If you’re looking for a comforting vegetarian dinner, this Sweet Potato Curry is for you. It’s made with quick-cooking red lentils and creamy coconut milk, for a satisfying meal!
This recipe is allergy-friendly, since it’s naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
It comes from my friend Gena from The Full Helping, and her first cookbook, Choosing Raw. Serve it with white rice (try Instant Pot white rice), or cooked quinoa, for a comforting meal that is ready in just 30 minutes.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in Sweet Potato Curry?
- Sweet potato
- Coconut milk
- Curry powder
You can add any other vegetables you like to this dish, such as bell pepper, spinach, or diced tomatoes. Adding a big handful of fresh cilantro at the end takes the flavor to the next level, and you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lime juice, to brighten it up, if you’d like.
It’s very easy to customize!
How to Make Sweet Potato Curry
1. Saute the aromatics. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and add in the onion. Saute until it’s softened, about 5 minutes.
Add in the turmeric, curry powder, garlic, and ginger, and saute briefly, just until they are fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Simmer. Add in the water (or use vegetable broth), lentils, and sweet potatoes, along with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and cover.
Cook until the lentils and sweet potatoes are both tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Finish. When everything is tender, add in the coconut milk and cilantro. Stir well, then adjust any seasoning to taste.
Serve warm, with cooked rice or quinoa, and extra cilantro on top, if you like. You can also serve it with lime wedges, so everyone can add an extra squeeze of lime juice, if they’d like to.
This sweet potato curry will be soup-like when it’s warm, and will thicken as it cools, so don’t be surprised if it thickens up significantly when the leftovers are stored in the fridge.
It will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. When you reheat it, the sauce will thin-out again, but you can always add a little extra water or broth, to thin it out even more.
Frequently Asked Questions & Substitutions
Do I have to use lentils? No, but you’ll need to adjust the liquid if you leave them out. If you’d like to use canned chickpeas, or another protein instead, I would remove 2 cups of liquid.
Can I use green lentils? Yes, but the cooking time will increase, which will also make the sweet potatoes softer. Green and brown lentils tend to cook in 25 to 30 minutes.
Can I use curry paste? Sure! You can replace the curry powder with 2 tablespoons of red curry paste, for a similar flavor.
Thai Sweet Potato Curry: Add a squeeze of lime juice and a tablespoon of maple syrup, for an added sweet and sour flavor, similar to my Thai Chickpea Curry. You can also add fresh basil!
Peanut Butter Curry: Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of peanut butter to the sauce, and top the dish with crushed peanuts. Peanut butter curry also goes well with crushed tomatoes or tomato paste, if you’d like to add that in.
Indian Sweet Potato Curry: Try adding in a can of diced tomatoes and a teaspoon of ground cumin, for a different variation. Indian curry tends to be a little heartier and warmer, so you can also add a pinch of cinnamon or cloves, if you like.
Sweet Potato Curry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion , diced
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 1 medium sweet potato , cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger , minced
- fine sea salt
- ground black pepper
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the turmeric, curry powder, garlic, and ginger, and stir for 1 more minute, just until fragrant.
- Add in the broth or water, lentils, sweet potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot. Cook until the lentils and sweet potatoes are both tender, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk and cilantro, and adjust any seasoning to taste. I usually add more salt, about a 1/2 teaspoon at a time, but this will vary based on if you used broth or water. (I add an extra full teaspoon of salt when using water.) Season to taste, with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, if you'd like to brighten the flavor, then serve warm over cooked rice or quinoa.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will thicken when chilled, but the sauce will thin out again when you heat it up.
If you try this Sweet Potato Curry recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below. I’d love to hear what you think!