Smoky Kale and Lentil Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pumpkin Seed Cream
5 from 4 votes

These smoky kale and lentil stuffed sweet potatoes make for a hearty and nutritious meal! This is an easy recipe to meal prep and features some of the most nutrient-dense plant foods around: leafy greens, lentils, and sweet potatoes. You’ll finish the dish with a unique vegan cream made with blended pepitas, resulting in a complete and satisfying meal.

An overhead image of a stuffed sweet potato, which has lentils and bright green kale. It's topped with a pumpkin seed cream that's also pictured in a small bowl near the potato.

When it comes to filling, nutritious dinner ideas, I do love a stuffed potato.

Yes, potatoes are wonderful on their own or as side dishes. But one tender, baked, split potato can also be a beautiful foundation for a good meal.

I’ve stuffed potatoes with whole grains, beans, nut-based vegan “cheese,” garlicky greens, spiced chickpeas, and plant-based meat.

Stuffed potatoes can be a wonderful canvas for a meal.

For this particular recipe, I mixed two of my favorite vegan ingredients: lentils and sweet potatoes.

The seasoning is smoky and Southwestern-inspired. The finishing touch is a pumpkin seed cream, inspired by crema, that gives the dish some coolness, creamy texture, and tart acidity.

A low-key approach to stuffed sweet potatoes

“Stuffed potato” is a term that can denote a range of culinary involvement.

Some stuffed potato recipes call for twice baking. Essentially, this means that you bake potatoes once, scoop out and season the filling, re-stuff the potato skins, and bake them again.

Twice baked, stuffed potatoes tend to have creamy flesh and a delightful, crispy topping. A great vegan example would be my loaded garlic kale potatoes.

A metal baking sheet is lined with loaded, garlic kale potatoes.

The downside of this approach is that it’s quite a bit of time and effort.

It’s possible to take a more low-key approach to stuffing potatoes, and these lentil stuffed sweet potatoes are a good example.

Essentially, you need only bake the potatoes, split them open, mash their tender centers a bit, and then top them with whatever your filling/topping ingredients are.

There could be so many types of fillings, with different vegetables, vegan cheeses, plant proteins, grains, or sauces.

In this case of this recipe, I wanted to emphasize the wonderful nutrition offered by both dark, leafy greens and lentils.

In praise of lentils

Lentils have long been one of my favorite sources of protein for plant-based eaters!

In addition to their protein content (9-10 grams per serving, or thereabouts), lentils are great sources of B vitamins, zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

I love the versatility of this small, but mighty legume.

Lentils can be blended into dips and spreads, added to salads, turned into delightful soups, or even incorporated into classic comfort food dishes, like lasagna.

In the case of these lentil stuffed sweet potatoes, the lentils become part of a smoky, textured mix that also includes kale.

The mixture is piled onto the baked sweet potatoes, resulting in a complete, plant-based meal.

What type of lentils should I use?

The lentils that are most easy to find tend to be green or brown lentils. These have a flat, round shape and a soft texture once cooked.

There are also beluga (black) and French lentils, also known as Le Puy lentils, which are smaller in circumference and a bit rounder in shape. I enjoy the firm, distinct texture of both varieties, which are especially nice in salads.

Pardina lentils are sort of an in-between: rounder and more firm than brown lentils, but not as tiny as Le Puy or beluga. These lentils, which are sometimes labeled as “Spanish pardina” lentils, are one of my favorite varieties.

For this recipe, I’d recommend using brown, green, or Pardina lentils.

Pumpkin seed cream (or crema)

The pumpkin seed cream in this lentil stuffed sweet potato recipe is inspired by crema, a tart, creamy condiment in Mexican cuisine.

The cream is unusual for me because I usually rely on cashews for a creamy component in recipes.

Here, I use pepitas, which are a type of hulled pumpkin seed, instead.

I love that pepitas are rich in healthful, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants that may have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Most of the time I use hulled pumpkin seeds as a topping for salads, or I blend them up into dips. Pepitas can also be turned into homemade pumpkin seed milk.

