Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite ingredients, especially during fall. This Sweet Potato Red Lentil and Coconut Curry is vegan comfort food at its best and consists of a handful of simple ingredients. It's vegan and gluten-free. The best part is that it's ready in under 30 minutes and includes a great variety of plants as well as some plant-based protein.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's super nutritious! Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants and vitamins (beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium for instance).
- It also contains lentils- they are a great source of plant based protein.
- It's ready in less than 30 minutes!
- It's freezer- and meal-prep friendly!
Ingredients & Substitution Notes
- Red Onion: I prefer using red onion for this recipe simply because of the taste. White onion would work just as well though.
- Lentils: I usually use red lentils for this recipe but any type of lentils would work here. You could use red, yellow or green lentils. Make sure to adjust the amount of veggie stock/ water though. Green lentils usually need more liquid (and a longer cooking time) than red or yellow lentils. You could also replace the dry lentils with canned lentils. In that case, just leave out the veggie stock, let sweet potatoes simmer in a mix of chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. Add canned lentils at the end, when sweet potatoes are already soft.
- Veggie Broth: I use store bought veggie broth powder in all my recipes that contain veggie stock. I make sure that it contains almost no additives- it might take a while to find an appropriate one but once you've found a brand that you like, it saves a lot of time and energy. With the veggie stock powder that I use, 1 tablespoon of powder is enough to produce 2-3 cups of veggie stock.
- Indian Spices: The spice blend of curry, coriander, cumin and garam masala powder is absolutely essential for this recipe. They give this curry its distinct taste and shouldn't be replaced or omitted. I used mild curry powder in this recipe- feel free to use hot curry powder it you prefer a spicier taste. Adding some chilli flakes would do the job as well.
- Coconut Milk: I used full-fat creamy coconut milk for this recipe to achieve a really creamy texture. If you'd like you could use only half of the coconut milk and add some water or another type of plant milk instead- the result won't be as creamy though. Instead of coconut milk you could use yoghurt- but the taste and texture will change slightly!
- Rice: I love having brown rice as a side dish for this sweet potato curry. Alternatively you could also enjoy it with cauliflower rice. Naan bread would also make an amazing side dish.
How to Make Sweet Potato Red Lentil Curry
Preparing this curry is really easy so it's a great option if you're short on time.
STEP 1: Fry onion & garlic. Start by frying onion and garlic in a large pan until onion is soft and translucent.
STEP 2: Add other ingredients. Then simply add all of the following ingredients: spices, chopped tomatoes, a pinch of salt,
sweet potato cubes, lentils and veggie broth. Let simmer until lentils are soft and ready to eat.
STEP 3: Coconut Milk. In a last step, add some coconut milk to make this curry even creamier.
Feel free to throw in some extra veggies. Baby spinach or olives would taste great for instance!
Serve with side dish of choice (I highly recommend (brown) rice or naan), sprinkle on some cashews and enjoy!
The amount of time needed for the lentils to be soft will depend on the type of lentils you use. The recipe works with a variety of lentils- just make sure to adjust the liquid needed for each type. Start by adding 1,5 cups of veggie broth and gradually add more until your lentils are soft. For the recipe below I used red lentils.
Sides- What To Serve With This Curry?
- Flatbread: I absolutely love naan as a side dish with every curry there is.
- Rice: Rice makes a great addition to this curry. I prefer using brown rice over white because of its nutritional value.
- Salads: Different salads would also taste great with this curry, especially as a starter.
Many people like using an instant pot to prepare their stews and curries. Especially if you're using lentils that need to be cooked for quite some time, using some sort of slow cooker might be a great idea. However, I personally haven't tried it yet.
This dish is great for meal prepping. It can easily be prepared the evening before and left in the fridge overnight. Simply warm it up the next day. If you're adding cashews, I would not add them the night before but shortly before enjoying it. Otherwise, they might lose their crunchy texture.
