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Coconut Spiced Red Lentils

A healthful and flavorful comfort food dinner that's ready in under an hour.


  • 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


  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan that has a lid (but don't but the lid on yet).* 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. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the turmeric, coriander, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, one minute. Then add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, one minute more.
  • 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.
  • Cook until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Off the heat, stir in some black pepper along with the cilantro and lime juice. Serve with rice.
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    Recipe Notes

  • * I use this Le Creuset braiser.
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