Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

What was your regular after-school snack growing up?  Going all the way back in memory to my elementary school years, I can remember my winter time after-school snack. It was a bit of an odd snack choice. What was it, you ask? A warm cup of red lentil soup. I know; strange, right!? Who does that to their kids?

Like any other kid, I craved a little junk food after a long school day. But whenever I asked for a snack, my mamma was always ready with a darn cup of red lentil soup:-)

In her defense, it was delicious! And I did enjoy sipping on something warm, particularly on cold and rainy days. My parents' home was made of brick and concrete; no insulation; and no central heat. So my mom's strategy for keeping us warm was twofold: thick socks and warm soup. It worked 🙂

Lentils are an essential part of Mediterranean cooking. Check out the Mediterranean Food Pyramid I found on Old Ways. Notice how large an area legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables etc. occupy on the Mediterranean Food Pyramid?  They are meant to be consumed most frequently. That is a big reason why a Mediterranean diet is one of healthiest and most wholesome diets you can follow.

Mediterranean Food Pyramid

However tiny lentils are, they are mighty with nutrients. They are rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber, iron, B vitamins and more. You can read more about the benefits of eating lentils in this article.

Lucky for us, lentils are the easiest legumes to cook. They are quick to prepare; and they have a great ability to absorb flavors from herbs and spices, making delicious and robust meals.

While my mom served me a cup of simple lentil soup as a snack, I choose to serve a slightly more sophisticated version for dinner. No offense mom, but my kiddos are less inclined to think of lentil soup as a snack to be consumed by the mugful:-)

This time, I chose to pair my red lentils with sweet potato, for an autumn-appropriate vegetarian dish. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potato is nicely enveloped in the warmth and earthiness of mild curry, paprika and bay leaf. You will be surprised how exquisite lentils can taste with this combination of flavors!

Hands down, this is one of my family's favorite lentil dishes along with the butternut squash lentil and quinoa.

Hope you give it a try soon. Or PIN it for a Thanksgiving meal starter or side dish! 

Here is how this curried red lentil and sweet potato soup goes:

Start with a red onion. Thinly slice one half of the onion; then chop the other half. Cube the sweet potato, and chop celery and garlic.

Onions for Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup RecipeIngredients for Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

In a non-stick pan or skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute sliced onions on medium-high until fairly brown and crispy. Remove onions onto a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

Onions being fried in pan
In a large pot, heat three tablespoon of olive oil. Add chopped onions, sweet potato and celery and saute on medium-high, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until slightly tender. Now add garlic, curry, seasoned salt, paprika and bay leaf. Toss together briefly.

Pot containing olive oil, onions, sweet potato and celery

Pour in three cans of vegetable broth. Cook on medium-high and bring to a boil. As broth is boiling, stir in rinsed red lentils.

Rinsed red lentils

Lentils added to pot of cooking soup ingredients

Continue to cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for another five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally.

Test to make sure vegetables and lentils are fully cooked and tender. Adjust spices as needed. To finish, stir in heavy cream and let cook briefly to warm through.

Divide into serving bowls, and garnish each with a bit of the browned and crispy onions prepared earlier. Add your favorite bread. Enjoy!

One serving of Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup in a bowl

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Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup


Description

For this recipe, I chose to pair my red lentils with sweet potato, for an autumn-appropriate vegetarian dish. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potato is nicely enveloped in the warmth and earthiness of mild curry, paprika and bay leaf. You will be surprised how exquisite lentils can taste with this combination of flavors!


