Ginger Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils & Kale

Created by Laura Wright
4.98 from 414 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!
4.98 from 414 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


  • 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


  • 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!


  • 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: 19/02/2020)
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


Recipe Rating

  • 5 stars
    Sitting here eating a bowl filled with amazing goodness! Loving every bite. Sweet. Mildly spicy. Just so good.

  • 5 stars
    Collectively my friend and I have made this soup probably over 30 times. We love your recipe dearly :)

  • 5 stars
    This has become one of my favorite recipes. So Delish!

  • 5 stars
    A make again and again and again recipe in our house! Always so delicious.

  • Does this recipe freeze well? Think it would work in a crockpot?

  • Is there an instant pot version of the recipe?

  • 5 stars
    Delicious! I make this at least once a month in the winter and eat it for lunch throughout the week. It is *chef’s kiss* with a slice of toasted sourdough/Tuscan bread.

  • 5 stars
    So good, lot of flavour and easy to make. Definitely making again

  • 5 stars
    Loved this recipe first time using lentils always been a little scared of them, but this was amazing !!
    Made some yogurt bread to go with it and it was fab :)))

  • Would love to know what the bread is in the photo – do you have a recipe available for that , or a suggestion for a wheat free accompaniment to this dish?

  • 5 stars
    I love this recipe… I’ve made it many, many times and always have plenty of leftovers to freeze for lunches. Healthy, hearty, and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  • 5 stars
    Both myself and my husband thoroughly enjoyed your recipe and we will certainly be having it again. The only substitution I made was using lite coconut milk and we certainly did not miss the full fat coconut milk.

  • 5 stars
    This stew was so good! I was looking for a recipe to use up some sweet potatoes and this was perfect. So much flavour and easy prep with easy cleanup. New family favourite!

  • Looks amazing. Can this be frozen?

    • Hi Rebecca!
      Yes, you can freeze this stew. If possible, I would freeze it without the additions of kale and cilantro, just because they tend to get overly soft and unappetizing in colour after they are frozen and thawed. You can simply add them in after the stew has thawed and you’re re-heating it on the stove.

  • 5 stars
    Soooooo delicious added minced turmeric root, tofu, red bell pepper, and some gochujang for spice ️️ served with tandoori naan

  • 5 stars
    Best soup i’ve ever made! I use the purple kumara (sweet potato). Love all the spices & the hit of chilli I make it for large crowds at the Marae and they all love it! Thanx for sharing this recipe

  • 5 stars
    I made unintentional substitutions out of necessity and it was still awesome. I used green lentils bc we didn’t have brown. I also used low fat coconut milk instead of full fat and spinach instead of kale since we didn’t have kale. The low fat coconut milk saved 600 calories and we didn’t miss them at all! What a great, hearty stew I will make again bc with the reduced calories using the light coconut milk, it’s really quite a low calorie meal.

  • This recipe looks really good and I would like to try it. However I only have white sweet potatoes and I’m thinking it would probably work fine. What do you think?

    • I think white sweet potatoes would be great! They are a bit more starchy in my experience, so they will help to thicken the stew even more :)