Quick Curried Lentils in Tomato Sauce

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

In this Indian-inspired vegetarian main, top-notch jarred tomato sauce and canned lentils save hours of work. When chosen well, jarred tomato sauce can rival your own. The best ones include tomatoes and seasonings but are free of preservatives, sugar, and corn syrup.


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches long), peeled and finely grated

  • Coarse salt

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 jar (26 ounces) best-quality store-bought tomato sauce

  • 2 cans (20 ounces each) cooked lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)

  • Cooked basmati (or other long-grain white) rice, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.

  3. Add tomato sauce, lentils, and 1 cup water. Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice and cilantro; season with salt.

  4. Serve lentil mixture with rice; garnish with more cilantro, if desired.

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