Ingredients

Scale
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, halved, divided, chop one half of the onion and thinly slice the other half
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, cubed into approximately ½-inch cubes
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp mild yellow curry
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 15-oz cans vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Prepare ingredients as indicated above.
  2. In a non-stick pan or skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute sliced onions on medium-high until fairly brown and crispy. Remove onions onto a paper towel to drain.
  3. In a large pot, heat three tablespoon of olive oil. Add chopped onions, sweet potato and celery and saute on medium-high, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until slightly tender.
  4. Now add garlic, curry, seasoned salt, paprika and bay leaf. Toss together briefly.
  5. Pour in three cans of vegetable broth. Cook on medium-high and bring to a boil.
  6. As broth is boiling, stir in rinsed red lentils.
  7. Continue to cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for another five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Test to make sure vegetables and lentils are fully cooked and tender. Adjust spices as needed.
  10. To finish, stir in heavy cream and let cook briefly to warm through.
  11. Serve with a garnish of the browned and crispy onions prepared earlier. Add your favorite bread. Enjoy!

Notes

  • For a vegan version of this soup, add one cup of vegetable broth earlier and omit the last step of string in heavy cream.
  • You can make this soup one night ahead. Be sure to stop at step #9, let cool and refrigerate over night. Before serving, follow step #10 by heating the soup well and stirring in the heavy cream.
  • Recommended for this Recipe: Our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives!)
  • Visit our store to browse our spices, olive oils and bundles!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Entree/Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Curried Red Lentils, Soup, Lentil Soup, Sweet Potato soup, Curry,

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Simple Herb-Tossed Sweet Potato

Caprese Lentil Salad

Lentil Pumpkin Soup

Chunky Vegan Lentil Soup

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Oh, my, this is delicious! An incredibly satisfying warm-your-belly bowl of soup! I'm so glad you are a soup lover, Suzy. I'm going to be making more of your soups!

  2. This is one of the BEST soups ever! My husband is not a soup fan, and he wants me to make this all of the time. The flavors blend so well, it is incredibly satisfying. I've sent this recipe to all of my friends and family.

  3. This soup was a hit! I didn’t have heavy cream so I substituted a can of coconut milk. It was rich and delicious and I will definitely make this again.

    1. Wow...thanks! I'm so glad you wrote this because I just can't imagine using heavy cream from a heart-health perspective and I was wondering how that would shake out. In fact I came back to the recipe to see if anyone mentioned using coconut milk instead. Did you use canned and if so full-fat or lite?

  4. This is the best soup ever! A true hug in a mug (if you have it in a mug). So healthy and tasty...and simple! I greatly appreciate this recipe, especially as I'm trying to eat less meat and find more flavour.

      1. Had to add some extra curry spices and paste. It was quite tasteless as is. We enjoyed it once we spiced it up more.

  5. I've made this twice now and it is a definite hit with my family. Funny thing, I almost always play with recipes after I've made them once, but this one needs absolutely no changes at all. Delicious!

  6. This was really good! I didn't have season salt so put in some garlic salt, onion powder more paprika and a little chili powder. I used heavy cream this time but next time will use either milk or almond milk to lower the calories and richness. I will definetly make again- this was a hit with hubby and kids!

  7. Thank you Suzy for your great recipes. The curried lentil and sweet poato soup really hit the spot. When I was a child in Scotland I was often sick in bed. I always asked my mother for lentil soup and ever since then I seem to collect red lentil soup recipes like I collect clothes. As there is only my husband and myself at home your recipe made 3 meals for us. The first day I garnished with the fried onions, second day with cilantro and 3rd day with nutritional yeast. All ways were really yummy.

  8. Hi! Is the yellow curry a Thai curry paste, the Indian powder, or something else?

    Thanks

    Michelle

  9. Hi! I love your recipes and the beautiful pictures that your hubby has taken. It seems though that the links to the pictures might be broken over here.

    1. Hi Lynn, thank you! The photos for the recipe are not linked, only the photo of the food pyramid is linked the website I found it at.

    1. Sure, Kelly! Red lentils or yellow lentils would work perfectly for this recipe. Let me know if you try it.

  10. I do understand. My mother would serve us a hot mug of barley soup after we walked home from school in Maine. If it was below zero, we could be sure there would be soup. I think I would have loved this one!

    1. Barley soup is another great one! I didn't think anyone else would share this memory 🙂 Love reading your comments, Maureen.