If you have been looking for the quickest and easiest lentil stir fry, this is the recipe for you. It features tender lentils, crunchy broccoli florets, and sweet corn, all served with turmeric rice for a flavor-packed meal. What is best is that you can have this delicious and filling plant-based meal ready to serve on the dinner table in just 20 minutes.
Lentils are versatile and nutritious; they are one of my go-to when looking for a flavor-packed, plant-based meal for my family. This vegan lentil loaf, lentil chicken curry, and lentil bolognese are the other favorites that I highly recommend you check out.
❤️ Why you’ll love it
I absolutely adore this lentil stir-fry recipe for its simplicity and versatility. The combination of tender lentils, crunchy broccoli, and sweet corn creates a delicious texture and taste that is hard to resist.
What sets this recipe apart from other plant-based dishes is how quick and easy it is to make from scratch. You can have a healthy, filling, and colorful meal ready to serve in just twenty minutes. Even if this is your first time cooking a plant-based dish, you will have a meal packed with flavor.
This lentil dish is also versatile, so you can add more vegetables. My favorite ones to add are asparagus, green peas, and mushrooms. The possibilities are endless, and it is a great way to use up any leftover vegetables in your fridge.
🧾 Key ingredients
Onion and garlic are the aromatic backbone of this dish. They are sautéed in olive oil to release their flavors and provide a savory depth to the stir fry.
Broccoli adds a delightful crunch to the stir fry. If you do not want to blanch the broccoli, you can pre-cook the florets in boiling water separately. Just be careful not to overcook them, as they might fall apart in the wok afterward.
Brown lentils are the star of this dish. They are tender, protein-packed, and absorb the flavors of the dish beautifully.
Sweet corn adds sweetness and color to the dish, balancing the savory flavors and making the dish more visually appealing.
Dairy-free cream is an optional ingredient in this recipe. It can add a creamy richness to the stir fry, but the dish is equally delicious without it.
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
If you plan to prepare lots of tasty stir fries, I recommend buying a wok. Its wide, curved sides provide ample space for the ingredients to move around, guaranteeing even cooking and a perfect stir fry. Its high heat retention capacity allows for quick and efficient cooking, preserving the vibrant colors and crisp textures of the vegetables.
Preparing the ingredients
Start by cooking your choice of rice per the instructions on the package. This process typically takes between ten to twenty minutes.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the broccoli. If your florets are small enough, you can skip this step. However, if they are larger, you will need to pre-cook them. Start by cutting the broccoli into florets.
Chop the garlic, and set it aside.
Slice the onions, and set them aside as well.
Making the lentil stir fry
Heat up a wok or frying pan until it is hot. Add the broccoli florets, season them with salt and pepper, and fry them for five minutes.
Add water to the pan until the broccoli florets are covered. Cook them on medium heat for five to six minutes or until the florets are tender but crisp. Once they are ready, drain the water.
Preheat your wok or frying pan. Add some olive oil and cook the chopped onion for a couple of minutes.
Add the chopped garlic to the pan and continue cooking for a couple more minutes.
Now, add canned brown lentils, sweet corn, and your choice of seasoning to the pan. Stir the ingredients together and cook for a couple of minutes.
Now add the pre-cooked broccoli or smaller broccoli florets to the pan as well.
For an optional step, add some dairy-free cream to the stir fry. Stir the ingredients together and wait until the cream starts to boil. Once the stir fry is ready, serve it with the cooked rice.
💡 Expert tip
The key to making this lentil stir fry recipe truly shine depends on properly preparing your broccoli. Blanching is the way to go if you want the broccoli to maintain its vibrant color and a slight crunch.
However, if you prefer a softer texture, pre-cook the florets in boiling water, but be careful not to overcook them as they might fall apart in the stir fry. This step is crucial in achieving your dish’s desired texture and flavor.
Experiment with different types of lentils. You can try using different lentils, such as green, red, or black ones. Each type of lentil will bring a unique flavor and texture to the dish.
Bring in some heat with spices. Add chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes if you like your food with heat. These spices will add a kick to your lentil stir fry without overpowering the other flavors.
Include some umami flavor with mushrooms. If you are a fan of mushrooms, why not add them to your dish? They will provide a unique texture and an earthy flavor to the dish. Remember to add them with the onions to give them enough time to cook.
Try a creamy version with coconut milk. If you want a creamier version of this plant-based stir fry, consider replacing the dairy-free cream with coconut milk. It will give the dish a rich, creamy texture and a subtle coconut flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients.
