Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

The ubiquitous lentil, curry, cumin stew thingy. A staple of a health conscious repertoire. The carrots and sweet potatoes become creamy against the slight graininess of the lentils and the spices give it a lot of flavor and depth.  I know the everyman cook claims he/she does not have loads of Indian spices on hand, but I don’t recommend skimping here. When it comes to spice combos, the whole is usually greater than the sum of its parts. So while it might be ok to foregoe one or two things, a mono-flavored “curried” dish will be bland and unsatisfying. Besides, cumin, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, onion, chili, even curry powder. These things are pretty common to people’s spice racks. I added garam masala because I happened to have some, and the tumeric mostly imparts color and some added nutrition.

Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

servings: a bunch

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 3-4 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp curry power
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (or fresh if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 32 oz  water, vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


Dice the onion, celery, carrot and garlic.  Saute the vegetables in some vegetable oil. Add the spices on top of the softened vegetables and let bloom for a minute. It’s important to do this before adding the liquid to get the best flavor. The veggies create a bed that prevents them from burning though. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into large cubes. Add and saute for a few minutes with the other vegetables. Add the lentils and stir to coat with oil. Then cover the mixture with stock or water, plus a few inches (the lentils will plump up to the surface).  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer with the lid on until lentils and sweet potatoes are cooked through-about 20-30 minutes.