Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

This is a decidedly un-Spring like dish.  But file it away in your mind for the time when you need a good, hearty stew next winter!  Also, the color might seem a bit weird, but trust me, you won’t be thinking about the color after the first bite!

curried lentil stew with yogurt, coconut and lime

The ingredient list of this soup might look a bit intimidating.  But, when you look closely you’ll realize that most of it is actually spices.  They’re all ones we usually have around, but if you don’t then don’t completely disregard it.  When I first started cooking (once a week during grad school and ate it all. week. blah!), I didn’t know what spices I’d use most often.  So then I’d end up buying a $4 container only to use a teaspoon.  Until I discovered our local co-op store who sold spices in bulk.  This meant that I could spend pennies getting just what I needed for a recipe.  If you have a store around you that does it, I highly recommend it.  Just get what you need, and if you keep needing that spice time and time again then you know you should buy more of it.

Another reason I like this recipe is because people are often afraid of dried goods when they shouldn’t be.  Lentils are a great introduction to the dried world because you don’t have to soak them in advance like you do beans.  They do take a little longer to cook, but it’s a perfect opportunity to do the prep dishes  or get lunch ready while you’re waiting.  Not to mention the texture is a lot better than with canned.  They end up being tender but not a pile of mush and have plenty of time to soak up all of the yummy flavors of the dish.

Finally, this recipe is infinitely customizable.  The carrots and mushrooms were an addition from the original recipe, and I had even intended to put spinach in it but forgot.  You could add or remove many of the veggies here to make it just how you want or use up what you have in the crisper.

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

Adapted from Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes: Vegetarian Meals

Serves 4-5


  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • heaping 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 T grated fresh ginger
  • heaping 1/2 t ground cumin
  • heaping 1/2 t ground coriander
  • 1/6 t cayenne pepper
  • 6 ounces of sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (1 medium or lots of little baby ones like we had)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 can broth (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 pound dry lentils (rinsed)
  • 3 cups water
  • yogurt, coconut and lime to serve
  1. Start by chopping your onion and mushroom to get things going.onions and mushroomsThen, in a large dutch oven melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and mushrooms along with a bit of salt and cook until browning.
  2. Chop the rest of your veggies while those are browning.celery, carrots and sweet potatoes
  3. Add aromatics to the softened onions and mushroom (garlic, curry, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne) and cook for about a minute.onions, mushrooms and aromatics
  4. Add sweet potatoes, carrots and celery and stir to of veggis added in to pan
  5. Add broth, water and lentils to pan and mix thoroughly.veggies, lentils and broth
  6. Cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and keep covered cooking for about 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.  It’ll start to thicken as the lentils absorb the liquid.  thickened soup
  7. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, some coconut and some lime juice.

curried lentil soup bowl

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