Red Lentils with Coconut Milk and Warming Spices

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These red lentils with coconut milk and warming spices came about because one evening I didn’t have all the ingredients for Ottolenghi’s spiced red lentils, which I hope you’ll investigate too. But I did have a few of the ingredients and a can of coconut milk, and it turns out that’s all it took. I’m glad it worked out that way, because you can never have enough ways to make red lentils. Compared to other legumes, they cook up so quickly it’s almost magical. And they make great, delicious comfort food that’s good for you as a mere bonus.

Red Lentils with Coconut Milk and Warming Spices-780 | Umami Girl


This roasting method works for any kind and any size of beet. Pick beets that feel hard in your hand, never soft or squishy. If you have the choice, pick bunches with their big leaves still attached.

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Red Lentils with Coconut Milk and Warming Spices

This cozy red lentils recipe makes a healthful and flavorful comfort food dinner that's ready in under an hour.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serves 8


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black/brown mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Pinch of ground cayenne
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 5 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 2 cups dry red lentils
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan that has a lid (but don't but the lid on yet).
  2. Add the onion and ginger, sprinkle with the salt, and cook until the onion is softening and beginning to turn translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Add the turmeric, coriander, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, one minute. Then add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, one minute more.
  5. Add the stock or water, lentils and coconut milk and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the pan.
  6. Cook until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
  7. Off the heat, stir in some black pepper along with the cilantro and lime juice. Serve with basmati brown rice.


This recipe came about when I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for Ottolenghi's Spiced Red Lentils. Give those a try, too — they're excellent.

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Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 252 Total Fat:: 6.3g Carbohydrates:: 38.8g Fiber:: 6.5g Protein:: 13.1g

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