Quick Coconut Lentils & Pickled Onions

Soups & Bowl Food

Quick Coconut Lentils with Pickled Onions





Pickled onions makes everything better and this is a fast, cheap and cheerful dinner. Red lentils are tender in less than 20 minutes so they are always on standby at mine. Pop any leftovers in the freezer so you’ve always got something lovely to look forward to.


  1. In a large wide saucepan, toast the fennel and mustard seeds for a minute until they start to pop, then add the cumin, turmeric & ghee/oil.
  2. Add onions & sea salt, turn up the heat and fry for 8 mins while you get on with chopping everything else.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, fresh or dried chilis for a few mins then add lentils, coconut milk & stock/broth, stir, turn up the heat, pop the lid on & simmer for 20 mins.  Give a stir every now and then so lentils don’t catch at the bottom of the pan. Take the lid off to thicken it up if you like it less soupy.
  4. Meanwhile, finely slice the red onions, scrunch and massage them in a bowl with lime juice & salt for 30 seconds then leave them to bathe in the salty lime juice where they’ll go bright pink and delicious.
  5. Finely chop the coriander stems, add to the curry then once the lentils are tender, season to taste, serve up & top with a helping of yoghurt, onions & coriander leaves


2 tbsps ghee or coconut oil
1 tbsp ground cumin / 2tsp cumin seeds
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.5 inch ginger, finely chopped
500g red lentils
1.2 litres veg stock or chicken broth
400ml full fat coconut milk
Pinch chilli flakes or fresh red chilli
2 large handfuls of coriander, stems finely chopped
Salt & pepper
For pickled onions:
2 red onions, halved and very finely sliced
Juice of 2 limes and some zest
Good pinch sea salt
To serve:
Full fat or coconut yoghurt

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  • Kate
    Posted at 20:57h, 26 July Reply

    Made this this evening (without the pickled onions as I didn’t have any red onions) and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you.

  • Eleanor French
    Posted at 12:29h, 13 September Reply

    You need to update the cooking time on this recipe! Cooking the lentils takes 20 minutes alone, and that’s just a single step in the whole recipe! I think 45mins is more like it.

    • Melissa Hemsley
      Posted at 11:34h, 15 September Reply

      Hey Eleanor, thank you so much for flagging this. Try with split red lentils and they should cook much quicker! M x

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