Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils

Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and LentilsPinit

I had an embarrassing moment today.

A two part embarrassing moment, if we’re being honest.

Part one was me running into the gas station in the rain to pick up some last minute baking supplies.   I wish that were the end of the story.

I had chocolate chips and butter in mind, but I found myself with chocolate chips and Crisco in my hands as I walked out. I don’t know if you’ve ever bought Crisco from a gas station, but I’m sure you can imagine the feelings one has walking out of such a fine place, into the rain, with an armful of canned lard.

Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils

Part two happened when an older lady, standing in the literally freezing rain, knocked on my window to find out if I was indeed going to pump air into my tires.

I didn’t explain that, no, I didn’t know I was sitting in front of the air pump thingymajig, and yes, I was just sitting in my car, eating chocolate chips and posting a picture of it on Facebook.  I don’t think I really needed to explain anything.

I should probably learn about pumping air in my tires.

4.7 from 29 reviews
Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled and diced.
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ head green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • ⅔ cup regular coconut milk
  • cilantro for topping
  • salt to taste
  1. Pour lentils, broth, and sweet potatoes into a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 30-45 minutes, or until lentils and sweet potatoes are just barely done cooking. Add the turmeric, tomatoes and ginger to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Add garlic, onions, and jalapenos. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for 10 minutes, or until cabbage is cooked through.
  3. Add cabbage to lentil pot and stir in coconut milk. Top with cilantro.
The turmeric is important because it helps with flavor, but also with bright yellow color. Without it, the color of the dish starts to look a little dull.


Nutrition Lentils

You guys.  This dish.

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten something that feels so decadently flavorful and filling for less than 200 calories.  It’s got sweet potatoes, lentils, coconut milk, cabbage, onions, jalapenos, and a delicious array of spices that give it a punchy color and an amazing flavor.

For all you who have been requesting a re-post of this recipe – thank you!  I almost forgot how much I absolutely adore it.

Go shorty, it’s the weekend!

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  1. What an interesting looking dish! It looks very comforting. More importantly, your story made me crack up. I’ve done the gas station run for baking supplies before. In my defense, it was snowing and the gas station was the closest store. There were cookies to be made, darnit!

  2. I once walked to a gas station in my pyjamas at 3am in the morning to buy a Krispy Kreme. It was one of my finest hours.

    Love the punchy flavours in this dish!

  3. Yum! I have a question for you – were you dipping the chocolate chips in the Crisco? That would be really, really bad. And gross. 😉
    No, the real question – I am a fresh ginger novice. You say “fresh minced ginger” above. I know you peel the ginger, and I know after you peel it, there is a nice smooth surface on the “meat”, but then on the inside it gets all weird and stringy – do you use that part too?
    This looks like a perfect way to choke down some veggies! 😉

    • Lindsay says:

      Good question! Sometimes I actually just buy fresh ginger paste and keep it in the fridge for a fast and easy (and texturally normal) alternative. :). For this one, I did mince the fresh ginger. I peeled it, smashed it with the back of a spoon, and minced the whole thing up. Stringy part and all. When minced and added to all this other goodness, you really can’t notice the texture – but the taste is awesome. :) I love ginger!

  4. looks delish! i’m always looking for new lentil recipes!

  5. This dish is right up my alley! I love lentils and sweet potatoes together!

  6. My husband owned a gas station when we lived in FL a few years ago, believe me there are WAY more embarrassing things that are purchased in convenience stores. 😉

  7. What a fun stew! Anything with coconut milk is my friend.

  8. sweet potatoes, lentils, coconut milk, the flavors…oh yum!

    and the photos are gorgeous!

    BTW after you posted that link to the Kitchn yesterday, I realized I was on it too. So thanks for the heads up :)

  9. I love that this has ingredients that I always seem to have available :-) So glad you shared the photograph on facebook! It looks so delish!

  10. Your story cracked me up. It has been a good long while since I used Crisco, though being the coffee fiend that I am, I can relate to going to the gas station for food items because I have ran there multiple times only for milk for my morning coffee. And….well…I don’t know how to put air in my tires, either. Anyway, your sweet potato and lentil recipe looks awesome – you used all ingredients I keep around the house all the time, so this would be a very easy dish to whip up. So yummy and nutritious!

    • Lindsay says:

      It does my heart good to know that normal people also frequent the gas station for the essentials. Although is Crisco really an essential? Anyways. You get what I mean. :)

  11. I’m glad you have your priorities in line. I would pass no judgement on any exiting person carrying Crisco and chocolate chips!

  12. Haha I’ve had many, MANY embarrassing moments as well, so you’re not alone! This recipe sounds awesome. I’m trying to cook with lentils more so I’m glad you posted this :)

    • Lindsay says:

      Lentils are not really something I usually crave, but I did crave this combo all week… I could hardly wait for my lunch break every day! :) goooo lentils!

