finely diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed [1 russet or a few yukon gold]
  • ½ cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  1. You're going to laugh at how easy this is:
  2. Dump EVERYTHING into your slow cooker.
  3. Set to HIGH for 3.5-4 hours and go about your day/evening without so much as glancing at the pot. Once time is up, taste and add any additional seasonings your taste buds prefer.
  4. I added an extra pinch of red pepper flakes and was good to go!
  5. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and serve over a bed of fluffy rice, quinoa, or alongside a big green salad!
  6. Hungry NOW? This dish can also be whipped up on the stove-top in under 30 minutes!

t-rex chefs add chicken, serve this up as a side dish, or go veggie!

vegansaurus chefs simply swap the butter for your favorite vegan variety or use a little bit of olive or coconut oil; easy peasy!

#vegetarian Madras Lentils... in the crockpot!
#vegetarian Madras Lentils... in the crockpot!

Much like my crockpot black beans, I cook up a big batch of lentils, portion them into 1-2 cup servings and then pop them in the freezer to enjoy all month long! They’re ridiculously simple to cook. The instructions on the bag should tell you sort and rinse the lentils while you bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Once the water is boiling, add the lentils and reduce to simmer, in about 15-25 minutes you’ll have a pot of lentils to play with! Drain the water from the pot, portion them out and make this recipe! Then make lentil-veggie tacos with the rest! 

Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and serve over a bed of fluffy rice, quinoa, or alongside a big green salad! This dish will also pair marvelously with lamb/beef/poultry if you’re into that sort of thing =)

So pictured above is the blog photo shoot version obviously; my fancy schmantzy attempt to make this delish dish easy on your eyes.  But I could never eat such a teeny portion!  After all, I thoroughly devoured all 4 servings by myself over the course of two days.  Here’s what my plate looked like once the photoshoot was complete, pre-faceplant:

#vegetarian Madras Lentils... in the crockpot!

Crock-pot Madras Lentils :: Whip up this delicious vegetarian comfort food with zero effort at all! Simply break out your slow cooker and let dinner make itself!

umm… I think I need to make this again; STAT!

Join me?

I even made a soup version! Score!

Madras Lentil Soup

Craving a few more crockpot essentials? 

Try these!
 Crockpot Black BeansVegetarian Loaded Baked Potato SoupCrockpot Potato Apple Brie SoupCrock-Pot Chicken Tortilla SoupSlow Cooker Mexican Loaded Baked Potato Soup


  1. Jen says

    I think you found my tuesday night new recipe. And I love stalking grocery stores; could and have stayed for hours before depending on the store. 

  2. says

    I have a can of lentils in my cabinet and need recipes to try! This sounds good, and I’ve never really experienced with Indian flavors so I might have to give it a shot. I don’t have a crock pot though so I’ll have to do some adjusting :)

  3. says

    Oh my goodness, I haven’t used my crock pot in months! I always associate slow cookers with winter and tend to forget about them during the summer. This recipe is the perfect reason to bust it out again! You can never go wrong with lentils and potatoes, in my opinion. (: 

  4. says

    Ooh good question! Just canned generic. all-natural with no perservatives or gunk. It’s usually just labeled “tomato sauce” at the store — sometimes “tomato puree” — i got the one with a little bit of seasoning in it. garlic, onion, basil, oregnao =)

  5. Bella Capri says

    This looks so yummy. I absolutely love lentils, and in the fall and winter I love using my crockpot for easy meals, so this recipe is a must-make.  Thanks so much for sharing it.  

  6. Catherine P says

    It’s good to hear I’m not alone in wandering around the grocery store for long periods of time! Sometimes its just fun to explore. This looks amazing! I’ve been slowly trying to get my parents to go vegetarian a few days a week, and so far they’re into it. I’m definitely suggesting this as a meal to do later in the week! I could eat lentils forever. Thanks for sharing!

  7. says

    you have a potato chopper, don’t you? those potatoes look too perfect, dear. 😉

    I love lentils. love love love. I also love grocery stores, and just got back from wandering my own…  (yep, I go in the early morning, I have the store to myself, yeeeee!)

  8. says

    I imagine you smiling and going through the isles with delight and wonder as a kid in Toys R Us!  We would be dangerous together hahaha!  I love your energy and upbeat posts.  I came across this post at the perfect time because I just obtained 15 pounds of lentils and I’ll need to find new ways to serve them! :)

  9. RCrown2 says

    Tasty, easy, and healthy = a win in my book.  Set it and forget it crock pot cooking is awesome! I think adding some creamy goat cheese to mix into everything would add a nice tang to the dish.  You a fan of goat cheese?

  10. says

    I am ALWAYS offing around at the grocery store, happily of course!  This looks incredibly delicious and easy!  Pinning to try one night! Probably tastes marvelous over basmati or jasmine rice!

  11. says

    I just LOVE that you made this in the crockpot! Next to outdoor grilling, the crockpot is the only way to cook in the Summer! I always assumed Madres Lentils required a bunch of exotic ingredients, this sounds really good, can’t wait to try it!

  12. says

    I am so making this next week when I get back home!  You made me realize that I don’t use my crock pot enough!  Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  13. Jen says

    So I didn’t make it tuesday,as hubby was intent on going shopping (weird, right?) But it’s in the crockpot right now and I’ve taste-tested and APPROVE of it. Two thumbs up.. vegan, healthy, and running..people are going to start worrying about me haha.

  14. says

    I always photography a fraction of what actually ends up on my plate! It’s like once the camera’s down, it’s time to get REAL! LOL

    I’m just so glad to hear I’m not the only one who makes a field trip out of going to the grocery store…there’s just SO many things to see…like a treasure hunt! Yes…I am in fact a five year old! But seriously, the international food aisle is one of my favorites. And the condiment aisle…especially the spreads/sauces/dips section. It’s funny, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I have like 5 open bottles of mustard in my fridge right now! 😉

  15. Camille says

    Crockpot in the summer… I plug it in out on my porch and the house stays cool. Just be sure it is up on a table or something and the lid is heavy so your pets don’t try to snack.

  16. Anonymous says

    Made this last night in the ol’ crock! It was really good and different! Paired it with brown rice and it made a good hearty / healthy dinner.

  17. says

    Hey Kim! I will recipe test it next time I make this [which will hopefully be soon!] but I could venture a guess and say it works! Dried lentils usually need 20 minutes of a good simmer/boil to cook so I think they would do fabulously. Maybe add vegetable broth instead of water and then add any extra seasoning at the end to taste, sometimes they lose intensity when more broth/water/sauce gets added! Hope that helps! xo

  18. Sarah says

    Thank you! I just peeled myself away from a costco size box of those lentils for $13 knowing I could do it cheaper. All these ingredients are in my pantry just waiting for me to throw them in the crackpot.

  19. Tika says

    is the coconut milk the kind in the Asian sections, the yummy canned stuff or they coconut milk that is used as a milk substitute? Thank u!

    • says

      I used the unsweetened milk substitute coconut milk since that’s what I had on hand. You may also use the canned coconut milk if you’d like – it’s a little richer and creamier :) Hope you love it Tika! Thanks!

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