Hearty Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

hand with spoon in it getting a bite of soup from grey bowl garnished with cilantro and naan.

This Hearty Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup is the perfect simple weeknight dinner! Loaded with hearty sweet potatoes and protein packed lentils, it has the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. Don’t forget to eat it with some naan! 

Soup season is my favorite season, y’all. From my Creamy Gnocchi Soup to my Mexican Street Corn and Chicken Chowder to my Easy Homemade Chili…I feel like this year in particular here on OBB, I’ve been cranking out the soups.

Why? I mean, where I live it’s still pretty warm (think 75-80 degrees). But honestly, I feel like during this time, we are all yearning for comfort – whether that comfort comes from your favorite blanket, sweater, a hug from a loved one or in a big bowl of soup – we all crave comfort. 

ladle full of sweet potato and lentil soup in dutch oven.

So here we are! With another soup recipe…and y’all, this one is GOOD. 

Why This Soup is Amazing: 

So first off – it’s completely plant based! I don’t adhere to any specific diet, but I definitely can see the importance in making sure you are eating a BALANCED diet – which to me, means incorporating plant based meals during the week just as much as I eat meat! 

I really particularly love this one because I feel like often times, sweet potatoes get left in the dust. Everyone gravitates towards russets or yukon golds during Fall and I totally get it BUT – sweet potatoes are absolutely PERFECT in this recipe. 

spiced sweet potatoes in dutch oven.

They add such a natural sweetness and perfect texture that pairs amazingly with the creamy slightly spicy broth. 

And then there are the lentils! If you’re like me, you keep a random bag of lentils in your pantry and never know when or even how to use it. But now you have the opportunity! 

I used red lentils for this particular recipe and I really really enjoyed how they turned out. They became soft and slightly fell apart which really helped thicken the soup – plus it certainly doesn’t hurt that they add so much protein to this recipe! If you’re looking for lentils that hold their shape better, I would recommend brown lentils!

The broth is the perfect blend of creamy/savory/spicy/sweet/PERFECT. It’s made with both vegetable stock AND coconut milk – which yields to it being not overly rich but the perfect amount of creaminess. 

mixing creamy coconut milk into the soup with a wooden spoon in dutch oven.

I love the large chunks of sweet potatoes – they add a great texture to the soup. 

The soup itself is not exactly like, crazy SPICY but more like, SPICED. If that makes sense? I used a combination of some delicious spices like turmeric, cumin, ground coriander and of course, red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat! 

close up of peanuts, naan and cilantro in the bowl of soup.

Definitely garnish this soup with CILANTRO and crushed peanuts. The cilantro adds amazing flavor and the extra saltiness/crunch from the peanuts is out of this world good. 

So let’s get into what you need to make it! 

Ingredients You Need: 

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lentils (I used red lentils) 
  • White onion 
  • Fresh garlic 
  • Tomato paste 
  • Spices like: ground turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt + pepper
  • Vegetable stock 
  • Full Fat Coconut milk 

Ways to Elevate This Soup: 

This is a very simple recipe – seriously, one pot and done! Which is why I think it’s perfect for a simple weeknight dinner. 

You will find the full recipe below in the recipe card for how to make this delicious soup..but, there are a few ways to *elevate* that I enjoy! 

Make sure that when you add in your vegetable broth after you have cooked your onions and garlic that you use a wooden spoon to help deglaze the pan. There are a lot of delicious savory flavors on the bottom of that pan that you WANT to be inside your soup! 

close up of a spoonful of chunky sweet potato in bowl of soup.

I always encourage you to taste as you GO!! Don’t be afraid to grab a spoon and make sure your broth is where you want it to be flavor wise. If you want it spicier? Add in a bit more cayenne? Needs more salt? No worries!! You can add as much or as little as you want – I just want to make sure it tastes good for YOU! 

Lastly, garnishes are your best friend! I personally love throwing on tons of cilantro and chopped peanuts as well as red pepper flakes onto this soup. It never takes away from the flavor but it always adds something extra special. 

close up of dipping garlic naan into the bowl of soup

Also, don’t forget to eat it with some type of garlic naan or crusty bread. Dipping the bread into the soup is magical! 

Substitutions: 

I mentioned this above in the blog post but I didn’t want it to get lost SO – I used red lentils for this recipe. It’s what I enjoy + what I had on hand. Red lentils more easily fall apart/get soft than other colors (like brown) SO, if you prefer for your lentils to stay more intact, I would recommend NOT using red. I personally preferred the red because I felt like it helped thicken up the soup and I really enjoyed the texture. Okay, that’s all for the lentils!

If you aren’t a fan of “chunky” soups but still want to try this soup, I highly recommend using an immersion blender OR a high powered blender that can handle hot soups to blend to your desired consistency. It will make it extra creamy and thick so be prepared to potentially add more broth if needed!

Don’t like cilantro? No worries! You can always throw in a bunch of kale or spinach at the end of the soups cooking and let it wilt for 3 minutes or so. This will make sure the soup still has a crunchy and flavorful green added to it! 

overhead shot of dipping naan bread into the bowl of soup with wooden bowl of peanuts and extra naan bread close by.

No crunchy peanuts? You can always add a dollop of peanut butter in the soup yourself! I know that might sound strange but it will help thicken the soup slightly while giving you that peanut taste.

I hope you guys enjoy this delicious soup! Cheers to eating more comfort foods. 

Did You Enjoy This Recipe? Here are a few others you might like: 

Thai Butternut Squash Bowl 

Potato Carrot and Leek Soup 

Golden Delicata Squash Soup with Crispy Garlic Chickpeas 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

Hearty Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

This Hearty Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup is the perfect simple weeknight dinner! Loaded with hearty sweet potatoes and protein packed lentils, it has the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. Don’t forget to eat it with some naan! 

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword lentil soup, plant based soup, sweet potato soup, vegan soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced into 1-1.5 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup red lentils (see notes about lentils)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if desired for extra heat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • chopped peanuts + cilantro for garnish
  • more salt and pepper to taste if needed

Instructions

  1. First, take a moment to dice/slice all of the veggies. Dice the sweet potatoes (I didn't peel them!) into 1-1.5 inch cubes and set aside. Finely dice a white onion and finely mince the garlic.

  2. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a dutch oven. Add in diced onions and a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Add in sweet potatoes and then add in spices (turmeric, corinader, cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes) and tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds or so, making sure the spices and tomato paste are coating the veggies. 

  4. Next, add in the lentils and the veggie broth. Add 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of cracked black pepper, make sure you get the bottom of the pan deglazed with all the bits of flavor 

  5. Bring soup to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to medium low to let it simmer and put the lid on top. Let cook for 18-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the sweet potatoes are fork tender. 

  6. Once they are fork tender, add in the can of coconut milk last and let it simmer for 5-10 more more minutes until thickened more. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

  7. Top with cilantro and peanuts and additional red pepper flakes and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

I used red lentils for this recipe which are prone to cook faster/get softer/fall apart more. I personally enjoyed the taste of them - but if you prefer your lentils to hold up better, I would recommend using brown lentils. 

If you prefer your soups creamy, I would recommend using an immersion blender for this soup. 

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