  13. My embarrassing moment…? Admitting that I don’t actually know how to prepare or even purchase a lentil. Are they canned or dried? What kind does your recipe call for? (I always thought that lentil was a generic word for bean, like Kleenex and facial tissue.) One other question: What do I do if this recipe sounds heavenly, but tomato chunks make me gag? They are Flanagan kryptonite. BTW… I will be making your donut recipe in the morning… Another happy family memory, thanks to you.

    • Lindsay says:

      Lentils are usually sold as dry beans. I buy them in a bag, usually next to the rice section in the store. They’re super cheap which is an added bonus! Basically you boil them till they’re cooked (like in this recipe). And as for the tomatoes, you could definitely just omit them! :) you tomato hater you.

  14. Hahaha, I would’ve loved to hear you try to explain yourself to that poor, freezing old lady! This dish looks like perfect rainy day healthy food!

    • Lindsay says:

      Rainy and/or snowy… We woke up to another blanket of fresh whiteness! At least I have one bowl of this left. :)

  15. You’re my idol, Lindsay.

    I had a bit of an embarrassing moment today too. I worked out on an empty stomach tonight and by the time I got in the car, I had no more water left and I was just about to pass out. I couldn’t go straight home because I had to pick up some spices at Whole Foods. So I somehow magically make it to Whole Foods and I’m frantically grabbing every snack I could see. I get in the car and I snag the box of butter cookies and frantically rip open it and stuff as many cookies into my mouth as possible. I take my Whole Foods bag up to the apartment and to my disappointment, one of my spices are missing. Apparently it flew out when I was taking out my bag of cookies. I still have yet to go to the car and look for it.

  16. Great dish, and beautiful photos!

  17. This looks so delicious! I sooo miss having sweet potatoes…. What passes for sweet potatoes in this country are white and really starchy and just not very pleasant. Eat an extra bowl full for me!

  18. Lizzie in LA says:

    Hate to be nit-picky nor defensive of Crisco, but it’s not lard which is basically pure pork fat. Looked it up and Crisco is made from soybean oil/cottonseed oil, partially hydrogenated I read correctly. That said, I’ve bookmarked your recipe, which looks absolutely fabulous!!!!

  19. 56dustbunny says:

    OMG !!!! I just made this for dinner, sometimes I just don’t need meat. This is soooooooo freaking delicious !!!!! Thanks so much for posting it :) its a keeper !!! I seriously could eat the whole lot right now :D,

  20. Made this tonight and I love it! Can’t wait to take it for lunch this week!

  21. This dish looks so flavorful and healthy. I love the veggie combination, including the use of cabbage.

  22. I made this last night. Very hearty flavorful Dish. I only used one jalapeno, should of used 2 thinking it might be to hot for my kids. Will definitely make this again!

  23. This looks so delicious! We made something similar a few weeks ago — makes me want to try it out again! :)

  24. My friends and I made this dish for our girl’s night. It was delicious! We left out the jalapenos bc they didn’t think they could handle the hot (I could have). I passed it on to my mom, and I will be passing along your website to my fellow teachers (I’m a student teacher). Tonight I’m trying your Smoky White Bean Chili with Pork. Thanks :)

    • Awesome! I just made another curry lentil recipe today that I’m in love with… Similar to this one. I’ll probably post it this week sometime! :)

  25. debbies21 says:

    just watched the food network show dinners, driveins and dives and they had a mexican, i hate to use the term restaurant, establishment attached to a gas station. Joe theisman was part of the segment and they were going on how good the food was.

    So i guess you can get good things from a gas station

  26. This looks so. good. I think I even have all of these ingredients in my cupboards! Except maybe coconut milk…

    • I need to keep coconut milk on hand more often. I’ve had a few cans in my cupboard lately and I like the results! :)

  27. Question! I’d love to make this. I love sweet potatoes and lentils, my boyfriend can’t have things with too much spice after a workout. How spicy is this recipe with the jalapeños in it? I can imagine that the sweet potatoes and coconut milk balance it out. Also, I’m not a huge cabbage fan, can you recommend another vegetable to replace the cabbage with? Another winter green maybe like kale, collard greens, or chard…would that change the taste too much?
    Thanks for all your great recipes!!

    • Hi Kayla! It’s not very spicy at all. I would leave everything the same, or maybe just use 1 jalapeno, but if you take out the seeds and ribs it really shouldn’t be too spicy. As for the cabbage, I would just add some more sweet potatoes and maybe try it with kale instead! :) Hope you like it!

      • Should have thought about the kale, which I always have around–cabbage, not so much. Will try that next time! A big yum, and I am NOT a coconut fan!

