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Stir-fried Lentils And Vegetables

“Lentils are friendly—the Miss Congeniality of the bean world.” – Laurie Colwin

Lentils are one of my absolute favourite kind of legumes. I love the texture, the taste, the versatility and the heartiness. I had never (knowingly) had lentils until I was in my mid-late 20’s when my sister cooked them for me at one stage, and I was absolutely hooked. From salads to curries, I actively try different ways of incorporating them into my diet frequently.

A couple of weekends ago, I had spent one afternoon wandering around Homeplus (Tesco) in Jochiwon (조치원) with one of my friends. I had come with a list that I was diligently following, however, as my friend and I started talking about how much we love shopping for food, I ended up abandoning my list and choosing random things. Amongst other things, I picked up kale, spinach and red cabbage.

When I got home, I was trying to think of how I could incorporate the above veggies with the lentils I’d already made into a dish with all the other veggie goodness that was in my fridge. Within the hour, I had a delicious meal on my plate, and I was frantically trying to remember what I’d seasoned my lentils with the night before. Doing things right before bed is not always a good thing!

Eventually it came back to me and a few weeks later, I managed to replicate this recipe. I hope you like it and that you find it as delicious as I do. My favourite thing about this recipe is that you can taste that it’s healthy.

Stir-fried Lentils and Vegetables

Serves 2-3



  • ½ cup cooked/canned marinated green whole lentils
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar*
  • dash of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • ¼ head of red cabbage, chopped into bite size pieces
  • ½  courgette/ zucchini, diced
  • 1 packed cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 packed cup cooked, chopped kale
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
  • ¼ tsp dried sage/ ¾ tsp fresh sage
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • dash of lemon juice
  • dash of balsamic vinegar


  1. Put the lentils** in a seal-able plastic container with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, a little salt and pepper. Close the box, shake it and refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight. If using tinned (canned) lentils, it’s best to rinse before placing the seasoning on them.
  2. Heat a pan on medium-high heat until piping hot***. Once hot, add oil and heat for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the sage, pepper and courgette . Stir fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage and onion to the pan with a dash of lemon juice and stir fry for around 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and continue to stir fry until the courgettes and pepper are slightly browned. The cabbage should be soft and wilted (this can take about 10 minutes).
  6. Add the mushrooms, spinach and kale. Cook a further 5 minutes until the mushrooms are barely softened and browned.
  7. Add the lentil mixture with a dash of balsamic vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes until warm throughout.
  8. Serve immediately.


This can be eaten as a main dish with bread, couscous, rice or a baked potato. It can also be used in place of a salad as a side dish. I got three meals out of this dish, but I accompanied it with a salad and either rice or a baked potato each time.

*If you don’t have balsamic vinegar, you can use any vinegar of your choice.

**I cooked dried green lentils the night before, cooled them and then followed the above directions from step 1.

***To check that the pan is piping hot, flick a little water on to the pan, when it sizzles a lot, add the oil and heat as per step 2.


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