Ginger Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils & Kale

Created by Laura Wright
4.99 from 552 votes

Ginger sweet potato and coconut milk stew is super flavourful, beautiful, and extra hearty with kale and lentils. Quick vegan dinner recipe!

Up close shot of a bowl of sweet potato and coconut milk stew with a few leaves of cilantro on top. The stew is bright orange and creamy
An overhead shot of ingredients used in a vegan soup recipe, all placed on a wooden cutting board.
An up close, overhead shot of chopped sweet potatoes on a cutting board.

We’re in that last stretch of Winter where I just want it to be OVER. The sight of a fresh snowfall is, yes, beautiful (like this coconut milk stew!). But I also know that we’re still in for at least another 6 weeks of cold and grey. Embracing the coziness is helpful and cooking new and exciting things is great, but ultimately I just keep imagining myself on a beach somewhere with a blended drink. The thought alone is helpful!

As far as I know, I won’t be getting to that beach anytime soon, so I’m cooking sunshine-y things in my little kitchen instead. This creamy white bean soup with kale, rosemary & lemon is a great example–bright and hearty at the same time.

For a quicker, still satiating and flavourful lentil soup with greens, I recommend checking out my Lemony Red Lentil Soup. Just like this recipe, it’s loaded with spices and finished with zingy citrus.

This sweet potato and coconut milk stew is a glowing shade of orange with vibrant pops of green from kale and cilantro. We use lots of chili and ginger in this stew, along with a bunch of other spices. The flavour profile, spice combination, and recipe itself is inspired by Indian cuisine as well as Thai coconut milk-based curries. You get sweetness, spice, earthy vibes, creaminess, texture from the lentils, and a squeeze of lime rounds everything out.


If you count common spices as one component, this sweet potato coconut milk stew hits at around 10 ingredients. It’s very simple to make, definitely hearty, and accommodating for different dietary sensitivities. If a stew could have it all, this would be IT.

For my taste, it has just the right amount of richness from coconut milk–a real flavour bomb with a deep health glow. Just the kinda thing I’m after lately. I love making it with homemade vegetable stock, but it’s not necessary.

An up close, overhead shot of coconut milk being poured into a pot of soup with lentils and spices.
An overhead shot of a white dutch oven filled with a sweet potato coconut milk stew that also features lentils, kale, and chopped cilantro.
An overhead shot of 2 bowls of sweet potato and coconut milk stew with a few leaves of cilantro on top. The stew is bright orange and creamy

Ginger Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils and Kale

Ginger sweet potato and coconut milk stew is super flavourful, beautiful, and extra hearty with kale and lentils. Quick vegan dinner recipe!
4.99 from 552 votes
An overhead shot of a sweet potato and coconut milk stew in a bowl. The stew features brown lentils and kale and is topped with cilantro. A folded flatbread is tucked into one corner of the stew.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • ½-1 teaspoon dried chili flakes (I use Diaspora Co's ground Guntur Sannam Chillies)
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ lbs (690 grams) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup brown lentils, picked over
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 13.5 oz (400 ml) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped (about 4 cups chopped kale)
  • To garnish: chopped cilantro, extra chili flakes, lime wedges, nigella seeds

Notes

  • Coconut milk is naturally sweet and so are sweet potatoes (obviously). I like to go in with a lot of dried chili to balance things out, but of course add as much as you feel comfortable with.
  • Chard or mustard greens would also be delicious in place of the kale.
  • You already know: I always recommend making your own vegetable stock. My go-to method here!

Instructions

  • Heat a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the coconut oil to the pot and let it melt. Add the onions to the pot and stir. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent and quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili flakes, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Saute spices until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and cook for another minute. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir to coat in the spices. Add the lentils to the pot and stir once more. Season everything liberally with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable stock and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Place the lid on top of the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Once the stew is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and set the lid slightly askew on top of the pot so that there’s a couple inches available for steam to escape. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are almost falling apart and the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. The liquid should also be reduced by almost a third.
  • Add the coconut milk and kale to the pot and stir. Place the lid on top and continue to simmer the stew until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 3-4 minutes. Season the sweet potato and coconut milk stew again with salt and pepper. Bring the stew back up to a strong simmer and check for seasoning. Adjust with more salt, pepper, chili etc. if necessary.
  • Serve the sweet potato and coconut milk stew hot with chopped cilantro, extra chili flakes, lime wedges, and Nigella seeds (if using).
Up close shot of a bowl of sweet potato and coconut milk stew with a few leaves of cilantro on top. The stew is bright orange and creamy

19/02/2020 (Last Updated 09/08/2023)
Posted in: autumn, coconut milk, creamy, earthy, gluten free, kale, lentils, main course, nut free, refined sugar-free, salty, soup, sour, spicy, spring, summer, sweet potatoes, vegan, winter

476 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Emily

    5 stars
    Wow. This is one of the most comforting, delicious soups I’ve ever had. I joked to my husband about making it around Halloween time and putting it in thermos’ to sip on as we trick or treat with our son. I could drink this broth like a cup of coffee in the morning I mean it’s DELICIOUS!! Absolutely making this time and time again. Thank you so much for this recipe and an extra thank you for NOT including nutritional info for all those in ED recovery! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  • Gene

    5 stars
    Delicious! Will def make again.

  • Carolyn

    5 stars
    So good! I didn’t have sweet potato, so added 1 small butternut squash and 2 large carrots. Doubled the spices (except for chili flakes) just out of preference. Delicious!

