Meatless Monday–Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes

The food bloggers dilemma–you make something delicious.  Surprisingly delicious, in fact.  I mean, you obviously didn’t set out to make something you didn’t think would be good, but then it turns out really good.  You love every bite and the leftovers even make great lunches.  So what’s the problem?  

It looks like this.

curried lentils with sweet potato

It doesn’t sit beautifully in the bowl, it isn’t bursting with multiple colors, and the texture doesn’t exactly jump out at you.  Frankly, it’s downright homely.

But don’t judge.  Not every dish can be the beautiful homecoming queen of your kitchen.  What this meal lacks in looks it more than makes up for in flavor and versatility.  In fact, the original calls for yellow curry powder, which I don’t like.  Red curry paste was a substitution.  Not a fan of sweet potatoes?  I bet butternut squash would be just as good.  Can’t find good chard in the store?  How about kale or escarole?  I don’t think you can go wrong.

Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes

adapted from Smitten Kitchen


2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-in. piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
2 TBSP red curry powder
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
5-6 c. vegetable broth  

2 lbs. orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes (about 4 c.)
1 1/2 c. dried lentils (I used red)
1 bay leaf
1 lb. Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 c. chopped scallions, for garnish  


1.  In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and saute
until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.  

2.  Add garlic, ginger, garam masala,
curry powder and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

3.  Stir in 5 c. broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf.  
Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium,
partially cover, and simmer 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up
to 1 cup stock or water, as needed.) 

4.  Stir in chard, salt, and pepper, and
continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30
to 45 minutes total.

5. Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice.  Spoon
into a large, shallow serving dish or individual dishes. Garnish with almonds and
scallions.  Serves six.

one year ago: pumpkin dip

two years ago: double vanilla marshmallows

three years ago: mini pumpkin cheesecakes with cinnamon crusts

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. That Girl
    December 19, 2011 / 10:36 am

    I had the opposite dilemma this evening – a recipe that would have been beautiful to photograph, but it was awful tasting!

  2. Kira
    December 19, 2011 / 3:29 pm

    Oh yum! This contains nearly every single one of my favorite (relatively healthy) things. I can see making this after the holidays wind down for sure. And picture-schmicture! If it's good, it's good.

  3. Yale Heart Study
    December 19, 2011 / 4:34 pm

    Hi Kelsey,I found out about your blog from Meatless Monday. Since vegetarian diets are related to heart health, my colleagues and I at the Yale Heart Study recently joined the Meatless Monday cause to help decrease meat consumption. With your recipes, encouraging people to eat meatless will be easy! I am very interested in collaborating with you. Please contact me at to discuss ways we can work together to promote heart health. I look forward to hearing from you. Happy Holidays! Megan

  4. Nikki
    December 21, 2011 / 7:53 pm

    haha! I love your commentary on this. And, although it might not be the prettiest dish, you sure did take a great picture of it still!

  5. Cate
    December 21, 2011 / 9:30 pm

    Story of my life! I've avoided blogging quite a few delicious things because I just can't make them look appetizing

  6. Christi
    January 12, 2012 / 12:47 am

    Thanks for posting this! I just made it and it was really good. I didn't have quite enough swiss chard, so added some spinach, but otherwise followed the recipe and served with homemade naan bread. Will definitely make again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *