Ginger Sweet Potato Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils & Kale

Created by Laura Wright
4.99 from 553 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 553 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

477 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Elena

    5 stars
    This recipe is one of my favorites. It’s a staple for my husband and I. It’s warming and filling and bursting with flavor. I’ve also made it with broccoli and red peppers and it’s just as delicious. I also added a little bit of cornstarch to make it a bit thicker.

  • Susie

    5 stars
    This is so delicious and bursting with flavour. My whole family and friends love it! I always double the recipe when I make it because my kids want to take some home and i want leftovers too! The only thing i leave out is the cilantro. If i make it hours in advance, i leave out the kale until I’m ready to reheat it, then i add it.

  • Colette

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Didn’t have brown lentils so used black/belugas instead with great results; used less sweet potato and added carrot and celery; hubby doesn’t do chillies so I added some mild curry powder instead and he loved told me several times during dinner that it was really good :) – Like Emily, I’m so happy I made a double recipe.

  • Aeryn

    5 stars
    One of my favorite go to meals right now. I have also added cauliflower for half if the sweet potatoes and curry powder for extra flavor, however, the recipe is wonderful as it.

  • Katie

    5 stars
    Wow, what a flavorful stew! I can’t to wait to cook this for more people. So yummy. Love the ginger and coconut milk together. Also love that I used all the ingredients in my cupboard vs going out to find curry paste like a lot of the other ‘sweet potato curry’ dishes. Thanks so much!! Will definitely be added to our rotation!

  • Vanessa

    5 stars
    Hands down such an amazing hearty vegan meal. Made this for my family and they were all raving about it. Will most definitely be adding this to my rotation :) A++++

  • Chantal

    4 stars
    Really tasty recipe. Easy to make and quick to come together. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again.

  • JENNI

    5 stars
    Its a great stew but it would be nice to have nutrition info.

  • Emily

    5 stars
    I saw this recipe shared by The Hearty Soul and made it for the first time for a soup event I was hosting at my home. Because I was going to be working up until the event, I used my crock pot (instead of the stove). I did sauté the onions/garlic/ginger and spices, but then added that mixture to the lentils/sweet potatoes/broth in the crock pot and cooked for 8 hours. Then when I got home, it was just a quick process of stirring in the coconut milk and freshly picked kale. Turned out great! So glad I doubled the recipe because now I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

  • Susang

    5 stars
    Simple, delicious, and highly customizable. I definitely will double the lentils next time, and add more of the spices. I only had powdered ginger and I know it will be even better when I make it with fresh. My sweet potatoes were a tad overcooked, so will check 5 mins early.
    Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  • Suzanne Norris

    5 stars
    I make this often. I use whatever lentils I can find. Very flavorful and a great comfort food along with my homemade Naan.

  • beth

    hi there!

    would black lentils work for this as well? i have a bag and thought i’d use it:)

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Beth,
      Black lentils will work great here! The texture will be just a bit more firm.
      -L

      • Gen

        3 stars
        This was a fine soup, except I wished it had 3x the lentils- mine were mushy and so few they couldn’t be seen. I would have also added more sweet potato.

  • Christine

    5 stars
    This turned out fantastic! I has a few small sweet potatoes and a butternut squash so I combined them and it was delish. Also used frozen chard with no problem.

  • amb

    5 stars
    Amazing flavor! I was so impressed how delicious and well balanced this was. I was low on lentils so I added a quarter cup of quinoa and extra half cup broth. I only had a red onion and spinach so swapped in those. I added some chopped broccolini for more greens. Let it all sit for 30 min once done to develop. Perfect! I could eat this every week!

  • Bailey

    5 stars
    Delicious! This recipe was so good, so comforting on a chilly winter night. The spice is perfect!

  • Hope

    5 stars
    This soup is DELICIOUS. It is both bursting with flavor and gentle on the stomach. It feels so nourishing and is wonderful to make for loved ones when they’re sick. It has become a staple in the colder months for me. Thank you, Laura!

  • Lauretta

    5 stars
    I was skeptical at first, didn’t seem like it had enough seasoning . Boy, was I wrong!!! Minimal ingredients and maximum flavor. Inexpensive and came together so quickly!!! I’ll be making this again.

  • Em

    1 star
    Followed this to a tee and there ended up being way too much liquid (was a soup) and very bland flavour. Maybe because I’m used to traditional dal…but this was a miss.

  • Gemma

    5 stars
    Would this be suitable for freezing?
    If not how long can it be kept in the fridge?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Gemma,
      You can definitely freeze this soup! I recommend leaving the kale and cilantro out if you’re doing that as they can get a bit soggy once thawed and reheated. The finished soup can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
      -L

  • Terry

    5 stars
    The flavors of the ingredients in this soup are so delicious together. I make this probably once a month. Serving it to company this week.

    I find that 4 cups of vegetable broth is a little too liquidly for my taste. So I only use 3 1/4 cups. It tastes best with full fat coconut milk. I have used the lite one when it is just for me.

  • Rashidah

    5 stars
    Can I give this 6 stars?? It is delicious as written but can be modified a bit for restricted diets I served it as a first course for a recent dinner party and everyone raved! Thank you for this healthy, sumptuous dish!

  • Jessie

    5 stars
    I have made this numerous times and it’s the single best recipe I’ve ever made! Thank you so much for sharing with the world :D

  • Claire

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe!!!! We didn’t use any lime or cilantro and only had pre cooked lentils, but still such a big hit. The heat was such a great tip and made it. This recipe is worth navigating all the frickin ads I promise.

