Recipe: Jamaican Cannellini and Lentil Curry

Experience a flavorful fusion of cultures with this easy “Jamaican Curry” dish made with spices and ingredients from around the globe.

Try this flavorful Jamaican cannellini and lentil curry for World Pulse Day on February 10th! Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family and are very nutritious.

Jamaican cuisine itself mixes cooking techniques and flavors from groups including Amerindian, African, Irish, English and East Indian — all of whom influenced the island. That blending continues in this recipe combining curry powder, serrano peppers, red lentils, spinach and green beans. Serranos rate up to 23,000 Scoville units for their sharp bite and provide immune-boosting vitamin C. Turmeric lends its anti-inflammatory properties and golden hue to the sauce, which thickens up thanks to protein- and fiber-filled red lentils. Spinach delivers vision-enhancing carotenoids, while crisp green beans provide texture.

In just 45 minutes, enjoy this multicultural mélange of flavors, nutrients and textures.







½ tsp. olive oil

½ large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ serrano pepper, chopped

1 tsp. Jamaican curry powder, or to taste

½ tsp. turmeric

½ cup dried red lentils

¼ cup coconut milk, or to taste

1 cup water, more if needed

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup cannellini beans, about ½ 15.5 oz. can

1 cup fresh spinach

Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Cilantro, chopped for garnish, optional



1. Heat oil in a medium skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper. Cook until onions are translucent.

2. Add Jamaican curry powder and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds.

3. Add the lentils, coconut milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil.

4. Add the beans and continue to cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through. Add more water if needed.

5. Adjust salt and spices to taste.

6. Add the spinach to the pot and simmer until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

7. Add the cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot over rice.


Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/2 recipe

Calories: 330

Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3.1g 16%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 320mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 53g


Dietary Fiber

14g 50%
Total Sugars 4g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars   0%
Protein 21g 42%


This recipe was created in partnership with CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and adapted from

Do you want to learn to cook healthier for yourself and your family? CU Medicine readers can receive $2 off CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center Fresh Take Cooking Classes held virtually on Zoom. Use the code CU_MED to receive $2 off these classes. Learn more about community nutrition services. 

Interested in weight loss? Learn more about the weight loss programs offered by the CU Medicine Weight Management and Wellness clinic.


TAGS: curry, protein


This post was originally posted on 2/2/2024