Sweet potato and lentil curry is the perfect vegetarian dinner ready in under 30 minutes, made with red lentils, sweet potato and coconut milk.
I’m in a busier season of life right now. There aren’t enough hours in a day or enough days in a week to get everything done. I know you feel the same way. It’s why I’m reaching for more simple and fast recipes than I ever have.
This sweet potato and lentil curry is a recipe that I’ve been making consistently over the last six months. It fits my current MO; vegetarian and ready in under 30 minutes. I’ve been testing different ingredients (what if I tried curry powder instead of curry paste?), testing different amounts of liquid, and adding aromatics (cilantro stems, anyone?) until I had it just right.
Along with this curry, I’ve found myself reaching for more easy and fast recipes like sheet pan gnocchi and vegetables or pasta with cherry tomatoes that cook in 30 minutes and can be made with your eyes closed.
What kind of curry is this?
Curry is a broad term and there are endless varieties of curry out there. I’ve shared a Thai-inspired coconut vegetable curry before which starts with an aromatic curry paste. This sweet potato and lentil curry recipe is a vegetarian curry inspired more by an Indian-style curry which uses spices (like turmeric, cumin and coriander often found in curry powder).
The bottom line? This curry is delicious. Based on my research, the combination of ingredients (coconut milk, cilantro stems and curry powder) make this recipe more of a blend of Thai and Indian styles.
If you’re looking to learn more about vegetarian Indian cuisine, I’ve long been a fan of Madhur Jaffrey and love her Vegetarian India cookbook.
Can you add dry lentils to this sweet potato curry?
Absolutely. This curry recipe uses red lentils which typically cook in 15-20 minutes and require no pre-soaking. Red lentils break down more than green lentils and end up melting into the curry.
After trying minced cilantro stems in a tofu red curry recipe from the New York Times cooking column, I knew I wanted to try it in this recipe. I loved the subtle flavour the cilantro stems added and thought it would be a nice addition here–which it was!
Plus you’ll have extra cilantro leftover for serving.
Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp minced cilantro stems
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 400mL can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp minced cilantro, for serving
- Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until translucent and slightly golden.
- Add garlic, cilantro stems and ginger. Cook another thirty seconds, until fragrant. Add curry powder, garam masala and salt. Cook another thirty seconds.
- Stir in sweet potato and red lentils, followed by water and coconut milk. Stir to incorporate spices into mixture. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking another 5 minutes until curry has thickened and sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Let me know if you give this sweet potato and lentil curry a try in the comments below.