Kids’ Curry with Chicken and Lentils
Redefine “kid-friendly” with this mild, warming, healthy curry packed with protein and vegetables.
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Like most kids, mine can be picky. But they surprise me plenty with their tastes and appetites, and I love that! Last week, my daughter–who has rejected sweet potatoes her entire life–started forking in mouthfuls of the orange root out of the blue. And my son ate salted radishes that I tucked into his lunchbox on a whim.
Little successes like this remind me to keep my chin up, and keep offering a variety of foods… even when it feels like we’re in the middle of a mac-and-cheese jag. You really never know what kids are going to try and enjoy.
Which brings us to Indian food. It’s a perfect example of yummy, comforting family food that has a reputation for being a date-night indulgence for grownups only. But kids can love curry, too! And this is the recipe that proved that to me.
When I first made this curry about two years ago, my daughter was still an infant, and still in the habit of rejecting almost every solid food I offered her.
But when I let her taste this curry, she couldn’t get enough! I was so happy!
Especially because this dish offers well-rounded nutrition all in one pot: protein-rich chicken, fiber-full legumes, and fresh tender veggies like cauliflower and carrots.
I hope your kids love these bold flavors, too…
Easy Weeknight Meal
Traditional Indian food can be time-consuming to cook, but we’ve updated this recipe to match a busy weeknight schedule (without sacrificing flavor.) Red lentils cook quickly and don’t require soaking. And if you have leftover cooked chicken on hand, the whole delicious dish comes together in 30 minutes, and in one pot.
Here’s how to do it:
Saute the veggies in olive oil until translucent.
Then add the garlic, ginger, and spices, and fry for just a minute.
Next add the cooked chicken, raw lentils, cooked chickpeas, tomato paste, water, and salt, and simmer until tender.
Finally, add a squeeze of lemon, and you’re done!
My kids like a spoonful of plain yogurt on top of their curry, and a side of fresh fruit. While we eat, we talk about how the spices and flavors in the meal come from all the way across the world! The kids get a kick out of that. 🙂
Have your kids ever surprised you by eating something you considered “grown-up food?” What was it? How did you react?
Kids’ Curry with Chicken and Lentils
- 1 small onion
- 2 medium carrot
- 1 cup cauliflower, florets
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 slices (1″ dia) ginger root, fresh
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 1 cup lentils, raw
- 1 cup Chicken Breast, cooked, chopped
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), canned
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste, canned
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 medium lemon
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1/2 cup yogurt, plain
- In a heavy, 5-quart pot over medium heat, fry chopped onions, carrots, and cauliflower in olive oil until softening and translucent, about ten minutes.
- Add minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger root, and dry spices, and fry one minute longer.
- Add red lentils, chicken, drained chickpeas, tomato paste, and salt, plus 3.5 cups water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are completely softened and the stew has thickened, about 20 minutes.
- Remove curry from the heat, and stir in fresh lemon juice from half a lemon.
- Ladle over brown rice (if using) and top each serving with a spoonful of yogurt.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie
One of my kids can’t have tomatoes. Do you think it would be ok to omit or do you have a substitute recommendation? Thanks!
Hi Kirsten, you could leave out the tomatoes, yes. They add a “roundness” to the curry, so the flavor might be missing a little something, but the dish would still turn out.
Made this tonight and was a huge hit, really delicious. Could have happily left out the chicken to keep it vegetarian if needed.
I made this tonight, but I added coconut milk. It was a hit! My 3-year-old and 8-month-old baby both loved it. Thank you for the recipe! 🙂
I’m so glad! Thanks for sharing, Marisa.
Do you use dried or canned lentils?
Hi Meg, we used dried red lentils for this curry.
Excellent recipe! Tasty and highly nutritious! Thank you. Would love more one-dish recipes that include so many different food groups, thank you!!
This is really easy to make and super yummy. My 1 year old loved it and he’s a fussy eater! Thank you.
Yay! Thanks for sharing!
Hiya, I’m wondering if I can leave out the cauliflower or use anything else, maybe potatoes instead? I haven’t got cauliflower instock and would live to cook this tonight. Thank you!!!
Yep – subbing potatoes would work just great in this recipe!
Just making this now, thank you. Can you freeze? If so, would you put the lemon in first before freezing or after defrosted? Thanks
You should be able to freeze this, yes! And I would stir the lemon juice in right before serving. 🙂