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 absolutely delicious! My family doesn't care for quinoa, so I substituted an equal quantity of brown rice and it turned out perfectly! Excellent flavor. I omitted the cilantro and mint and it still turned out great! I've been asked to keep this in the meal rotation. It's a little messy but worth it.0 Helpful
OMG. Healthy, flavorful and fresh. There was a lot of chopping but it was worth it. Used turkey with a shallot. Reduced quinoa to only 1 dry cup. Used romaine... Not as round but it's what I had in the house. A new fav0 Helpful
loved the mix, I may have used too much shoyu, but I added extra cucumber and it had a good balance0 Helpful
Loved this for it's simplicity and flavor but next time will add lemongrass and red onion into the larb.0 Helpful
Meh. definitely flavorful.0 Helpful
So tasty and easy! Our kids loved it as well. Definitely messy (wish we’d eaten outside...) but worth it.0 Helpful