Bring bright, tropical flavors to your lunch table with these tropical lentil bowls. With fresh veggies, sweet mango, crunchy cashews, brown lentils and a creamy coconut lime dressing, it's healthy but satisfying and delicious.
Lentils are easy to overlook at lunchtime, but they are one of our favorite proteins! We love cooking a batch of red lentil dal or southwestern sweet potato lentil jar salads for easy meal prep lunches. These tropical lentil bowls are also great for lunch, and work for meal prep with a few modifications.
Not only is it filling and satisfying, but full of different flavors and textures: soft and chewy brown lentils, sweet mango, crunchy cashews and a creamy coconut lime dressing.
I wouldn't normally think to put all these flavors together with lentils but boy do they ever work well together!
Why you'll ♡ tropical lentil bowls
- they are vegan and gluten-free
- the sweet mango, crunchy cashews and coconut lime dressing are fresh, vibrant and delicious
- with a few tweaks, this recipe can work for meal prep
This tropical lentil salad has a wonderful and slightly unusual blend of flavors that is Asian meets the Caribbean.
- Lentils- use one can of cooked brown lentils as the base and protein of this salad. I do not recommend red lentils as they are too mushy for this recipe. Cooked green lentils could potentially work.
- Vegetables- I've used bean sprouts, shredded carrots, and thinly sliced bell peppers, but feel free to mix it up! A bag of broccoli slaw would go great in place of these veggies and cuts down on prep work.
- Mango- the sweet mango goes well with the coconut dressing and cashews, and brings a tropical vibe to the bowls.
- Cashews- crunchy, salty, and great with the mango
Coconut lime dressing
This sweet, tangy, creamy coconut lime dressing absolutely makes the salad.
- Coconut milk- go for full fat as it is so creamy and flavorful. If you use a regular sized can, you will have leftovers. Freeze it in ice cube trays for later!
- Vinegar- to add a tangy flavor to the dressing, we use white wine vinegar. It is tangy but neutral and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients in this recipe.
- Lime zest & juice- the lime zest brings bright, citrussy lime flavor, while the lime juice brings more of a subtle sourness to the dressing.
- Brown sugar- balances the acidity of the lime and vinegar. Swap for honey or maple syrup if you'd like.
- Toasted coconut- optional, but so yummy! Brings extra coconut flavor to the salad and a bit of a crunchy texture.
Prep ahead and storage tips
With a few tricks, you can make this salad ahead for meal prep:
- skip the bean sprouts- they get slimy quickly and loose their crunch
- swap the mango- either keep the mango separate until just before serving, or consider swapping for dried mango. Dice into small pieces for mango flavor in every bite
- reserve the cashews- until just before you serve so that they keep their crunch
- consider jar salads- layer in mason jars in the following order: dressing, lentils, veggies. Shake into a bowl just before serving, add the cashews + mango, and enjoy!
Find my favorite jars and meal prep containers here.
More tasty lunch ideas
- Chicken Fajita Lunch Bowls,
- 60 Healthy Work Lunch Ideas
- 19 Healthy Make-Ahead Lunch Bowls
- Hearty Lentil Soup
- Buddha Bowl Recipe
- 19 oz can of lentils (540 mL; rinsed thoroughly)
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves (chopped)
- 1 cup bean sprouts (rinsed)
- 1 red bell pepper (cut into matchsticks)
- 1 carrot (shredded)
- 1 mango (cubed)
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup coconut milk (full-fat recommended)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoons lime zest
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons toasted coconut
- Combine all lentil bowl ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth.
- Drizzle salad with dressing just prior to serving.
- skip the bean sprouts– they get slimy quickly and loose their crunch
- swap the mango– either keep the mango separate until just before serving, or consider swapping for dried mango. Dice into small pieces for mango flavor in every bite
- reserve the cashews– until just before you serve so that they keep their crunch
- consider jar salads– layer in mason jars in the following order: dressing, lentils, veggies. Shake into a bowl just before serving, add the cashews + mango, and enjoy!
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