        • I really don’t like cabbage.. but its actually really good in this soup. Whenever I get cabbage from my CSA I make this… Give it a try =)

  28. This both looks and sounds delicious! I wish I could make it tonight for supper, but I live in Thailand, and we actually don’t have sweet potatoes here. :) I’ll have to put this on my short list of “definitely have to make this right away when we move back to the States!” Yum.

  29. Just made this for dinner tonight, and loved it! I used spinach instead of cabbage (my loathing of cabbage is insurmountable), and it was delicious. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Awesome! I like the substitution of spinach.. I’m totally a fan of cabbage but I know lots of people don’t share the love. :) I’m glad you liked it!

  30. I made this last night, and you’re right – it’s the most filling and comforting veggie dish I’ve ever eaten! Thanks for the recipe.

  31. Amazing!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Thanks for sharing the recipe – getting ready to try it now. Did you simmer the lentils/sweet potatoes/broth covered or uncovered?

  33. Michelle G says:

    Hello! New reader from Australia here – came across this recipe and it’s simmering away in the pot right now. We are trying to eat more vegetarian dishes, but I am new to cooking with things like lentils etc. Smells delish!

  34. Meredith says:

    Found this recipe by accident while googling for a sweet potato soup to cure my terrible head cold. This is amazing! And now that I found your blog, I’m going to search for more delicious recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  35. I just made this soup…. it’s AWESOME! The flavors put together are amazing. Highly recommend this to anyone!

  36. Thanks for re-posting this! I’m one of the people who requested it and I have actually made it twice since March. I’m in love with the flavors.

  37. I had to let you know I just made this and it is AMAZING. The flavors go so well together. I can’t wait to make it again and impress my friends with the dish!

  38. I’m normally a “cook-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kind of gal … but, I fully embraced the Vegan lifestyle two weeks ago. And, ever since I’ve been in search of some great new recipes.

    This dish is everything I hoped it would be, and then some.

    I got rid of the butter and simply added some extra olive oil to this dish. And, wow. It’s definitely more than a “pinch” of yum.

    I actually doubled the dish, because we eat a lot here and I wanted left-overs. 😉

    I ate it over a little bit of Jasmine rice as well.

    My house smells great, and my tummy is happy. AND, my non-vegan husband couldn’t get enough. In fact, my 16-month-old even had a bowl.

    Thanks so much!

  39. I made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful! Soooo much better than I expected it to be. I will be making it again for sure.

  40. Found this googling for lentil recipes, sounds amazing! Think it’s doable in a crock pot? My schedule’s a beast and I’d love to eat more lentils but there’s never really an hour in my day to supervise them. :)

  41. I made this today and I think it’s ok. Probably not something I’d make again. On the plus side, it was cheap and easy!

  42. We absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking
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  43. WOW. First time seeing your blog, and I immediately consider this a “favorite” recipe after making it for the first time for dinner tonight.
    Thanks for this.

  44. I have just made this for my dinner at university and it was amazing!!! I put Kale in instead of cabbage though and it worked well.
    I just wanted to say how inspirational your blog and your life is! Teaching in an orphanage is a dream of mine. And I love how you help other bloggers like me. I have included you on my Blogroll because it would be wrong not to, I have a look every day :)

  45. This looks & sounds fantastic! I have a question, though. I’m thinking of bringing it to a potluck, but would have to prepare it ahead of time because of our crazy schedule. Have you made it ahead, and does it turn out as well? Any make-ahead tips are always great; thank you!

    • Don’t overcook the sweet potatoes or the cabbage… the sweet potatoes will get mushy if you cook them for too long, and the cabbage might do better if it’s left just slightly undercooked (kind of tender-crisp). Good luck!

  46. I made this today and it was definitely delicious… My favorite kind of comforting, one pot, veggie dish. Definitely a keeper. I did have a question, though… For whatever reason, I was expecting this to have more of the consistency of a curry, but mine was basically like soup. (Maybe because I simmered it covered?) In your photos, it looked a lot thicker. Is this normal? Do you serve it over rice to thicken it at all?

    • No, the sauce itself isn’t that thick, although it does thicken when you let it sit in the fridge overnight. I’m not sure but I may have shot the photos for this dish the day after, when it was a little thicker. I’m sure it would be great with rice too! :)

  47. Hi Lindsay!
    I plan on making this tonight. It looks amazingly yummy…I think I could swim in it! I was wondering, do you pre-soak the lentils or just rinse them and cook them right out of the bag? This will be my first time cooking with lentils and I’m super excited!! Thanks!

  48. This looks delicious! I can’t wai to try it. What type of oil do you suggest?

  49. I made this for a group of friends earlier in 2012 and just thought about it again. Wonderful dish, great for sharing, and rather economical for being so unique!

  50. Pinned this recipe ages ago and just got around to making it tonight. Shockingly good and totally out of my element. I can’t believe I have waited this long to cook with cabbage.

    Thanks for posting!

