Yes, it’s true that summer is over. Cozy sweaters, colour-changing leaves, and fall cuisine are all positives we can look forward to. I’m reminded of all my favourite fall dishes I like to cook. I’m not much of an inventive chef, but I’m constantly browsing the internet for easy, delicious, and healthy meals. My recent favourite is an Instant Pot lentil curry. It’s the perfect dish to keep in the fridge for the week.

I’ve modified this recipe from Erin Clarke to bulk it up with tomatoes and it has become a go-to when my brain needs a break. I use an Instant Pot, and although it will work with the good old fashioned pot-on-stove technique, I highly recommend purchasing one. It saves me so much time—and as a busy student, time is everything.


  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp waterdivided
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp curry powderdivided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepperuse more for more spice or omit if sensitive to spice
  • 116 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 114 ounce can light coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juiceabout 1/2 large lemon
  • Cooked brown ricefor serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantrofor serving


Rinse and drain the lentils, then set aside. Set the Instant Pot to sauté and add the coconut oil. Once the oil has melted add one tablespoon of water, shallot, ginger, and garlic. Cook for about two minutes, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the shallot is soft. Add the curry powder, coconut sugar, salt, turmeric, and cayenne, then stir vigorously. Stand back and try not to breathe in the steam (it’s spicy!). Add the lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk, and remaining water. Stir to coat the lentils completely in liquid.

Hit cancel to stop the sauté function, seal the lid, then set to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes (it will take about eight minutes for the pressure to build, then the timer will begin). Once the timer has stopped, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent to release the pressure completely. Open the lid and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. If the curry is too thick, add a bit more water to thin it as needed. Serve hot with rice and sprinkle with cilantro.

*Optional Side Dish (if you’re feeling fancy):

  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

Mash the bananas in a bowl, add in the yogurt and coconut, and stir!


Kaleigh Studer is a third-year Creative Writing Major and the new Arts Editor of the Navigator. She grew up in Nanaimo and loves all the opportunities the west coast has to offer. Mountain biking, swimming, traveling and brewery hopping are some of her favourite activities with friends. After living in Berlin for two years her passion and a keen eye for art and culture grew. She is excited to be searching out local stories and events taking place in Nanaimo.

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