Crock-Pot Madras Lentils make a delicious side that doubles as a main dish. Whip up this delicious vegan comfort food with zero effort at all! Simply break out your slow cooker and let dinner make itself!
My typical grocery shopping routine is quick and concise thanks to my finely tuned cart-stuffing system but sometimes I just want to wander!
I recently spent a little extra time playing in the ethnic food aisle and found myself gawking at all the colorful Indian sauces and fancy packaged meals.
I glanced at a random pouch of Madras Lentils that looked oh so tasty and decided to play a little game of copycat.
The result? “This dish is INSANE! It was love at first bite!!!!! MAKE IT NOW.“
Much like my crockpot black beans, I like to 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.
This works perfect with both brown and green lentils – whichever you prefer! I haven’t had a chance to try it with canned lentils but I imagine they would work great as well!
Lentils are ridiculously simple to cook. Here’s a rundown if you’d like to join me in my lentil meal prep shenanigans:
How to cook a bag of dry lentils
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 or Lentil Tortilla Soup with the rest!
Now of course you can add your lentils straight up to this recipe as well.
Simply add 1 cup of raw dried lentils to your crock-pot and increase the amount of tomato sauce used to two 15 oz cans total of sauce, plus add 1/2-1 cup of veggie broth to the mix. The lentils will soak up the extra liquid as it cooks.
Madras Lentils Ingredients
- brown or green lentils
- canned tomato sauce
- potato (russet or yukon gold)
- unsweetened coconut milk
- butter (vegan or regular)
- salt and pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes
Be sure to use either brown lentils or green lentils since red lentils (while delicious) won’t maintain their shape and fall apart.
I didn’t have red kidney beans handy when I first developed this recipe but have tried them some of the other times we had this and it’s a GREAT addition! They add a great extra punch of fiber and protein. I always use canned when I have them handy as cooking from dry can be a bit finicky.
Garnish these crock-pot madras lentils with a sprinkle of parsley or basil and serve over a bed of fluffy rice, quinoa, or alongside a big green salad
Looking to amp up the flavors even more? I’ve added a spoonful or so of curry powder to these luscious lentils and LOVED IT! It’s also crazy delicious with Thai red curry paste too.
Slow Cooker Madras Lentils Recipe
This deeeeeelish slow cooker dish yields 6 larger portions (add some rice, pita, and/or naan bread and make it a meal!) or 10 vegetarian side-dish sized servings.
It’s one of those super versatile recipes that doubles as a main dish and a side dish.
Leftovers freeze marvelously if needed and it’s AMAZING the next day — I always get so excited knowing I have some in the fridge for lunch the following day.
You can even add this deliciousness to your meal prep rotation as it makes the most flavorful heat and eat lunches! I always feel so great having this in our meal rotation. It’s a nutritious whole food powerhouse and full of flavor.
Crock-Pot Madras Lentils
- 2 cups cooked lentils*
- 2 cups canned tomato sauce/puree
- ½ large onion (approx. 1 + 1/2 cups finely diced)
- 1 large russed potato (approx. 2-3 cups peeled and cubed)
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 TBSP butter (or vegan equivalent)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp cumin
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- rice or quinoa make a great base for this dish!
- fresh chopped basil or parsley to garnish
- a dollop of sour cream (vegan or regular — MY FAVORITE TOPPING!)
- something SPICY! I added chili paste to this dish recently and LOVED it!
- curry powder/paste <– they change the entire flavor profile of the dish but are super delicious if you're up for it!
- The original dish also had red kidney beans in the mix so if you’re a fan feel free to add some cooked beans! You may want to add little extra liquid and seasonings if you do, but otherwise you’re good to go!
- You’re going to laugh at how easy this is: Use some the butter or Earth Balance to lightly grease the sides of your crock-pot then dump EVERYTHING into your slow cooker.
- Set to HIGH for 3.5-4 hours and go about your day/evening as per usual.
- Once time is up, taste and add any additional seasonings your taste buds prefer. This dish comes out super thick (LOVE IT) but you could also thin it a bit with some additional coconut milk or veggie broth as desired. Simply amp up the seasonings to compensate!
- Garnish with an optional sprinkle of parsley or basil and serve over a bed of fluffy rice, quinoa, or alongside a big green salad!
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:
Sometimes I’ll add red kidney beans for extra protein. It’s DELICIOUS!
This dish will also pair marvelously with lamb/beef/poultry if you’re of the t-rex variety.
umm… I think I need to make this again; STAT!
I even made a soup version inspired by my beloved madras lentils: Easy Lentil Soup
Looking for More Healthy Lentil Recipes?
- NEW! Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Chili
- Lentil Minestrone (just made this last night – so good!)
- Instant Pot Lentil Tacos
- Mediterranean Lentil Salad via Recipe Runner
- Italian Lentil Soup (Instant Pot + Crock Pot)
- Vegan Lentil Chili (Instant Pot + Crock Pot)
If you get a chance to try these Slow Cooker Madras Lentils, let me know!
You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!