Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Sambar [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: ≤35 mins
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours (*On a high S.C setting)
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, two pots, measuring jug, food processor, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar and salt! 

Happy Monday everyone! We hope that you’ve all had a great weekend? We are feeling pretty prepared for the weekend ahead and are really looking forward to enjoying some great food and reconnecting with some faces we haven’t seen in a while! 🙂 

Today we have a delicious and nutritious South Indian lentil and vegetable-based slow cooker curry recipe for you. We’ve been playing with sambar recipes for quite a while now and think that this one is pretty tasty! It’s particularly good for those that love spicy (although not completely paralysing meals) and lighter curries! This is down to the fact that it doesn’t comprise of any heavy sauces (no cream or butter!) or large quantities of added oils; it relies on so many great spices (as hot as preferred), including some tasty tamarind! We’ve used a store-bought tamarind paste this time, but check out this previous curry recipe on how to prepare tamarind pulp! Authentic versions of this curry are prepared with yellow lentils, a sambar powder mix (which has a few varied ingredients than what we have included) and is usually finished off with a tempered spice mix which includes a little more oil (more than we have used) and some curry leaves!  

Quite honestly, this curry feels more like a ‘lentil stew’ than curry, especially if you do not serve it with rice or some type of bread- although we thoroughly recommend that you do! It’s also very versatile, so do not feel that you have to use the same vegetables; baby turnips would make a great, tasty and lower G.I substitute to white potatoes! It’s good to note that the desiccated coconut adds a fair bit of saturated fat to the dish, so please use less of it if you want to make this meal low in fat; to further this point we would also recommend serving this curry with some plain brown basmati or wholemeal rice instead of heavier/oily breads.

As we like to control the quantity of spice used in our cooking, we never really add really hot chillies (like a bird’s eye!) to our dishes, we would rather drizzle over some infused chilli oil or add some chilli flakes just before serving. However, if you are braver than us, try using a hotter chilli and/or chilli powder or more chilli flakes to the curry before cooking!

We hope that you find this to be a tasty and quick alternative to the your current festive dishes on offer and perhaps a great recipe to have on stand-by for any post-Christmas parties or delicious New Year meals ahead!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂



Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂




Peel and dice the garlic and onion. Wash, remove the stem and dice the chilli. Wash the lentils in a sieve and then remove any seeds or stones.



Place a large non-stick pot with 450ml water over a medium heat. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Add the garlic, onion, chilli, lentils, 3g curry powder and ½ tsp salt. Stir together. Cover with the lid. Simmer and cook for 15-20 mins or until the lentils are tender. Remove from the heat.



In the meantime, heat a separate non-stick pot or frying pan over a medium heat and get your curry paste spices and desiccated coconut ready. When the pot becomes hot, add the spices and coconut. Dry fry this mixture for about 1-2 mins or until the coconut is lightly toasted.



Transfer the mixture into a food processor. Processor until the mixture becomes fine and grainy. Whilst the food processor is still running, add 1 tbsp of oil and 1 cup of water. Process until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, forming a paste. Leave for the moment. Tip: This is your curry paste!



Wash, peel, trim the ends and dice the carrot. Wash, remove the stem and core and then dice the bell pepper. Wash, peel and cube the potato. Wash, remove the stem (if applicable) and then quarter the tomatoes. Place 20-25g tamarind paste into a measuring jug with 5 tbsp of water. Mix to dissolve.



Place the carrot, bell pepper and potatoes into a slow cooker. Add the lentil mixture, curry paste and tamarind mixture. Stir and thoroughly combine. Top with the tomatoes. Slightly press and submerge them into the liquid. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heat setting for 2-3 hours. NB: Ours took 2.5hrs to cook! 



Snap the beans into halves and then defrost them. Add the beans to the slow cooker during the last 30 mins of cooking. Alternatively, steam and stir them through the curry just before serving.



Serve with brown basmati rice, wholegrain pitta,  flatbread or a dosa. Garnish with a slice of lime, chilli infused oil (chilli flakes steeped in 1-2 tsp of rapeseed oil!) and/or fresh coriander leaves (if preferred!). 🙂


Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3 days. Alternatively, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

One thought on “Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Sambar [Vegan & Gluten Free]


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s