This sweet potato lentil curry is an easy and wholesome vegan meal made with simple ingredients. Lentils and sweet potatoes are simmered until tender in a satisfying Thai curry broth. Creamy coconut milk mellows things out, while lime juice brightens and spinach adds extra color and nutrition. This family favorite is ready in as little as 20 minutes!
Thank you to Stahlbush Island Farms for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
When the cupboards are looking a little bare, curry is a meal I often fall back on. While curry often brings to mind the many types of Indian dishes, this stew (or thick soup?) is Thai-inspired. It has a subtle sweetness from the (you guessed it) sweet potatoes, heartiness from the lentils, and rich flavor from Thai curry paste. Serve over a bed of rice or simply with side of bread for a quick and nourishing vegetarian main.
How to Make Sweet Potato Lentil Curry
Step 1: Prepare your ingredients
There’s very little in the way of chopping or preparation for this recipe, except for an onion, ginger and garlic. I also saved time by using Stahlbush Island Farms’ Frozen Chopped Sweet Potatoes. Having your ingredients measured out makes things go much smoother and the whole cooking experience pretty relaxing!
Step 2: Sauté the Onion and Aromatics
This step takes only a few minutes. Once the onion has softened and the garlic, ginger and curry paste are fragrant, we’re onto the next step! We’re adding in a bit of tahini here as well for some warm umami flavor and richness.
Step 3: Add the Soup Stock (or Water) and Lentils
Depending on the lentils you use, you may add the sweet potatoes at this stage, too. Red split lentils take about the same amount of time to cook as the sweet potato. If you use another variety of lentil, give them a head start here; add the sweet potatoes later so they don’t become overcooked. In either case, you can step away from the stove for about 15 minutes while dinner takes care of itself.
Step 4: Add the Last Few Ingredients, and Enjoy!
After 15 minutes, if you aren’t using red lentils, this is when you add the sweet potatoes. In goes the coconut milk and soy sauce for a bit more umami, and let everything simmer another 20 minutes .
If you’re using red lentils and they’re cooked, you can add the rest of the ingredients. Here, we’re adding a squeeze of lime to cut the sweetness and baby spinach for some greens. Other varieties of leafy greens work well here, too, like chopped chard or kale cut into ribbons.
Serve the Sweet Potato Lentil Curry over hot rice, quinoa, mashed potatoes or rice noodles. It’s great on its own in a bowl with a side of warm flatbread.
Tips for Making Sweet Potato Lentil Curry:
I used to make this curry a lot when my son had started solids and he loved it. It purees well for babies or for those who aren’t big into texture. If you’ve added the spinach before blending, the color will be somewhat brownish. To keep it pretty , leave the spinach out, adding it once it’s pureed if you like. Thin with water or broth to the desired thickness.
Thai Curry Paste
Curry paste also varies wildly in heat across brands so go conservative if you’re sensitive to heat. You can always add more in, but it’s hard to temper once the curry paste has been added. Add more once everything is cooked, by whisking the paste in a bit of hot water before adding it in. Take note of the ingredients as well, as some do contain fish or shellfish.
Lentils are inexpensive nutrition powerhouses, really easy to cook and don’t require any soaking like other legumes or dried beans. There are different types, each with their own characteristics.
For the images of the Sweet Potato Lentil Curry you see here, I used French lentils. I like how they keep their shape when they cook so the curry isn’t as thick.
Red lentils cook in as little as 15 minutes and will add creaminess and their pretty color to the curry. They don’t hold their shape once cooked so they’re excellent for thickening soups and curries like this one. Leftovers may have to be thinned with additional broth or water to get the consistency desired. I’ve used red lentils in this curry and we loved it, especially for pureeing. Red lentils can be cooked for the same amount of time as the sweet potatoes, about 20 minutes.
Brown lentils are somewhere in the middle – they maintain their shape better than red lentils but still tend to fall apart and thicken things. Lentil varieties other than red lentils need about 35-45 minutes to cook.
Want to learn more about lentil varieties? This lentil article is a short but comprehensive one!
As with most curries or stews, the flavors in this Sweet Potato Lentil Curry are even better the next day. Lentils continue to thicken the curry once cooled, so you may wish to thin the curry with water or broth when reheating.
This curry freezes really well, too. Perfect for meal prep and your freezer stash of last minute healthy meals!
More One Pot Dinners:
- Vegan Chili Pot Pie
- Pesto Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes and Chickpeas
- Mexican Inspired Baked Rice Casserole
- One Skillet Baked Greek Lemon Chickpeas and Rice
If you make this Sweet Potato Lentil Curry, please give it a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration and on Facebook. Thank you for reading!
Sweet Potato Lentil Curry
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion diced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger microplaned
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1-3 tbsp Thai curry paste*
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 cup lentils** sorted and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth or water, adding salt to taste at the end of cooking
- 566 g frozen cubed sweet potatoes or about 4 cups peeled/cubed sweet potatoes (3/4"/2 cm pieces)
- 15 oz canned coconut milk
- 1 tbsp soy sauce use tamari to make this gluten-free
- 3 oz baby spinach (may use chard or kale ribbons) about 3 cups
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- fresh cilantro and toasted sesame seeds for serving, if desired
- rice, quinoa, rice noodles, mashed potatoes or flat bread for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the onion until softened, 2-3minutes. Add in the ginger, garlic, curry paste and tahini, stirring to coat the onions and cooking for a minute.
- Stir in the broth and lentils. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender about 15 minutes. If using red split lentils, add the sweet potatoes now with the lentils, otherwise give the lentils a head start so your sweet potatoes don't overcook.
- After the 15 minutes, stir in the sweet potatoes (if not using red lentils), coconut milk and soy sauce, simmering for another 20 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.
- Stir in the spinach and lime juice. Serve over hot rice or rice noodles, if desired. Garnish with cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and lime wedges if desired.
The Nutrition Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the Nutrition Information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.
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Sunday 4th of December 2022
Wow this was absolutely delicious! Easy to make on a lazy winter Sunday afternoon! I used the same yellow curry paste you use and found 2 TBSP to be perfect. Not spicy at all but 3 tbsp probably would have been too salty given the high salt content of that paste. Thank you!!
Bronwyn Fraser | Crumbs & Caramel
Monday 5th of December 2022
So happy you enjoyed the curry, Shannon! Thanks for taking the time to share!