    • Laura Wright

      Squash and carrots would be so good in this! Thanks for your review Carolyn :)
      -L

  • Kimberly

    5 stars
    This soup was absolutely delicious! I will definitely make it again. I made it exactly as per the recipe and wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Lolo

    5 stars
    Second time making this recipe and it’s definitely becoming a staple in our household. Very flavourful, comforting and healthy. We like to add cremini mushrooms cut in chunks and amp up the spice level. Lime wedges + cilantro are a definite must-have to pull everything together.

    • Laura Wright

      I love that you add mushrooms! That sounds so delicious. Thanks for this comment and review Lolo :)
      -L

  • SUZ

    5 stars
    We made this with red lentils and it was superb! I’m not a huge kale fan so I’m going to try it with another green (spinach?) and use a cup of red lentils (they’re tiny) next time. I loved the sweet potatoes and red lentil combination! I think it would be great without the spice of the chilies or the fresh ginger too and plan to try it.

  • Deb

    5 stars
    3/15/2024 We had quite a downpour today & this recipe was wonderful with a loaf of crusty sourdough. We LOVED the flavor & how easy it came together. I will use 1 cup of lentils next time. Thank You!

  • Robin

    5 stars
    This soup is absolutely wonderful, it has so much flavour. I’ve made it 4 times in a month, it will be a main staple in our house. thanks so much for this tasty dish.

  • Silvia

    5 stars
    Delicious and very filling!

  • Clementine O'Farrell

    5 stars
    Hi, this soup is really yummy. But do you have the nutritional information for it?

  • Andrea

    5 stars
    oops, meant to give the receipt 5 stars!

  • Andrea

    I just made this stew for dinner and it was out of this world! So flavorful. Even my husband liked it, and he is a meat and potatoes kinda guy. Thank you for the terrific recipe.

    • Andrea

      5 stars
      meant to give the receipt 5 stars!

  • Mary Norris

    5 stars
    My husband rated this recipe a “10.” That’s a first for him. Even without using coconut oil, it was delicious. We loved it & plan on making this often. Thank you for a great recipe!

  • Eyre

    5 stars
    Hi and thank you! I’m so excited to make this tomorrow at my house plenum. I’m curious, what kind of bread did you use in the picture?

  • Kirsten

    Is there a good substitute for the lentils? I am wanting to try this, but I have a legume allergy.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Kirsten,
      I would opt for white basmati rice as a replacement here! Pearl barley or pearled farro might also be a nice option.
      -L

  • Lauren

    5 stars
    I really enjoyed this. I needed a soup for a family member who just had oral surgery and can’t chew so I used your soup base because it was more interesting and had higher fat content than most (since he isn’t eating much) and left out the lentils and kale. My only complaint was that the coconut milk (I added most but not all of the can) muddled some of the great flavor that was built before adding it. To make up for it I ended up adding a bunch more spice and simmering it longer, which worked well.

  • Amy

    5 stars
    I’ve been making this one for years now and it is one of my absolute favorites! In the fall, as the weather begins to change, and the temperature begins to drop, I get excited to be able to make this once again. Thank you!

  • Jeannie

    5 stars
    I made this last night, had lentils and kale in the freezer , and upped the ginger. Really delicious! Can’t wait for the leftovers (good breakfast, right!?) This is going into the rotation!

  • Jennifer

    Delicious! My 27 year old son asked for this meal for his birthday dinner.

  • SandyC

    Could French lentils work? Or are they too dense/compact? Dying to try… ✨✨

    • Laura Wright

      French lentils will be fine! They might take a bit longer to cook and will stay firmer in the stew.
      -L

      • SandyC

        5 stars
        I’ve made this TWICE with the French lentils. UH-MAZING! Thank you!

  • Catherine

    5 stars
    This person has stolen your image and applied it to their second-rate recipe: https://plantbasedandveganism.com/vegan-gingered-sweet-potato-and-coconut-milk-stew-1002ak. It seems like the Facebook page they are posting on is full of stolen images and the recipes are probably stolen too. The Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/pbveganrecipes. Just letting you know because yours looks like a great recipe and it’s not fair for people to diminish your hard work by stealing your images.

  • Leslie

    5 stars
    I love this soup….in the morning, it gets me going…in the afternoon, it keeps me going,…
    In the evening it helps me rest.
    It has so much flavor, it’s filling but doesn’t weigh me down.

  • Merrymepenelope

    5 stars
    This soup is sooooo goood! I had some cubed butternut squash and spinach in the fridge, so when I went looking for a soup recipe, I saw yours and just went for it. What a delicious meal! Squash is an easy sub for sweet potatoes and it all worked out beautifully! Thanks for such a lovely recipe!

  • Michelle

    5 stars
    Made this last night and it was amazing! I doubled all the spices and added a few dashes of cinnamon. Brought some to a coworker today and she was asking for the recipe by the 3rd bite!

  • audrey

    i’m making this tonight for my boyfriend who eats vegetarian/vegan with me begrugingly (“can’t i put chicken or pork or steak on this?”) i just got back from grenada and have fresh tumeric to use. so excited! stay tuned for feedback :)

  • Alyson

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS! Can you please add the nutritional/calorie info? Thank you!

  • Emily

    5 stars
    I added a couple dashes of cinnamon per another reviewer’s recommendation and used an immersion blender at the end to blend it up a little…this is an incredible stew. A new winter go-to!

  • Angela

    5 stars
    So comforting and easy to make (this coming from someone who is just getting into cooking). This is one of my go-tos in the winter. So delicious!

  • Indira

    5 stars
    Followed instructions fully and it was delicious and satisfying!

  • Janine

    5 stars
    This was delicious! Thank you for this recipe

  • Kimberly Drayton

    5 stars
    Awesome soup! Just added a twist to it…. Ground ginger and ground cinnamon, delicious!

    • Laura Wright

      Kimberly,
      Those sound like delicious additions! Thanks for your comment and review :)
      -L