  • Monica

    5 stars
    I usually go for recipes that have a shorter time estimate but this was so worth the extra time. Honestly probably the best thing I’ve made in a month. It’s easy and even if you don’t execute it perfectly it’s delicious. I halved the recipe, used a not super heavy bottomed pot, and the spices were burning before I added the sweet potato(which I prob made <1” cubed) & lentils, so I felt like I had to add more coconut oil & spices. I also used green lentils, not brown. I think they cook a little faster, or I just struggle to find an actual simmer. The lentils and sweet potato are falling apart in mine but it’s fucking delicious and comforting and I’m saving the recipe to be used many times I’m sure!

  • JenB

    5 stars
    This is the second time making and it is absolutely one of my top recipes for incredibly delicious and ultra comforting. Thank you.

  • Vimala

    5 stars
    This was amazing. So warming, so filling, so delicious. I used 2 medium to large sweet potatoes and chard. The recipe is a keeper and will help us get through the winter for sure. Can’t wait for lunch leftovers at work tomorrow. Thanks for making my Sunday so cozy!!

  • Sarah

    5 stars
    Really enjoyed this – warming earthy & spicy flavours and full of goodness. This will become a staple for us, particularly during the Winter, maybe changing up the root veg depending on what we have. Thanks for a great recipe

  • Summer

    5 stars
    So good!! Highly recommend!

  • Heidi

    5 stars
    Delicious! Made it in the Instant Pot, High Pressure for 15 min, coconut milk and spinach added after natural pressure release. Will reduce water to 3 cups for IP cooking next time. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Laura

      Hi Heidi!
      Thanks for letting us know how you made it in the Instant Pot! Cannot wait to try it this way.
      -L

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  • Rashidah

    Absolutely delicious!

  • TJ

    5 stars
    My Sister made this for me… it was amazing!!

  • Wan

    5 stars
    Omg this is delicious an very easy to make

  • Gabriele Niklaus

    5 stars
    Beautiful. Even used a little chili, which I usually don’t. Had no kale but cabbage which needed a little longer.

  • Jazzzyjesss

    5 stars
    Amazing! I made this stew in advance to have while camping with a group of 12 people, including 7 adults and 5 kids. I made it on a Friday and we ate it that Sunday, reheated over a campfire in a cast iron dutch oven. I left out the kale until it was fully heated through. The reviews were all 5 stars, even the kids loved it! Not a scrap left over. I’ll be making it again tonight for dinner, possibly over some rice. Thank you for sharing!

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  • Rose Johnson

    5 stars
    Honestly, this is our favorite recipe! We love love love this soup and have made your recipe so many times. We make homemade naan to serve with it and also add a dollop of plain yogurt at the end for extra creaminess. This is heaven

  • Sherry

    5 stars
    Love this!

  • Dana E

    5 stars
    The nigella seeds make this dish in my opinion! Worth tracking down for sure. I am not one who revisits recipes often, but this is a new staple. Everyone I share this with asks for the recipe. So good!

  • Rachel B

    I’m wondering how far in advance this can be made and/or if it freezes well? I have to make it for an event and would love to make it 5 days in advance….

  • Jessica

    Love this filling, pantry friendly meal! I made it with brown rice to stretch it and its a hit. That broth is incredible. Thank you Laura!

  • Angelica

    We love this recipe! We doubled the recipe for a dinner with friends and have a bit leftover. How long can this be stored in the fridge?

    • Laura

      Hi Angelica,
      This stew will keep up to 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
      -L

  • Bella

    5 stars
    My new favourite, cozy, warming recipe! Followed the recipe to the T and it was incredible. Perfectly sweet, spicy, and with some fresh lime and cilantro on top it hits the spot. Thank you for creating the most delicious recipes

  • Jill

    5 stars
    I never leave comments.  But I always make the recipe as listed the first time.  As I was preparing it, I was thinking about all the things I would change when I made it the next time.  Well I am here to tell you I will make it exactly as the recipe says next time.  It was spectacular and it is all gone already… 
    Guess its time to make it again, exactly as written.  Thanks

  • Morgan

    5 stars
    I love this recipe!! This will be a regular in my meal rotations.. thank you 

  • Stephanie

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe!!!!  Even my very particular Indian husband  (who initially said the recipe sounded like a disaster) gave the dish his highest compliment that it was “restaurant quality.”  

  • T

    5 stars
    Mad good. I love this. I didn’t have coriander but it seemed to be fine, and used a combo of crushed red pepper flakes, ancho chili  and cayenne. I didn’t add any salt until the lentils are done cooking because I think salt affects how lentils cook. added 3 dashes of graham Marsala seasoning after the first 30 minutes of stewing since I wanted more flavor, and I let it all stew for a lot longer after adding the coconut milk 

  • Shelly L

    5 stars
    We loved this! Easy and delicious! Thank you!

  • Lyndal Christoffersen

    5 stars
    This soup recipe is so delicious and healthy; definitely worth five stars!  Love this for a cold winters day with fresh homemade bread!  Substituted red lentils for the brown and spinach for kale.  Both substitutions worked out fine.  Will definitely make again!  Super easy to make.  

  • Doriane KS Yannucci

    5 stars
    I made with frozen diced root vegetables and frozen diced sweet potatoes, (Walmart) also frozen diced onions. No Kale but spinach was a great substitute because I love it. A few drops of lime at the end and served over a cup of Minute Rice Multigrain Medley, brown is good too. I might add some Broccoli Slaw on top next time. Great recipe! Easy to add and play with. Thank You!