This curry is also freezer-friendly. If you cooked really big batches you could divide it into various small portions and freeze it.
Between 3-4 days. Make sure you store it in an airtight container.
More easy 1-pot recipes
Sweet Potato Red Lentil and Coconut Curry Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil *sub soy sauce for an oil-free recipe
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 big (or 2 small) sweet potatoes, diced
- ½ cup red lentils *see notes
- 1 ½ cups veggie broth *see notes
- 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1x 15 oz tin chopped tomatoes
- 1x 15 oz can creamy coconut milk *see notes
- side dish of choice (rice, naan...)
- Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic and fry until translucent.
- In the meantime, give the lentils a good wash (works best in a sieve).
- Add sweet potato cubes, lentils, veggie broth, spices, chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt.
- Bring to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer with a lid on for about 10-12 minutes.
- Then add coconut milk and let simmer without a lid for another 10 minutes. At that point you could also throw in some extra vegetables like baby spinach leaves, some kale or olives (optional).
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve with side dish of choice (rice, naan…) and a drizzle of fresh lime juice. I also highly recommend adding some chopped cashews on top.
- Enjoy right away or store it in an airtight container - it will taste just as good the next day! It’s also freezer-friendly!
- Lentils: The amount of time and liquid needed for the lentils to be soft depends on what type of lentils you choose. The amount of veggie broth mentioned above works for red lentils. If you use green or yellow lentils, you might need to adjust the amount of vegetable broth.
- Spices: The intensity of spices can vary from brand to brand. Make sure to taste and adjust seasoning.
- Coconut Milk: If you would like to omit the coconut milk, you could use yoghurt instead. However, this will change the texture as well as taste of this curry a bit and you will need to add more veggie broth.
- How long does it last in the fridge? Between 4-5 days. Make sure to store it in an airtight container!
- Freezer Friendly? Yes.
I doubled recipe as per instructions at head. Too much liquid. Now have soup. Help!
Hi Jean, first of sorry to heat that. We make this dish at least once a week and the liquid ratio has always worked out so far. Which type of lentils did you use?
Red lentils. I upped recipe x 2 and metric version. American cups are beyond me😉. States 1400mls broth/stock. Plus 2 tins toms and 2 tins coconut milk. Both 400 mls. Blended and turned into soup so every cloud as they say..
Absolutely delicious! Made it last week with rice and making it again this week for friends. Recipe also allows for additions such as spinach! Fab recipe 😊
So happy to hear that! Thanks for your feedback 🙂
Here’s my Instant Pot version:
Red Curry Lentils with Sweet Potatoes
• 3 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
• 3 pounds sweet potatoes or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 5 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 tablespoons)
• 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
• 3 cups water
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
• 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
• ½ lime, juiced
• Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
• Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
1. In the Instant Pot, heat the olive oil using sauté function. Add the sweet potatoes (or squash) and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
2. Turn off Instant Pot and add the Thai curry paste, garlic and ginger, and stir.
3. Add the lentils, water, and salt and stir.
4. Switch Instant Pot to pressure cook, seal and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, manually releasing steam.
5. Open Instant Pot and stir in coconut milk and season with salt and lime juice to taste.
6. Divide among shallow bowls and top with cilantro and coconut flakes, if using.
Super spicy! Dial back the curry paste for a milder version.
Excellent recipe, thank you so much. i used curry powder, cumin and coriander as the spices.
Very happy to hear that you liked it! Thanks for the feedback 🙂
I made this today and cooked a fairly large batch (according to the instructions, it was 6 servings) so I could freeze and have ready made meals for a couple more days.
It was really delicious but the servings sizes are a bit out e.g. 6 servings was approximately enough for 12-15 servings. 🙂
Hi Marc, glad to hear that you liked the recipe. Serving size is always a bit tricky for me to calculate because it varies so much from person to person but thanks a lot for letting me know!
Very glad to hear that!