Thai Basil Coconut Lentils Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Thai Basil Coconut Lentils

15 reviews / 4.9 average
Thai basil coconut lentils in bowls with basil on the side.

So you love basil?

and coconut milk?

and lentils?

Um, surprise! I do! I actually love lentils!

I also love lentils' Filipino cousin, Monggo beans. Let me say that again: I like to eat something called Monggos. Monggggos. Monggity Mongga Monggo Beans. Is it hot in here?

Thai basil coconut lentils in a bowl with a spoon.

At the risk of always talking about how hot it is, can I tell you what's hot in a frizzy-hair-change-your-sweaty-clothes-wipe-your-shiny-face kind of hot?

Making a recipe video in a Filipino kitchen with no AC.

But we made one anyways.

Cause I kind of like being hot. Not.

What I actually love is healthy food that gives my taste buds happy thoughts, and these coconut lentils fit the bill.

These Thai basil coconut lentils have the most amazing flavor! Peanuts, basil, squash, lentils, and a fresh Thai seasoning paste called tom kha. |
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A picture of Thai Basil Coconut Lentils

Thai Basil Coconut Lentils

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


These Thai basil coconut lentils have the most amazing flavor! Peanuts, basil, squash, lentils, and a fresh Thai seasoning paste called tom kha.


  • 1 cup dried green or brown lentils, or monggo beans
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 large kabocha squash (about 3-4 cups cubed)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tom kha paste
  • cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt
  • fresh basil and chopped peanuts for topping


  1. Cook the lentils in a pot of boiling water for about 45 minutes or until soft. Drain the water and set aside.
  2. While lentils are cooking, saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the cabbage, season with salt, and stir fry until the cabbage begins to soften. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the squash. Season with chili powder, cayenne, and salt - or any seasonings you like. Add the coconut milk and simmer the squash for 8-10 minutes or until soft but not mushy. Add the tom kha paste and stir until mixed in with the coconut milk.
  4. Add the cooked cabbage and lentils to the squash and gently stir to combine. Top each bowl with fresh basil and chopped peanuts.


Tom Kha paste is a Thai seasoning that has a lemongrass, garlic, hot pepper, and ginger-y flavor. The flavors are really phenomenal. I bought it at the big grocery store here in Cebu and found it with the curry paste and other spices and pastes. If your grocery store doesn't carry it, check at an Asian market.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: thai basil lentils, coconut lentils, tom kha paste

By the way, do you remember those Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils? Similarly delicious.

Happy vegetabling, friends!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t even care what you were cooking; I watched the video just to hear your voice. (Did you color your hair? It looks fabulous! Also, I am reading a book called Superfoods RX: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. It’s a practical, yet sufficiently scientific book and I’m loving it! The book names many of the foods you regularly use in your posted recipes. So, way to go, Dr. Ostrom!)

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I actually recorded this video the DAY I dyed my hair. So much for subtle, right? 🙂 I’ll add the Superfoods book to my to-read list! I love stuff like that. I also love sugar, but whatever.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Loved the video and have already watched it twice. I’m sure I’ll be watching it a bunch more just because its so fun to see you and hear you “in person.” You make some of my least favorite ingredients, such as cabbage and lentils, look darn good. And thank you, Bjork. The video recipe is a great idea. Thank you both for letting us follow along vicariously on your adventure.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Roxie! 🙂 I am not really a cabbage person either, but soaked in coconut milk and covered with basil and peanuts, it’s so yummy! Hope everything is going well back at Edg!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    mm look at this… the creamy goodness. Love it!

