Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Fresh toppings are key to putting this Thai curry stew over the top

I made a couple of minor changes, but this Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew recipe is the same recipe as the Half-Baked Harvest’s Simple Coconut Quinoa and Lentil Curry with Lime Mango. If you haven’t checked out Half-Baked Harvest yet, then I recommend hopping over there to behold the hearty, healthy, and unique recipes that twenty-something Tieghan is creating–her photography is inspiring as well.

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Thai-inspired lentil and quinoa stew with toppings: don’t skip the mango!

This Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew is for those of you who love two of the fundamental flavors of Thai cooking–coconut and curry. I was blown away by how delicious this dish turned out, and I consider it one of the top three stews I’ve ever eaten.

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Saute the carrots and red (and/or yellow) bell peppers until tender

Half-Baked Harvest says the prep time is 10 minutes and cook time is 25 minutes, for a total of 35 minutes to make this stew, but I think one hour is a much more realistic time estimate.  You’ll want to chop the carrots fine to medium and start sauteing them while you chop up the red and/or yellow bell peppers. From start to finish, I used my favorite enamel cast iron pot that has a lid for cooking this Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew.

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Use lots of red curry paste

There’s lots of curry in this dish…I added about 3/4th of a jar of Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste…

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Curry powder for Thai-inspired stew: I add a lot of the mild and a little of the hot

…and 1 heaping tablespoon of mild curry powder and 1 teaspoon of hot madras curry powder. That takes care of the curry, but then…

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Pure coconut water for the stew base

…you’ll be adding a can of full-fat coconut milk plus 4 cups of coconut water. My daughter happened to have a bottle of this CoCo Joy brand in the fridge, and I’m so glad, because I think coconut water really amps up the coconut flavor profile of this Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew.  If you don’t have or can’t find coconut water, then you can substitute low sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, or just plain water.

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Red Boat Fish Sauce adds flavorful umami

At this point, you’ll also add a tablespoon or so of fish sauce. I’ve tried several brands of fish sauce, and I think that Red Boat brand is by far the best in quality and taste…Our Daily Brine conducted a blind taste test of fish sauces, and agrees with me. I only added one tablespoon of fish sauce the first time that I made this Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew, but I plan to add two tablespoons next time…Red Boat’s fish sauce adds a briney umami depth that I love. If you are vegan, then just substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce.

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Prep the fresh toppings while the stew cooks

While the stew is cooking, go ahead and prepare the fresh toppings that will be served on the cooked stew. And whatever you do, please don’t skip the mango as a topping–it adds a tropical, tangy, sweet foil that complements the Thai-inspired flavors perfectly.

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Ladle up some Thai-inspired stew

Once the lentils and quinoa are cooked, ladle some of this hearty Thai-Inspired stew into a bowl…

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Ready to mix in the fresh toppings

…add the sliced mango, sliced red bell peppers, sliced fresh jalapeno, some chopped cilantro, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)…

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Curried stew with the perfect toppings

…and then add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. You’ll be in Thai-inspired heaven, I promise! Half-Baked Harvest also suggests slivered almonds, which I added as a topping the next day–they mirror so nicely the coconut flavors, and add even more heartiness to this dish. I also think that unsweetened coconut flakes would work great in lieu of the almonds.

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew

Curried quinoa and lentil stew makes for fab leftovers

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew tastes just as good as leftovers, when served over the next few days. This is rich and filling stew, and easily serves 5 or 6 as a main dish. Here’s the printable recipe:

Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Quinoa, lentils, coconut milk, coconut water, curry paste and curry powder combine to create a hearty and memorable Thai-inspired stew
Recipe type: Hearty Stew
Cuisine: Thai inspired
Serves: 6 servings
  • For the cooked stew:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 red (or yellow) bell peppers, medium to fine chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, medium to fine chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I like to use at least 3)
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon curry powder (I like part mild curry powder with part spicy curry powder)
  • 1 (14 ounce ounce) can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 cups pure unsweetened coconut water OR vegetable broth OR chicken broth OR water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce if vegan)
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup quinoa, red or white
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • For the toppings:
  • 1 mango, sliced or chopped (I buy it peeled and pre-sliced in produce section of grocery)
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • Fresh jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • Slivered almonds, or coconut flakes
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the red pepper and carrots, cook 10-12 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add the Thai red curry paste and curry powder, and continue cooking for another minute or until the curry is fragrant.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk, coconut water (or broth or just water) and fish sauce or soy sauce. Stir to combine and then bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, stir in the lentils and quinoa. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils and quinoa are tender.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice and cilantro.
  8. Ladle the curry into bowls and garnish with mango, cilantro, jalapeno slices, freshly squeezed lime juice, dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, and almonds or coconut flakes.

If you love Thai flavors, then I hope you’ll try this rockin’ Thai-Inspired Quinoa Lentil Stew.

I received no samples, payments, or financial incentives from Half-Baked Harvest, Thai Kitchen, McCormick, CoCo Joy, or Red Boat Fish Sauce for comments or links in this article.

Enjoy! –G

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