For this recipe, I use a high-speed blender to blend the pepitas into a tangy cream with a very faintly green hue. That color is from the phytonutrients in the seeds!

How to make lentil stuffed sweet potatoes

This is a recipe with multiple steps but a big payoff. Fortunately, none of the steps are very complicated! Here’s how they work.

Step 1: Bake the sweet potatoes

There are different approaches to baking sweet potatoes. You can opt for low and slow, high temperature, slow cooker, and many methods in between.

For the lentil stuffed sweet potatoes, I opt for pricking the potatoes, then roasting them at a higher temperature (425°F / 220°C) for about 45 minutes.

An overhead image of two baked sweet potatoes on a white parchment-lined sheet.
Baking the sweet potatoes at 425°F ensures a meltingly tender interior and vibrantly sweet flavor.

This results in sweet potatoes that are easy to pierce with a knife, easy to mash with a fork once sliced open, and almost meltingly tender.

Step 2: Boil the lentils

I’m quite a firm believer in cooking brown, green, pardina, and black lentils like pasta.

In other words, fill a pot of water, bring it to a boil, add the legumes, and then boil them until they’re tender yet still hold their shape. For most lentils, this is 25-40 minutes of cooking time.

I find that this method creates less guesswork about cooking liquid ratios and cooking time than simmering the lentils with a set amount of water.

While the sweet potatoes bake, you’ll cook your lentils in this fashion, till they’re tender-yet-firm. Drain the lentils well before moving on.

Step 3: Prepare the pumpkin seed cream

To make the cream, or crema, you’ll pumpkin seeds, water, lime juice, and salt in a high speed blender or a powerful personal blender till smooth and creamy.

If you don’t have a high-speed blender or a strong personal/travel blender, you can do this step in a food processor fitted with the S blade.

A sideways image of a personal sized blender, which is being used to whip up a pale green pumpkin seed cream.
The pumpkin seed cream will have a very faint green color—that’s thanks to phytonutrients in the skin of the hulled seeds!

Time-saving tip: if you don’t have time to make the pumpkin seed cream, you can use a store-bought vegan sour cream in this recipe instead.

You could also use my 4-ingredient vegan sour cream, which is made with cashews.

Step 4: Sauté the kale and lentils

Next, you’ll sauté chopped onion till tender and fold in a spice blend of smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Add your kale, which could be curly kale or Tuscan kale. Allow the greens to cook down until they’re tender, yet still a vibrant shade of green.

Finally, fold the lentils into the kale, onion, and spice mixture. Be sure to taste these ingredients and to adjust the salt, crushed red pepper, and lime juice before “stuffing” the sweet potatoes.

An image of two kale and lentil stuffed sweet potatoes, which are being served in a shallow, white ceramic bowl.
Gently portion the kale and lentil mixture over your sweet potatoes, then top them generously with dollops of the pumpkin seed cream.

Step 5: Stuff the sweet potatoes with lentils

Finally, cut the potatoes in half and top each with a generous scoop of the lentil mixture, followed by a few tablespoons of the pumpkin seed cream. Serve or store, as needed.

The Vegan Week

Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.

Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.

Meal prep & storage

I’m a huge fan of using time over the weekend (or whenever I have a break) to prepare vegan meal prep dinners, lunches, and breakfasts.

In fact, I wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to my dedication to meal prep!

Making food ahead of time is such a wonderful way to stay in the habit of cooking and eating homemade food, even if your motivation is low or your time is short.

These lentil stuffed sweet potatoes happen to be a great option for meal prep. The filling can be made up to 4 days in advance of eating—it keeps for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge—and it can be frozen for up to six weeks.

The pumpkin seed cream will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days and can be frozen for up to eight weeks.

Finally, baked sweet potatoes are a great food to meal prep in bulk. They keep nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days, and you can freeze the cooked potatoes for up to six weeks.

For more tips and tricks of the trade, you can check out my beginner’s guide to vegan meal prep.

Is there anything else I can do with the kale and lentil “stuffing”?

I’m so glad you asked!