    PS. I bought your ebook and I already see my photography improving dramatically. I never did my food photography vertically before but I can see what you mean; it totally changes the whole look of the images!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love lentils too! Hooray! Are monggo means the same as mung beans? Because I definitely have some of those kicking around–maybe I’ll give them a try here!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I think it sounds weird to put coconut milk in a savory dish. However, I tried your curry chickpea dish and it was delish. I highly recommend everyone give it a try. I guess I will have to make this also. I also tried a sweet potato/tomato/peanut butter dish called ground-nut stew – it is a low country dish. I thought those were the weirdest ingredients that I ever saw and did not go together. It is absolutely wonderful. So from now on I am reserving my opinions until I taste it. I am loving trying new things that I definitely would not have been brave enough to eat when I was a little younger. Liking the video.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Awesome job on the video, Lindsay! It’s such a time saver for your readers to see a quick run through of how you did everything. I’ve been wanting to do videos and actually shot one recently. HOWEVER, mine needs so much editing that I don’t know if it’s ever going to make it to my site. You are so far ahead of me. 🙂 And, BTW, the dish looks awesome. I happen to love all of the ingredients you used. Pinned it.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Well, you’ve done it again. I have a whole menu planned out for the next seven days and you go and screw it all up. ‘Cause I want THIS now. Dang it.
    I just saw mung beans at a little Asian market by my house today and wondered what to do with them. Now I know. I’ll have to pick up a bag and try them out.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Well, it will probably be lentils rather than beans for me, but this sounds just a little different to what I have made and I cannot wait to try it! Thanks so much for the recipe which has already been filed 🙂 ! Love the inclusion of the cabbage and cannot wait to taste . . . Oh, just scrolled down [a ‘hurry day’!]: oh yes, mung beans are no problem!!!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hhhmmm, this sounds really good. You two wine drinkers at all? I work at a winery and always recommend a Viognier with Thai food. If you see a Viognier out there give it a try.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Gluten-Free, Dairy Free, and Vegan! Looks so delicious!
    Guess what. I think I have all the ingredients except for the squash/sweet potato and the tom kha paste! I might pick them up tomorrow and serve this for lunch.

    I’ll let you know if it passes the kids’ test!

    Looks so delish!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love the video!! Great job! And loved seeing you make a dish with monggo beans!!! Hooray for monggo, really and truly 🙂 Your version sounds awesome!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I was going to ask the same thing as other commenters – did you color your hair? And for your frizzy comment c’mon slick and pretty girl. I am super excited to try this recipe since I love lentils and basil. Sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing and your video was so fun to watch!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Absolutely delicious. Love the texture and the flavors. Will definately make this again.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    making a video- SO CUTE! You are adorable! Oh and guess what? I’m going out for Thai tonight, but I sorta kinda wish I could just make this at home instead. I’ll have to tell my bf that’s what we’re doing instead of going out the next time we want Thai! 🙂

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love the video, it so professional looking and you are awesome in it – not awkward at all (I say this knowing that as soon as I get in front of the camera I will be a regular old Michael Scott, and everyone will cringe as they watch). Also, this recipe looks amazing!!! I love all of those flavors!!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      But Michael Scott is amazing. 😀 I know what you mean – and definitely there is plenty of awkward footage from this video that’s now in the trash!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      The closest thing I can think of for flavor and consistency would be yellow curry paste (or green) but really, the flavors of the Tom Kha are so unique that I don’t think the taste would be exactly the same. Still delicious, though, I’m sure! I love all kinds of curry pastes in all kinds of everything. 🙂

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsey you are looking simply beautiful, and Bjork I love each shot you have taken in this video.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay and Bjork, love what you’re doing here! Ooh, and Thai basil! Coconut milk! Lentils! Yes, please! And, yes, though I am not personally familiar with the hot in a frizzy-hair-change-your-sweaty-clothes-wipe-your-shiny-face kind of hot, I AM all too familiar with the sweat ‘stache kind of hot — perhaps you guys are familiar with that too? Anyhow, great work guys, and so glad I stumbled upon Skillful Cook. Look forward to dropping by again soon to see what you all are cooking up! You’re most welcome to stop by my neck of the woods anytime. Much yum!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Finally a lentil recipe with no tomatoes! I’m always looking for new lentil recipes and will give this one a whirl asap.
    PS: I started reading your blog a little while after starting my own – when I googled something about monetizing a food blog. You guys are generous with your tips and information and that is so appreciated.
    But I just really enjoy your blog – the recipes, the peek into your new life’s realities – it’s always a fun place to stop and sit for a few minutes.