These curried sweet potato lentils are so delicious and easy to make! They’re ready in under an hour, and the leftovers will keep you satisfied for days.

Two small stoneware bowls contain a vibrant, orange colored mixture of curried sweet potato lentils.

I’ve been making this dish of soupy, sweet, savory curried sweet potato lentils for years now. It’s a favorite: flavorful, easy to prepare, and very filling. You can serve the recipe over quinoa or rice, or you can pair it with some whole wheat pita, naan, or chapatis.

The recipe is also adaptable—more on the many variations of ingredients you can use below.

Best of all, it’s perfect for your weekly meal prep. As with soup, I think the leftovers of the curried sweet potato lentils only become more flavorful. The dish freezes very easily, too.

A close up photograph of curried sweet potato lentils in a small bowl, topped with chopped herbs.

Curried red lentil sweet potato ingredients

I love the simple ingredient list in this recipe. Here are the highlights:

Red lentils

Red lentils are a favorite of mine thanks to their super speedy cooking time and creamy texture. They “melt” into soups and stews like this one, without any need for blending.

I usually think it’s fine to swap French, pardina, brown, or green lentils within recipes. But I don’t recommend swapping red lentils for those, and vice versa.

If you need to substitute in this recipe, yellow lentils are my recommendation! They cook just as quickly as red, and they’ll also give these curried sweet potato lentils a pretty, orange color.

Sweet potatoes

Any orange or white sweet potato will work in the recipe. I don’t recommend purple sweet potatoes, only because they’ll give the dish a swamp-y color.

If you don’t have sweet potatoes, you can use cubed winter squash (kabocha or butternut) instead.

Coconut milk

When I first developed this recipe, I always added coconut milk for creaminess at the end. I still like that variation, but I generally use cashew cream rather than coconut milk in my recipes nowadays. It’s lower in saturated fat, which I like, I think it’s creamier, and I prefer the sweet, neutral flavor of cashews to the taste of coconut.

So, use full-fat coconut milk or my all-purpose cashew cream here: whichever suits your preferences and needs. Or, you can also use a heaping half cup of unsweetened, plain vegan yogurt. There are lots of varieties available nowadays!

Spices

My spice blend in the curried sweet potato lentils is a mix of turmeric, curry powder, and garam masala. There is some overlap here (the curry blend contains turmeric, and garam masala and conventional curry powder usually share some spices in common), but each adds something different.

What type of curry powder should I use?

There are many curry powder variaties, so of course seeing “curry powder” in an ingredient list can be a little misleading! Generic, pre-made “curry powder” in grocery stores is usually derived from a British, colonial adaptation of curry spice blends.

I use one and a half teaspoons of that type of curry in this recipe. I prefer a mild curry powder, but you can use a Madras curry powder if you would like a little heat.

Are curry powder and garam masala the same?

Not exactly. Garam masala may have some of the same ingredients as a curry powder blend, but it usually has fewer components. While it is often stronger in flavor than curry powder, it’s usually less hot.

I always taste the cardamom in garam masala—it’s such a distinctive flavor, and it really enhances these curried sweet potato lentils.

Two small, gray bowls have been filled with a plant-based, soupy dish of curried sweet potato lentils. Each bowl is garnished with chopped, fresh herbs.

Storing and freezing curried sweet potato lentils

This dish is so straightforward to make, there’s not a lot to say about the actual cooking process.

But it is worth noting how great the curried sweet potato lentils are for leftovers! The leftovers get more flavorful as they sit in the fridge. You can store them there, in an airtight container, for up to five days.

If you don’t plan to eat the curried sweet potato lentils within that time, you can freeze them (in a big portion or small portions), for up to six weeks.

I love using this dish in weekly meal prep/batch cooking. It takes very little effort to make, encourages me to blend up some cashew cream (which I can then use in other dishes), and it’s so enjoyable to eat.

More lentil and sweet potato goodness

What is it about the combination of lentils and sweet potatoes? For whatever reason, they just work beautifully together. A lot of my favorite recipes feature both. For example:

5 from 2 votes

Curried Sweet Potato Lentils

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 2 medium sized sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (see notes above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (substitute all-purpose cashew cream)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Sauté the vegetables until the onion is soft and clear, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 2 minutes. Add a few tablespoons water to the pot to help prevent sticking if necessary.
  • Add the lentils, sweet potato, turmeric, garam masala, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine everything. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for twenty-five minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potato are tender. Stir in the 1/2 cup coconut milk and lime juice. Serve.
  • Curry will keep for up to four days in the fridge. Leftovers can be frozen.

Notes

Leftover curry will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. They can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Two small, circular ceramic bowls hold a golden mixture of plant based food that has been topped with chopped cilantro

Hope this easy, satisfying, flavorful dish will become as trusted and beloved a part of your meal prep as it is mine!

xo

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Recipe Rating




    20 Comments
  1. Looking forward to making this! If I were to make it in the crockpot, would I set it to low for two to three hours? Do you think that would work? The stove in my apartment only functions on high or not at all, so I am looking for an alternative!

    Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this last night and it was delicious! We added a little less water and it was perfect 🙂

  3. I will be adding this to my tried and true soup recipes. Easy to make and wonderful to enjoy.

  4. Loved how simple and tasty this recipe was! I get overwhelmed when recipes have too many ingredients and usually end up buying things I never use again. This is something I could easily make on a regular basis. Thanks!

  5. Hi, this looks absolutely delicious! My question is: since I do not have coconut milk in my house as a regular food item, can I omit it or substitute it for almond or soy milk? what option would be best in your opinion? Thank You

  6. Any recs for curry powder? I’ve not been too impressed when I use random curry mixes in recipes (they’re typically bland, but always need some adjusting or something that just throws the whole recipe off).

  7. This sounds yummy; curry is one of my favorites, and for some reason I don’t make it very often. We eat soups and stews year round-love them! Thnx for sharing!

  8. Hi! Add the onion sauté time 🙂

    Looks great. Lately I’ve been able to find organic Japanese sweet potatoes and I’ve been using them instead of regular sweet potatoes. I wish I’d tried them years ago. Just a nice alternative… kind of crumblier, denser, a little sweeter even. And they make goooood fries.

  9. Love this recipe! Its funny because I do the same thing, I write all about eating seasonal and then on a warm 80 degree day I find my self craving soup! Its good to eat with the seasons but its also important to listen to your body! Thanks for sharing:)

    • Hi Heather, I can imagine that any beans or peas would be great here (kidney beans, cannellini, chickpeas, pinto beans, etc). Or for something quite different, but still delicious, you could use crumbled up tempeh 🙂

  10. I haven’t made curry in a really long time. It was always one of my favorite flavors, but ever since a bad experience I had about five years ago (yes, FIVE!), I’ve had a slight aversion. Damn, food aversions can last so long. This looks amazing, though. It’s making me miss curry! Love the side of kale, by the way. Haha! You just can’t help yourself. #kaleaddictsanonymous (It’s okay. I’m a member, too.)

    • My boyfriend got sick from a tomato soup at Jewel probably almost ten years ago and he still. won’t eat. tomato soup. lol…

  11. Yum! I love curries! Especially ones with coconut milk, and double especially ones with sweet potato! 🙂
    Couple questions: idk if this is my computer, but the instructions say sauté the onion for XX minutes?
    And: is the coconut milk full-fat canned or lite?
    Thanks!

  12. Looks fabulous – I love soup in any weather! Just a note: Do you mean to say “stir in the 1/2 cup coconut milk” instead of oil?