🥣 Serving ideas
This lentil stir fry is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many ways. For a wholesome, balanced meal, consider serving it with various grains. White or brown rice is a classic choice that perfectly complements the stir fry’s flavors. In the photo, I served it with turmeric rice.
If you are looking for a gluten-free option, quinoa and buckwheat are excellent alternatives. They add a delightful texture and a subtle nutty flavor that pairs beautifully with the lentils and broccoli. You can also experiment with different grain combinations for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
If you do not need to eat gluten-free, bulgur or even couscous are fantastic option. Its chewy texture and mild, nutty flavor make it a great accompaniment to this dish. It adds a satisfying crunch to the meal and provides a good dose of fiber and protein.
Add even more veggies as a side dish like riced sweet potato or cilantro lime rice.
❄️ Storing tips
Storing and reheating this lentil stir fry recipe is simple, and the flavors only intensify after a day or two. The blend of tender lentils, crunchy broccoli, and sweet corn, all served with turmeric rice, makes for a delicious meal that tastes just as good, if not better, the next day.
To store, allow it to cool down completely. Once cooled, transfer it into an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. You can safely store this dish in the fridge for three to four days.
I don’t recommend freezing this dish since the texture of the vegetables, particularly the broccoli, can become mushy once frozen and thawed. This can compromise the overall texture and taste of the dish.
To reheat, you can use either a microwave or a stovetop. If using a microwave, heat it in one minute intervals, stirring in between to guarantee even reheating. For the stovetop, place the stir fry in a non-stick frying pan or a wok and reheat over medium heat, stirring continuously.
No, it is not necessary to pre-cook the broccoli. I often prefer a bit of crunch, so I simply cut the broccoli into small florets and skip the blanching or pre-cooking process altogether. However, if you are working with larger florets, cut them in advance.
When preparing a stir fry, we always start with hard vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus. These vegetables are pre-cooked or blanched first. Then, we add soft vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or mushroom. Towards the end of the cooking process, we add vegetables that only need to be heated up, not cooked, like sugar peas, leafy greens, and any canned legumes like sweet corn, lentils, or chickpeas.
Hard vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus take longer to stir fry. These vegetables need to be pre-cooked or blanched first to become tender but still maintain a crisp texture.
A good stir fry is all about the variety of vegetables. You need hard vegetables for a crispy texture, soft vegetables for a tender bite, and legumes to make it filling. Finally, choosing a grain to garnish it with, like rice or quinoa, completes the dish.
Yes, you can definitely use a non-stick frying pan if you do not have a wok. Just make sure to heat it before adding any ingredients. Once the pan is hot, you can turn back the heat to medium and remember to stir continuously.
Adding dairy-free heavy cream is completely optional. We enjoy both versions equally. The cream can add a rich, creamy texture to the stir fry, but if you prefer a lighter version, feel free to omit it.
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Quick Broccoli Lentil Stir Fry
- Cook rice of your choice as per instructions (10-20 mins).
How to pre-cook broccoli?
- You can skip this step if you cut your florets small enough. Otherwise, you need to pre-cook them in boiling water or blanch them as per below instructions
- Cut broccoli into florets.
- Heat up the wok or frying pan until it’s hot and add the broccoli florets with salt and pepper and fry them for 5 minutes.
- Add water until the broccoli florets are covered. Cook them on medium heat for 5-6 minutes until the florets are tender but still crisp. When ready, drain it.
How to make broccoli lentil stir fry?
- Peel and chop onion and garlic.
- Pre-heat wok or frying pan and cook the chopped onion in olive oil for a couple of minutes.
- Add chopped garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Add blanched broccoli or smaller broccoli florets, canned brown lentils, sweet corn and the seasoning. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
- OPTIONAL: Add the dairy-free cream. Stir and wait until the cream is boiling and your stir fry is ready to be served.
- Serve it with cooked white or brown rice. If you want a little bit of extra color, dye your rice with ½ tsp turmeric.
- If you are cooking this recipe in a wok, make sure to heat it up before adding any ingredients. Once the wok is hot, you can turn back the heat to medium, but ALWAYS stir continuously.
- If you don’t have a wok, don’t worry you can use a non-stick frying pan as well.
- If you don’t want to try blanching the broccoli. You can also pre-cook the florets in boiling water separately. In that case, pay attention not to overcook the florets as they might fall apart in the wok afterward. Or cut the florets smaller and only fry them in the pan for a couple of minutes to turn them tender but crunchy.
- Optional to add dairy-free heavy cream as we like both versions equally.