  51. This was fabulous…especially on this snowy night! Hearty and so healthy! Delicious. I didn’t add coconut milk (boyfriend doesn’t like it) which I’m fine with too because it’s a bit sweet for my taste… also, I added carrots instead of cabbage because I had them, and it was wonderful. I served it with a salad. Will definitely make this again!

  52. This sounds soooo wonderful…can’t wait to make!
    One question…is the coconut milk the kind in the can or the kind in the carton in the refrigerated section?

    Thanks so much!

  53. I made this Lentils reicpe last night for dinner and just let me say, “YUM!!”. I had already decided to have lentils, saw your recipe and thought – ‘I have most of those ingredients, why not give it a try.’ What a wonderful dish, Thank You SO much for sharing! My husband went crazy when he ate it. [Funny thing is, I used what was on hand- red cabbage instead of green. After it cooked in, it looked a lot like bacon. He was SO excited to ‘see’ bacon in his dinner! (haha)]
    He took a bowl a bowl to work today for lunch and just text me (at 10AM) that he couldn’t stop thinking about those lentils so ate them already. Now, he’ll have to go out for lunch.
    Thanks again for sharing!

  54. I cook A LOT of soup, almost always without a recipe. This was the worst soup I’ve ever made. I would not recommend. These items should not go together.

  55. r4i gold says:

    Hey, thanks for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  56. Just made this recipe and it was beyond delish! My husband proclaimed we can have it again for dinner, it’s that good!

  57. So excited you shared all these great lentil recipes. Will try to Creamy Thai Lentils tomorrow; yea!!

  58. Carolyn says:

    Another 5 star recipe. Tried the Thai Basil Coconut Lentils and now the Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils and I love them both. I’m going to try your salad recipes next as the summer is coming. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  59. So delicious! I made it satay flavoured by adding 3T peanut butter and it was a very good time.

  60. This dish was ridiculous. Will be a go to in my kitchen from now on! I found the link on pinterest which took me to your amazing site. cant wait to try more, Thank you !

  61. Hi Lindsay:

    We love this recipe! However, I’d like to point out an omission. The recipe says to top with cilantro, but the ingredient list does not call for cilantro, so when I make my shopping list from the ingedient list, I don’t buy the cilantro that would be SO GOOD on top of this dish. Can you add it to the ingredient list so poor souls like me won’t be so sad when they realize the are missing a key ingredient?


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  64. Notice here :). When you call for regular coconut milk – are you referring to canned coconut milk (sweet or unsweet) OR the kind sold in a carton like a drink (also sweet or unsweet)? They are Quite different products and I’m always unsure which a new recipe is calling for.
    I can’t wait to try this … Hopefully tonight!
    Thank you.

  65. Oops. That was “novice here” :)

  66. I just tried this recipe today, there is no way that this is less than 200. so full, and so sinfully delicious!

  67. Hi Lindsay,
    This looks perfect, and I can’t wait to try it tomorrow night. Did you use yellow/red or green lentils?
    I tried to figure it out through the pictures and comments but couldn’t. I have both so hoping to hear from you. Otherwise I’ll pick one and wing it and will then let you know!

  68. Lindsay,
    I made this last night and heated it up for my co-workers today at lunch. It was simply divine! I subbed a few things… celery for onions (as one friend doesn’t eat them), and lite coconut milk for full fat. I had a heaping portion and I’m so full right now… but dreaming about the leftovers that are down in the fridge. THANK YOU for sharing! I’ll have to check out your other recipes now. And I see you love dark chocolate. Have you tried the dark chocolate pretzel thins? I’m obsessed. Way too obsessed right now.

  69. Rachel Radford says:

    I just have to say, I have made this recipe several times now and it is one of my favorites! Best Pinterest find ever! Thank you!

  70. Going to try this tomorrow. Just a quick question, did you use red lentils? I also have dupuy french lentils, which should I use? I’m also planning to use purple cabbage, since that’s what I have on hand.

    I’m sure I’ll love this, hoping my kids will too!

  71. I just made this – delicious! I saw the note about red lentils too late so I made it with brown. They didn’t quite break down enough, but still very tasty. I also didn’t have jalapeños so i added some cayenne and it was good. Have you frozen this?

  72. Hi Lindsay! This recipe looks great and I’m planning to make it sometime this week, but I’m confused about what kind of lentils to use–in one response you wrote “I always use brown-looking lentils which are actually green lentils” but then in a response a few months later you wrote “I used red lentils for this one.” I would love some clarification, thanks!

    • Wow – good catch. It is supposed to be BROWN lentils. :) I think I responded thinking that this was another recipe that did use red lentils. So many lentil recipes I’m getting them all mixed up! But I did use regular old brown lentils for this.

  73. Made this tonight on a whim & substituted with what I had on hand; chicken stock, parsnips and carrots for the second sweet potato, and added a tsp of curry powder. Delish!

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