December 5, 2022

This spiced vegan sweet potato lentil soup is easy to make in under 40 minutes for a healthy one pot meal.

About this Soup

With simple ingredients and the perfect balance of spices and natural sweetness, this sweet potato red lentil soup delivers on flavours while remaining quick and easy to make.

This beautiful, creamy soup takes less than 40 minutes to make and works well as a side dish, starter or plant-based main.

It pairs well with roasted vegetables, green salads, sandwiches, wraps or mains like this chickpea loaf or veggie pot pie.

The soup also stores well so feel free to make it advance for meal prep or a freezer meal.

Either way, you’ll love this healthy vegan soup year-round and especially during the cold winter months!

Quick Highlights

  • Spiced, subtly sweet flavour.
  • Vegetarian, vegan (dairy-free) and gluten-free.
  • Great for meal prep.
  • Source of fibre and protein.
  • Made with pantry staples.
  • Easy to make in 40 minutes.
  • Freezer-friendly.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients for making a sweet potato lentil soup. Each ingredient is labelled with text.
  • Oil: You can use any neutral cooking oil you prefer, such as olive oil or avocado oil. Coconut oil would also work. For an oil-free recipe, use a bit of water or broth instead of oil.
  • Onion: You can use white onion or yellow onion.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is best for flavour.
  • Ginger: Fresh ginger is best for flavour but you can substitute 1 tsp ground ginger if needed.
  • Tomato Paste: The thick stuff in a small can. If you’re opening a new can and have extra, freeze it in an ice cube tray then transfer to a bag or container so you always have some on hand!
  • Spice Blend: The recipe calls for curry powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric and optional cayenne. Try to use them all for the best flavour but if you’re missing coriander that’s ok.
  • Sweet Potato: You’ll need about 3 small sweet potatoes or 4 cups chopped. The amount doesn’t have to exact. I peeled them but peeling is optional.
  • Coconut Milk: You can use light or full-fat coconut milk. Use light to reduce the fat and calories in the recipe, otherwise full-fat coconut milk provides beautiful creaminess.
  • Stock: Any store-bought or homemade broth or stock works. If you don’t have any on hand, water is ok, you may just need to season with a little extra salt.
  • Lime: Brightens and balances!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Cook the Aromatics

Add your choice of oil to a large soup pot and heat over medium heat (or use some water or broth to cook oil-free).

Add the onion and carrot and cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.

Chopped onion, garlic, ginger and carrot cooking in a large soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Toast the Spices

Add the tomato paste and all of the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Chopped onion and carrot cooking in a spice mixture in a large soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Cook the Soup

Add the coconut milk, broth, water, sweet potato, red lentils and a pinch of salt.

Bring the mixture to a simmer then cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils and sweet potato are nice and tender.

A creamy sweet potato red lentil soup cooking in a large soup pot.

Blend the Soup

Carefully transfer up to half of the soup to a blender and puree it until smooth. Make sure you allow the steam to escape while you’re blending.

If you don’t have a blender, you can use an immersion blender right in the pot.

If you used a blender, pour the blended portion back into the pot and stir to combine.

Creamy soup made with sweet potato and red lentils cooking in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Season & Serve

Finally, add the fresh lime juice and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Quick Tip: If you want to add crispy chickpeas like I did, use the roasted chickpea portion of this recipe and enjoy as as crunchy topping!

A bowl of creamy sweet potato lentil soup topped with crispy chickpeas and chopped cilantro.

Notes & Tips

  1. If you’d like to add greens, stir in 3-4 cups fresh spinach at the end and mix until wilted.
  2. This recipe also works well with butternut squash instead of sweet potato or you can do half and half.
  3. To make it more of a lentil dahl or thick lentil stew, reduce the broth to 3 cups and omit the extra water. Serve with rice.
  4. The cayenne pepper is optional but the soup doesn’t turn out overly spicy if you use it and it provides a nice balance to the natural sweetness of the root vegetables and lentils.
  5. You can customize the flavour profile by using different spice blends. Other spices that work well are garam masala, paprika and cinnamon.
  6. In addition to the crispy chickpeas, other toppings that work well are toasted pepitas, crispy lentils, coconut milk or cashew cream, green onion, Thai basil or crumbled tempeh.
Creamy lentil and sweet potato soup in a large pot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use green lentils?

