Lentil Egg Roll in a Bowl
with rice / sweet Thai chili sauce
Forget the wrappers and deep frying, this satisfying meal lets the filling found in an egg roll shine. This vegetarian version uses lentils instead of the classic ground meat. Serve it over rice with a sweet Thai chili sauce on top. We last featured this meal in 2020.
Smarts: If not making Monday's dependency meal and looking to save some time, you may want to skip making the Thai chili sauce for tonight’s dinner. You can add some soy sauce or hot sauce to the finished dish if it needs a little flavoring on top.
- Rice, uncooked white or brown - 1 cup
- Vinegar, rice - 1/4 cup
- Water - 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp
- Sugar - 3 Tbsp
- Chili garlic sauce - 2 tsp , more or less to taste
- Cornstarch - 1/2 tsp
- Cabbage, green - 1 lb , shredded (sub coleslaw mix)
- Carrots - 5 oz , shredded (look for pre-shredded to save time)
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Ginger, fresh (opt) - 2 tsp , grated
- Cilantro leaves - 2 Tbsp , chopped
- Limes - 1 , wedges
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Lentils, cooked - 2 cups (use pre-cooked lentils or if cooking from dried, use half the amount of dried and prepare according to package directions)
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 2 Tbsp
- Oil, toasted sesame - 2 tsp
- Lime juice - 2 tsp
- Almonds, slivered or sliced - 1/4 cup
Rice - For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make Sweet Thai Chili Sauce - (Skip if made ahead for Monday.) Combine vinegar, first part of water, sugar, and chili garlic sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until sugar has dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together second part of water and cornstarch. Pour water-cornstarch mixture into sauce and continue cooking for 4 to 6 minutes more until very thick (it should be about as thick as honey). (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Cilantro / Limes - Prep as directed.
Heat a Dutch oven or wok with first part of cooking oil over medium heat. Add lentils, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce and saute until lentils are warmed through and most of the soy sauce has soaked in, 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in sesame oil and lime juice. Set cooked lentils aside and return pan to heat.
Add second part of cooking oil and then cabbage. Increase heat to medium-high. Saute cabbage, adding some water if the pan looks dry, until reduced by half, 6 to 7 minutes.
When cabbage is reduced, add carrots and continue cooking the vegetables together until tender, ~5 minutes more. (Note: Feel free to adjust the cook time so that the vegetables are cooked to your preference. If you’d like them to have some crunch, reduce cook time. If you’d like them more tender, cook for a few minutes more.) Season with some salt and pepper.
Stir lentils and cilantro into carrots and cabbage and cook everything together until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
Serve egg roll filling over rice. Serve Thai Chili Sauce, almonds, and lime wedges on the side to use for topping bowls.