Thai Lentil and Quinoa Lettuce Cups
with mango and cucumber salsa
In Thailand, larb is the name for a super simple dish of finely chopped protein sauteed with a bit of seasoning and tossed with fresh herbs and lime juice. We've given this vegetarian version a Cook Smarts twist by using lentils and quinoa and serving it in lettuce cups.
Smarts: As you can imagine, in Thailand this dish is usually very spicy, so don't hesitate to add extra red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you'd like to serve it that way.
- Quinoa, uncooked - 3/4 cup
- Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
- Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 3 Tbsp
- Sugar - 1/4 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/2 tsp
- Mint, fresh - 6 leaves, finely chopped
- Cilantro - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
- Limes - 1, wedges
- Lettuce, butterhead - 12 leaves, sub iceberg
- Water - 1 Tbsp
- Cornstarch - 1 tsp
- Lentils, pre-cooked - 2 cups (look for canned or vacuum-packed pre-cooked lentils)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Peanuts - 1/4 cup
- Hot sauce (opt) - for serving
- Cucumbers - 8 oz, diced
- Mangos - 2, diced
- Vinegar, rice - 1 tsp
- Quinoa - (Skip if made ahead for Monday.) Combine quinoa with stock in a saucepan. Add some salt. Bring to a boil covered. Lower heat, keep covered, and cook until liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make sauce - Chop garlic. Combine garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and red pepper flakes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Mint / Cilantro / Limes / Lettuce - Prep as directed. Combine mint and cilantro. Store limes and lettuce separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cucumbers / Mangos - Prep as directed.
- Make slurry - Whisk together water and cornstarch.
- Lentils - If using canned lentils, drain.
- Combine cucumbers, mangos, and vinegar.
- Heat a wok or large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add sauce and bring to a simmer. Give cornstarch slurry a stir and add to sauce. Simmer for 1 minute to let sauce thicken slightly.
- Stir in lentils and quinoa.
- Remove lentils / quinoa from heat and stir in mint and cilantro. Squeeze half the lime wedges over top.
- Assemble lettuce cups by filling lettuce leaves with lentils / quinoa, peanuts, and hot sauce (if using). Squeeze extra lime wedges over top. Serve mango cucumber salsa on the side or spoon some onto lettuce cups if you’d like. Enjoy!
This was delicious and liked by everyone. I kept the components separate so each person could pick and choose. I also took someone else's suggestion and made mine as a bowl, which worked out great. Will definitely be repeated.0 Helpful
Terrific. I made a little extra sauce and splashed some of that in with the quinoa water instead of using stock.0 Helpful
Love it, would add extra mint next time and maybe cook the quinoa without stock0 Helpful
Entire family loved this!0 Helpful
Extremely good! I made this with ground lamb by accident (grabbed the wrong meat!) and it turned out delicious!0 Helpful
Very enjoyable, the kids loved the finger food aspect of the lettuce cups, and my husband took all the leftovers and made a quick salad for lunch the next day which was less messy for him. Will definitely make again0 Helpful