Red Lentils with Coconut and Ginger

In many of our brains, I feel like lentils often live together with brussels sprouts in the “those are lame and boring and mushy” region of food memory, and I would bet it’s because thats how they were prepared for you one time, and now thats where they will live for time immemorial. But not today! I’m making a stand in the name of lentils (and brussels sprouts, but we can talk about them later)! It’s time to make a new food memory, where lentils are the stuff of dreams, and they will be transported to the real world and into your mouth and your heart. They will forevor be remembered as delicious, complex, comforting, and easy to prepare.

Just three ingredients that require any knife work

More often than not, I will simply eat this over a bowl of rice as a meal in itself, but it is a perfect side dish to just about any roasted meats or veggies, or to go along with any number of Indian curries and or naan.

*I know that the packages of lentils always say to check your lentils before cooking, but seriously, check your lentils. I almost always find one tiny rock in mine that could cause some real damage to someones teeth, thus turning them off of lentils until the end of days.

*If you dont have coconut milk, just replace that amount of liquid with more water.

*Skip the fish sauce to make this vegetarian and vegan.

Red Lentils with Coconut and Ginger

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print


  • 2 T Coconut Oil (alt oils: veg, canola, grapeseed, safflower)
  • 1 ea Yellow Onion, small dice
  • 3″ Ginger, minced
  • 5 ea Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 # Red Lentils
  • 1 t Cumin, ground
  • 1 t Coriander Seed, ground
  • 1 t Turmeric, ground or grated fresh
  • 4 c Water
  • 1 can (13.5floz) Coconut Milk
  • 2 ea Bay Leaves
  • 1 t Kosher Salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper, ground
  • 2 t Fish Sauce (optional but recommended)
  • Garnish With Cilantro, lime wedges, plain Yogurt


  1. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Saute onion and ginger until soft and just beginning to brown.
  3. Add garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add lentils and cook for an additional minute so that they are all coated in oil and begin to smell toasted.
  5. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and stir to coat all of the lentils.
  6. Add water, coconut milk, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  7. Cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Start tasting for doneness at 25 minutes.
  8. Stir in fish sauce, taste and adjust seasoning with more salt/pepper/fish sauce.
  9. Serve with chopped cilantro, plain yogurt and lime wedges.

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