Caribbean Curried Peas (Lentils)


These curried peas (lentils) can be eaten as a main or side dish. The key to developing the flavor (and not missing the meat) is caramelizing and developing deep browning of the onions and carrots. In the Caribbean, I find some cooks call this "burning" the onions.

close up view of Caribbean Curried Peas and carrots, garnished with fresh herbs, on a white plate
Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


  • ¼ cup canola oil

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • ½ teaspoon white sugar

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 fresh chile pepper, minced

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 3 tablespoons curry powder

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans vegetable broth, divided

  • 1 cup lentils

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste


  1. Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook and stir onion, carrots, salt, black pepper, and sugar until onion is a deep brown color, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add garlic, chile pepper, ginger, and curry powder. Stir constantly to incorporate, about 5 minutes.

  2. Increase heat to medium heat and stir 1 can vegetable broth into onion mixture. Scrape up any vegetables or curry powder stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add lentils and remaining 1 can of vegetable broth; cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir cilantro into lentils before serving.


Although this is a vegetarian dish, pork and lamb may be added when browning the onions. This recipe is delicious with any dried beans including black-eyed peas and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). As a main dish, we serve this over rice.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

373 Calories
16g Fat
45g Carbs
15g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 373
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Sodium 433mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 19g 68%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 36mg 180%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 748mg 16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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