Vegetable Lentil Stew in Coconut Milk

A bowl of wholesome lentil goodness with the earthy aroma of  mushrooms, pumpkins, broccoli and other veggies. Have it for lunch or dinner – filling and healthy meal option.

“Why do we eat what we eat?”, is the thought that crosses my mind frequently. Why makes us decide it’s gonna be spicy peri-peri chicken nuggets or just a plateful (or bowlful) of comfort food? I believe it’s your mood and your mind that governs the food choices you make, and lo! the widely-feared phrase – emotional eating – comes into the picture.

 Is emotional eating always bad? Nope, it isn’t, at least not if you can consciously balance the macros and micros in it and make it wholesome, healthy and essentially guilt-free.

Each person has his/her own idea of comfort food – something that soothes, refreshes, rejuvenates and even alleviates stress. My choice of comfort foods includes either some of my mother’s/ grandma’s frequently-cooked dishes, but then these need to be paired with rice or are full of simple-carbs – simply not an option when you’re in a strict regime or have hogged on some starches the previous day and HAVE TO go easy on them today. Soups and stews form the alternate comfort-food choice for me – adding in pumpkin/ mushrooms or ladling in some lemongrass paste and coconut milk makes them extra special for me.

If I’m facing the blues/ have a busy day ahead/ just not feeling like cooking/ have a fridge cleanup day, I’ll find myself gravitating towards a homemade Cambodian Khmer Stew, thukpa or just a lentil soup with loads of veggies and sprouts. Another advantage, these are one-pot meals – all you gotta do is add all ingredients to a pot and let them simmer together.

This lentil stew was a sudden brainwave during one such day, and I liked the results so much that I kept repeating it frequently – with different seasonal vegetables and combinations, as per my whim – but this particular combination of vegetables and condiments is a personal favorite often resorted to. Why, you ask? Lentils are an easy source of protein and fiber, and also provide essential micronutrients like Manganese, Potassium, Folate and Iron. Try it to believe the incredible, soul-warming yet simple flavors with such minimal prep!


Serves 6

Preparation Time: 30 minutes


  • 200g red lentils/ masoor dal (whole)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5-6 garlic pods, minced
  • 2 cups pumpkin, cubed
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, washed and sliced into quarters
  • 1 cup broccoli, sliced into florets
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • ¼ cup red cabbage, shredded (optional)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive pomace oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk (preferably homemade)


Wash red lentils thoroughly in water and soak for 15-30 minutes. Rinse well and take care to remove the foam formed on the top. Bring 3-4 cups of water to boil in a pan and add lentils with a pinch of salt. Once the lentils are al-dente, turn off the heat, remove any foam formed on top and reserve the water for the stew.

Heat oil in a deep saucepan/ crockpot and shallow-fry garlic, onions, pumpkins, mushrooms. After they’re partially cooked, add cooked lentils, carrots, broccoli and red cabbage, garam masala, pepper and salt.

Add 8-10 cups of water, cover with a lid and let it simmer on a low flame for about 30 minutes till it achieves the consistency of a stew. Add coconut milk, stir on a low flame.


I’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you, if you tried it. Do post a pic on Instagram and tag #fitfoodiediary in the picture!


Energy 200 calories
Protein 10 g
Fat 5.4 g
Carbohydrates 29 g
Of which, Fiber 8.4 g

*Recipe is for 6 servings; all values in grams.

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