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 meal has 41 reviews
Made with bison instead of pork, this was amazing and so easy
Absolutely delicious! I added more fish sauce and mixed lime juice directly into the pork at the end to adjust for flavor. Sriracha and the mango salsa on top of the lettuce cups adds a lot. Since this is Thai, I can't help but wonder if basil would add a lot to the pork mix...
So delicious!! Refreshing summer dinner. Loved the textures and combination of hot and cold, and salty sour sweet.
Made with ground chicken and subbed brown rice instead of quinoa. Very good.
Wow, this ended up an unexpected favorite for the whole family - one of whom thinks he doesn’t like fish sauce, one who doesn’t usually eat meat, one who was upset I went ahead and put the rice vinegar on the salad... Every course was a hit as is. Little kids asked to have it again next week! I did make a batch of tofu in the sauce after taking out the pork. Enjoyed by all.
This one didn’t do it for me. I blame my not-ripe-enough mangoes.