Lentil Keema (+ Instant Pot Option)- Vegan, Gluten Free

Vegetable Lentil Keema with brown rice in white bowl

5 from 3 reviews

This Lentil Keema is a healthy vegan/gluten-free version of the traditional Indian “keema” dish. Instead of beef, this dish uses protein-packed lentils, peas, potatoes, and a variety of spices. Also includes Instant Pot option!




  1. To a large pot, add can of light coconut milk, 2 cups water, lentils, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat until simmering and cook uncovered until potatoes are tender, the lentils are soft, and most of the water is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, to a high-powered blender, add the 3 tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and 3 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth (you may need to stop the blender and press down with a large spoon if the blade doesn’t spin, but once it catches some of the tomatoes, it will quickly puree into a liquid).
  3. Transfer liquid to a large skillet over medium heat (using a spatula to remove the remaining liquid off the sides of the blender, if necessary). Bring to a low boil and simmer until you can no longer smell raw onion, about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Reduce heat and add the peas, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked lentils/potatoes to the sauce. Reduce to low heat and warm for an additional 2 minutes, stirring often. 
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and let sit for 10 minutes before serving to absorb flavors. Serve with naan bread and/or brown rice and sprinkle with remaining lime juice.


Instant Pot Option: (See post above for step-by-step photos and instructions. Note that making this dish in the Instant Pot is a slightly different cooking process and order of ingredients, and does not require the 2 cups water.)

To a high-powered blender, add 3 tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, fresh ginger and 3 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the tomato puree. Cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the onion no longer smells raw, stirring occasionally.

Add the can of coconut milk, lentils and potatoes. Stir and set to MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK for 8 minutes. Replace the top, set the knob to sealing (on top of the Instant Pot) and press START. When finished, let sit until pressure has released (about 15 minutes). 

Open the Instant Pot and add the peas, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE again, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, being careful that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Turn off the Instant Pot. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Please note: the Instant Pot option is not necessarily faster than stovetop, as it takes time for the Instant Pot to build/release pressure (for me, around 15 minutes to build pressure and 15 minutes to release pressure). However, it IS easier because you can do other things while it’s cooking (laundry, etc.) and also save yourself from washing 1 pot by using this Instant Pot option. 


Keywords: lentil keema, instant pot lentil keema, vegan keema