red lentil and sweet potato curried soup

I love sweet potatoes, particularly because they’re delicious, healthy, and versatile. sweet? spicy? Creamily mashed as a comfort food or cut into fries as the perfect end-of-the-week burger accoutrement. It all works for this orange tuber.

But I’ve been wary of curry and sweet potatoes. I’ve seen offerings at restaurants, read recipes in magazines and online, and not once have thought the combination sounded appealing…. until this week. Monday night at 8:30pm, I decided to suddenly forge into the unknown of using a Thanksgiving staple in an Indian-inspired dish- and I’m so glad I did!

This recipe has, in my humble opinion, the right amount of kick. I’m not a hot-for-the-sake-of-hot person, but I love the complexity of Indian spices. The equal parts curry powder and ginger, plus a kick of cayenne and cardamom on the side, make this a perfect mid-day meal for me. The soft textures and warmth of the soup are relaxing, while the flavor reflects the sunniness of spring.

Did I mention how quick this is?! I had the idea to make this soup at 8:30, and by 9:30 – one measly hour later – had my kitchen cleaned up and the soup cooling, covered on the stovetop. That easy!

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curried Soup
Inspired by The Daily Green

2 medium or 1 large sweet potato, skin on and cut into 1″ pieces
2 cups red lentils
2 cups veggie or chicken stock
1/2 onion, sliced or chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced or minced
1 T. high quality curry powder
1 T. grated or minced ginger
1 t. coriander
1 t. cumin
1/2 to 1 t. cayenne (optional)
ground black pepper, sea salt or kosher salt (to taste)
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 c. green peas, fresh or frozen
unsweetened shredded coconut, dried or toasted (optional)

Wash and pick over the lentils. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the lentils, and simmer for 10 minutes.

While waiting, sautee onions in oil on medium-high until translucent. Add garlic and spices and sautee for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the celery and peas and sautee for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.

Once the lentils have been boiling for 10 minutes, drain most of the boiling liquid. Pour in the 2 cups of stock plus 2 cups of water. Add the sweet potato; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes to soften potatoes. Stir in the sauteed veggies and spices and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the texture you desire. Longer = softer. (I personally prefer to only simmer until the potatoes are fork-ready, as I like the crispness of celery and don’t like the potatoes mushy).

Remove from heat, cover, and allow to cool at room temperature for a few hours or overnight. Garnish with coconut (optional). If this is too spicy for you or you like a creamier texture, plain yogurt is a great stir-in.

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Filed under Clean Eating, Main dishes, Soups, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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