The First Mess Cookbook
There is plenty of seasonal, plant-based soup and stew inspiration in my cookbook. You’ll also find vegan dinners, hearty salads and sides, and wholesome desserts.
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.
Ginger Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils and Kale
- 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).