This curried lentil sweet potato stew with kale is easy to make in one pot with simple ingredients in about 45 minutes.

A bowl of sweet potato lentil stew with kale mixed into it.


Perfect for weeknights, meal prep and chilly days, this curried sweet potato lentil stew is a satisfying, nourishing and hearty meal that comes together with minimal effort.

This is simple plant-based recipe made with everyday ingredients you likely already have on hand. It’s versatile and makes a great base for experimenting with additions and flavor variations.

The natural sweetness of sweet potatoes pairs well with the earthy lentils, tomato, curry spice and kale.

Lentils are one of my favorite ingredients. They make a great alternative to meat in vegan recipes, like in this Vegan Taco Salad and Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, or are perfect added to soup and stew recipes like this Lemon Lentil Soup, Hearty Vegan Lentil Stew with Potatoes or Curried Lentil Soup Recipe.

Ingredient Notes

Lentils, garlic, ginger, broth, sweet potato and carrot in bowls on a counter.

The ingredients for this stew are very simple but here are a few things to consider:

  • Broth: You can use any vegetable broth or stock you enjoy. Liquid, cubes or bouillon powder works.
  • Tomato Paste: Extra tomato paste? Either freeze it in an ice cube tray for later or use it in
  • Kale: You can use any variety of kale or substitute baby spinach.
  • Lentils: This recipe is for brown or green lentils. You can substitute red lentils but it will have a soft consistency more like red lentil dahl.
  • Sweet Potato: You can use sweet potato or yam or mix and match with butternut squash or potato.
  • Spices: This recipe is simple and only calls for curry powder. You can experiment with other spices like ground cumin, coriander, turmeric or garam masala.

Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements.

Variations and Additions

This recipe is versatile and easy to customize. Here are some ideas:

  • Spices and Seasonings: For smokiness, you can add 1 tsp smoked paprika. For a spicy kick, add up to 1 tsp cayenne pepper or chili flakes (red pepper flakes). For more depth of flavour, add 1 tsp ground cumin and 1/2 tsp coriander. You can also experiment with chili powder, turmeric or garam masala. A small amount of miso paste and dash of soy sauce at the end can also help enhance the flavor of the stew.
  • Vegetables: Include cauliflower, celery, green beans, diced tomatoes or bell peppers for added color, texture and nutrition.
  • Grains: Mix in cooked quinoa, farro, white rice or brown rice for a heartier stew.
  • Coconut Milk: Stir in 1 cup canned coconut milk at the end to make it creamy, more like a curry.
  • Garnish: Try lime juice, fresh cilantro, chives or green onions.
  • Soup: To thin it into soup, add another 2-3 cups of vegetable broth or try this Sweet Potato Red Lentil Soup.
  • Texture: To add thickness, you can pulse the stew a few times with an immersion blender scoop out 1-2 cups of the stew before adding the kale, blending until smooth then stirring back in at the end.
  • Flavor Variation: For more traditional stew flavor, omit the curry powder and add 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, or 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried rosemary and 1/2 tsp ground thyme. A squeeze of lemon juice is nice in this version.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Cook the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, water or broth for 5 minutes in a large pot over medium heat.

Step 2: Add tomato pasta, ginger, curry powder and salt and 3-4 more minutes.

Onion, garlic, ginger and tomato paste cooking in a large soup pot on a gas range.

Step 3: Add the lentils and vegetable broth, cover and simmer for 15-2- minutes.

Step 4: Add the carrots and sweet potato and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes or until the carrots and sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

A thick tomato lentil stew cooking on a gas range stove.

Step 4: Stir in the kale, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. If the lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, it’s ready to enjoy.

A sweet potato, carrot, lentil stew in a large soup pot.

Recipe FAQs

How long does sweet potato lentil stew keep?

This stew will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Let it cool before transferring to a storage container and sealing.

Can you freeze sweet potato lentil stew?

Yes. This stew freezes well. Let it cool then transfer to a freezer-safe container or heavy duty freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen stew overnight in the fridge then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

Can I make this in an Instant Pot?

Yes. To make this recipe in an Instant Pot:

Use the Sauté function to cook the onion and garlic with salt and pepper.

Add the tomato paste, curry powder, salt and ginger and mix well.

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the kale, seal the lid, set vent to Sealing and cook on high pressure 10 minutes.

Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release and remaining pressure. Stir in the kale, season with salt and pepper and enjoy.

Do I have to soak the lentils?

No. You do not need to soak the lentils but I do recommend rinsing them to remove any dust and debris.

Overhead image of a bowl of sweet potato lentil stew with kale mixed into it.

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A bowl of sweet potato lentil stew with kale mixed into it.

Vegan Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 5
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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This vegan curried sweet potato lentil stew is easy to make and perfect for meal prep or a low-effort meal. Enjoy it for a warm and hearty that’s delicious during the colder months.


  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (approx. 34 cups chopped)
  • 4 cups lightly packed kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped


  1. Cook Onion and Garlic: Cook the onion and garlic in a 2 tablespoons of water or broth with a pinch of salt and pepper for 5 minutes in a large soup pot over medium heat. Alternatively, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the pot, then add the onion and garlic and continue.
  2. Add Seasonings: Add the curry powder, salt, ginger, tomato paste and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Cook Lentils: Add the lentils and broth, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add Carrot and Sweet Potato: Add the carrots and sweet potato and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes or until the carrots and sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add Kale: Stir in the kale, turn off the heat and let sit for a few minutes. If the lentils are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, it’s ready! Serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.


Let leftovers cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen. Reheat in single servings in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop.

Kale may be omitted or substituted with spinach if you don’t have any on hand.


  • Serving Size: 1/5th of recipe
  • Calories: 263
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52 g
  • Fiber: 15 g
  • Protein: 12 g

This recipe was originally published on March 20, 2014.