Actually, the smoky kale and lentil “stuffing” component for this recipe is super versatile. Yes, it’s great with the potatoes, but there are many other things that you can do with it.

Here are some of my other favorite culinary uses:

  • Pile it into a tortilla, fold it, and pan-toast it, quesadilla style
  • Serve it on toast
  • Stir it into cooked rice or quinoa
  • Combine it with tofu scramble in a vegan breakfast burrito
  • Pile it onto a burger bun, à la Sloppy Joe’s
  • Serve it over regular mashed potatoes

The beauty of vegan meal prep is that it gives you an array of cooked items, which you can repurpose creatively if you’d like to.

More vegan sweet potato recipes

If you love this simple dinner idea, then you might also love my beef and zucchini stuffed sweet potatoes, kale and quinoa stuffed sweet potato skins, or twice baked, stuffed sweet potatoes with macadamia “ricotta.”

And here are another 20 wholesome vegan sweet potato recipes to add to your routine.

An overhead image of a stuffed sweet potato, which has lentils and bright green kale. It's topped with a pumpkin seed cream.
An overhead image of a stuffed sweet potato, which has lentils and bright green kale. It's topped with a pumpkin seed cream that's also pictured in a small bowl near the potato.
5 from 4 votes

Smoky Kale and Lentil Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pumpkin Seed Cream

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 4 medium sized sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 3/4 cup brown or green lentils (150g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (120ml)
  • 1 small bunch curly kale, stemmed and chopped (you can also use Tuscan kale or another dark, leafy green of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For the pumpkin seed cream:

  • 1/2 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds, soaked in water for at least 2 hours and drained (60g)
  • 1/2 cup water (120ml)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt


  • Preheat your oven to 425°F / 220°C. Prick the skins of the potatoes with a fork and transfer them to a parchment lined or nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife.
  • While the potatoes bake, bring a pot of water to boil. Add the lentils and cook for 25-35 minutes, or until tender, yet still holding their shape; the lentils should be fully cooked but not mushy. Drain the lentils.
  • To make the cream, add the pumpkin seeds, water, lime juice, and salt to a food processor or high speed blender and blend till smooth and creamy. Adjust the salt to taste.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the smoked paprika, chili, cumin, salt, and broth. Stir everything well. Add the kale and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the kale is completely tender yet still a vibrant green. Fold in the cooked lentils and lime juice and add an extra splash of broth if needed. Taste the kale and lentil mixture; add crushed red pepper to taste and additional salt and lime juice as needed.
  • Cut the baked potatoes in half. Top each split potato with a quarter of of the lentil mixture, followed by a few tablespoons of the pumpkin seed cream. Serve.

Hope you’ll find this nutritious meal to be as comforting and tasty as it is wholesome!


This post was originally sponsored by Whole Foods Market 365. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Visit my privacy policy to learn more.

Categories: Main Dishes
Method: Oven, Stovetop
Ingredients: Kale, Lentils, Sweet Potato
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

Leave a Comment

Star ratings help other readers to find my recipes online. If you loved this recipe, would you please consider giving it a star rating with your comment?

Thank you for your feedback. I'm grateful for your presence in this space!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. Ive heard of just about every other type of vegan “cream” but pumpkin seed is certainly new to me haha. Ill be sire to try this sometime soon

  2. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday and everyone in the family loved it! Except my 6 yrs old. who only eats mushroom and cooked spinach for vegetable and nothing else. Lol. I love the flavor combination and really easy to make! Definitely a keeper! BTW I substituted spinach for kale coz I don’t have it and it still turned out awesome ♥️.

  3. I normally eat boiling sweet potatoes but never tried it as a part of salt dishes. Even the pumpkin seed cream sounds new to me. I’d like to try this interesting recipe soon

  4. HI Gena–This looks fabulous! I often have lentils cooked up and potatoes baked and then I add greens and onions and garlic, etc. I LOVE smoked paprika with lentils and squash and sweet potatoes. Good luck on this very important home stretch, too–with you all the way!! xoxo