Kung Pao Lentils


Recipe: Richa Hingle


When you head to your local grocery store to get ingredients for this tasty recipe, make sure to pay the bulk section a visit. Not only is it a great place to find healthy alternatives for snacks and meals, but it’s also an easy way to help regulate waste (since you can choose precisely the amount of an item you may need).


½ cup dry brown lentils, washed and drained
1½ cups water
A generous pinch of salt for taste


2 to 3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. hoisin sauce (or use more soy sauce)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 to 3 tsp. raw sugar (or use 1 to 2 tsp. maple syrup or other sweetener)
¼ tsp. lime zest
2 tsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. Water


2 tsp. grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
½ cup chopped white or red onion
4 dried red chilies like arbol or red chinese, broken into halves (or use red pepper flakes to taste)
3 tbsp. cashew or peanuts
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup celery, chopped
Use lemon juice and black pepper for garnish

How To Make

Cook the Lentils:

Combine the lentils water and salt in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat. about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender to preference. Let the lentils sit for 5 minutes before using. Drain excess water if needed and keep aside. Or use 1 1/4 cup cooked lentils, chickpeas or beans.

Make the Sauce:

Combine all the ingredients (under sauce) into a bowl. Mix well to combine and keep aside.

Cook the Veggies:

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add onion and chillies, then cook for 3 minutes. Add the cashews and mix for a few seconds. Add the garlic, ginger, peppers, and celery. Mix well, and then cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Compost the tunic (outer sheaths) of the onion and garlic, the seeds/stalks of the red chilli and peppers, as well as the peeled skin of the ginger.  Don’t forget to toss the head/unneeded branches of the celery in the green bin too.

Add in sauce and cooked lentils and mix well. Add some more water if you like extra sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce thickens and some is absorbed by the lentils. Taste and adjust spice and sweet. Add red pepper flakes to taste, if needed and mix-in. Garnish with a dash of lemon juice and black pepper.

Serve with cooked rice or grains of choice.

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