Yes. You can use green or brown lentils instead of red lentils. The method will be the same but the cooking time will be 5-10 minutes longer.

Green lentils have a firm texture even when cooked, so the soup will be a bit different in consistency. Once cooked, you can decide if you’d like to blend some of the soup or not.

I would suggest pulsing an immersion blender in the pot a couple times just to add some creamy texture. You could also scoop 1-2 cups to a blender to puree then pour back in.

Can I blend all of the soup?

Sure. For a completely smooth soup, carefully blend all of the soup in a blender. You may have to do this in a couple batches.

Can I use canned lentils in this recipe?

Yes. To use canned lentils, reduce the vegetable broth by 2 cups and stir the lentils in after cooking the sweet potato. You can proceed with blending or leave it as is.

Overhead view of a creamy sweet potato lentil soup topped with crispy chickpeas and a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro.

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Add the oil, onion and carrot and use the saute function for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and saute another 2-3 minutes. If it starts to stick, add a little splash of water.
  3. Add the tomato paste and spices and cook 1 more minutes.
  4. Add everything but the lime juice, seal and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  5. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes then release any remaining pressure and remove the lid.
  6. Proceed with blending, add lime, season and enjoy.

Storing Instructions

  • Fridge: Store in a sealed container for 4-5 days and reheat in a pot on the stovetop or in individual servings in the microwave.
  • Freezer: Let cool completely. Transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze 3-4 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge. Once mostly thawed, reheat in a pot on the stovetop over low heat.
  • The soup thickens up a bit after storing. You can reheat as is or stir in some extra water or broth to thin.
A bowl of sweet potato lentil soup topped with crispy chickpeas and cilantro. A second bowl can be seen in the background.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

Print

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Description

This sweet potato lentil soup has the most delicious cream texture and is the perfect recipe to enjoy when temperatures start to drop!


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (100 g/¾ cup)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced (110 g/¾ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (40 g)
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric 
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper, optional (reduce or omit if sensitive to spice)
  • 4 cups sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes (565 g, about 3 small sweet potatoes)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed (185 g)
  • 1 400 mL can coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (1000 mL)
  • 12 cups water, as needed (500 mL)
  • ½ lime, juiced 
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro, for garnish

  1. Cook Onion & Carrot: In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add onions and carrots. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook for 4-6 min, stirring occasionally, until almost tender.
  2. Add Garlic & Ginger: Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 1 min, stirring constantly, until fragrant. 
  3. Add Spices: Add tomato paste, curry powder, cumin, coriander and turmeric.  Cook for 1 min, stirring constantly, to toast spices. 
  4. Cook Soup: Add sweet potatoes, lentils, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Season with salt.  Bring to a simmer over high, stirring and scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pot. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for 20-24 min, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes and lentils are tender. 
  5. Blend Soup: Using an immersion blender or counter top blender, blend half  the soup.  Blending only half the soup gives it the perfect texture. Add the blended portion back to the pot. To adjust the consistency to your preference, stir in up to 2 cups of water. I usually use a full 2 cups. Add lime juice, then stir to combine.  Season with salt to taste. 
  6. Serve Soup: Divide soup between bowls. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over top.  Serve lime wedges alongside. Sprinkle with red chili flakes if you want a little extra spice. 

Notes

For lower-fat and calories, use light coconut milk instead of regular.

Store leftover soup in the fridge for up to 5 days. To freeze, cool completely then store for up to 3 months in a sealed container or freeze bag. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the fridge then reheat on the stovetop over low heat until heated through or heat individual servings in the microwave.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 362
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 444 mg
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 11 g

Keywords: sweet potato lentil soup