Well, it’s officially fall here in northwest Pennsylvania. The temperature barely broke 50 degrees, and it was gloomy and rainy all day.
There is an upside to shorter days and colder weather, though… IT’S SOUP SEASON. I mean, it’s soup season all year round for me, but now it’s socially acceptable.
I first made this Sweet Potato Lentil Soup a couple months back. It started out as a pretty basic vegetable soup, until I remembered that I had some leftover sweet potato puree that needed used up. I like a nice thick texture to my soups, and this ingredient does the trick. The addition of a can of unsweetened coconut milk took this soup to a whole new level, though.
Fun fact: the creation of this soup is what led me to start this food blog. My husband, whose idea of a delicious dinner never involves lentils, was blown away at how good this soup tasted. As an avid food blog fangirl, I always thought about starting my own – but, what would I post?? Well, fast forward a couple months, and here we are!!
This soup starts out like most do, with chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. We’ll also add a bell pepper, any color you like – I chose green this time, and a medium sweet potato that’s been diced. Peeled or not peeled, your preference. There’s a decent list of seasonings in this recipe, but trust me, it’s worth getting all the little jars out, they add such good flavor! You’ll need yellow curry powder, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, oregano, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
The rest of the ingredients consist of brown or green lentils, vegetable broth, a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, a can of unsweetened coconut milk (I always buy regular, but lite will work too), and sweet potato puree. For the sweet potato puree, you can either use canned – or mash the insides of a baked sweet potato really well with a fork.
Gather your ingredients and lets get to it…
Heat some olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, as well as a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally while they soften for about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chopped bell pepper and diced sweet potato, along with the garlic and all of the seasonings. Cook about a minute or two, allowing the spices to become very fragrant.
Pour in the diced tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for about 5 or 10 minutes. I like to break up any big hunks of tomatoes with the back of a spoon as they cook. Pour in the vegetable broth. Add the drained and rinsed lentils as well as the sweet potato puree and give a big stir to incorporate everything. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Note: if you did not soak your lentils, you may need to add additional vegetable broth and tack on 10 minutes cooking time to this step.)
Check to see the lentils and diced sweet potatoes are cooked through. Add in the coconut milk and stir thoroughly. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, then scoop into bowls, and top with chopped green onions and pistachios. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Lentil Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup carrot diced
- 3/4 cup celery diced
- 1/2 cup sweet onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 medium sweet potato diced
- 1 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup sweet potato puree
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 2/3 cup brown or green lentils soaked for 6 to 8 hours
- 2 cups vegetable broth plus more if desired
- 1.5 tsp yellow curry powder
- 3/4 tsp oregano dried
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 2 bay leaves
- Place the lentils in a fine mesh sieve or colander. Sort through to ensure there aren't any rocks or stones. Give a quick rinse to remove any dirt or debris. Place into a glass bowl and cover with at least 1 inch of water. Let soak for at least 6 hours. Drain and rinse one more time before using in the soup.Note - Soaking is optional, but I find it makes them easier to digest. If you do not have time or simply do not want to soak the lentils, feel free to skip this step. Be sure to pick through for rocks or debris and give a good rinse, though.
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and stir around. Cook until softened, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add in the bell pepper and diced sweet potato. Add the garlic and all the seasonings. Stir around until the spices are fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes. Cook about 5 to 10 minutes, breaking up any big pieces with the back of a spoon as they soften.
- Pour in two cups of vegetable broth (add an additional half cup broth if you did not soak the lentils). Add the sweet potato puree and the rinsed and drained lentils. Stir very well to incorporate everything. Place a lid on the pot and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check that the sweet potatoes and lentils are cooked to your liking. Add extra cook time if needed. Stir in the can of coconut milk. Let simmer 5 to 10 minutes to bring everything together, stirring well before serving.
- Scoop into bowls and top with scallions and pistachios.
- This recipe, as written, produces a thick soup. Feel free to add more vegetable broth if you like a thinner consistency.
- I always use full fat coconut milk. Lite will work just fine if that's all you have.
- You can either use canned or fresh sweet potato puree. To make fresh, simply bake a sweet potato, then mash the insides up really well with a fork. You can also blend it up with a tablespoon of water for a smoother consistency, like I do here.