Sweet Potato, Lentil and Coconut Curry

Sweet Potato, Lentil and Coconut Curry


January is the ultimate comfort food month. It’s just so dark, grey and cold that our bodies crave warm, hearty dishes that feed the body and soul. Of course everyone is also trying to stick to their healthy New Years resolutions too, which can make this craving a little tricky! This is where my recipe for a sweet potato, lentil and coconut curry comes in. It’s the ultimate mix of the two! Full of incredibly nourishing ingredients that together really work to boost your health, yet at the same time each bite is so incredibly flavoursome and comforting with big chunks of tender sweet potato and green lentils cooked in creamy coconut milk and tins of juicy tomatoes, then flavoured with a blend of ginger, cumin, turmeric and fresh coriander! Just so delicious! I love it served on a bed of piping hot brown rice, but quinoa or homemade mash potato are also amazing sides for this! It’s an amazingly inexpensive meal too, all the ingredients are available at any supermarket and it’s the easiest thing to make for a big group of friends and family!

Serves 6

– 2 large sweet potatoes (mine weighed 1.5kg)
– 2 cups of black olives
– 1 and a 1/2 cups of lentils (500g)
– 2 cans of coconut milk
– 2 cans of tinned tomatoes
– a handful of fresh coriander leaves
– 1 tablespoon of turmeric
– 1 tablespoon of cumin
– 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
– salt and pepper
– 1 lemon

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Then start by cutting the sweet potatoes into small bite-sized cubes and finely chop the coriander.

Then place the coconut milk, tomatoes, turmeric, cumin and ground ginger in a large sauce pan or even better a Le Creuset style cast iron casserole dish, allow these to heat until they begin bubbling. At this point add the sweet potato cubes, lentils, olives and coriander plus salt and pepper.

Once everything is mixed simply place the lid on the pot and place it in the oven to cook for about an hour, until the potatoes are soft and everything tastes delicious! At this point squeeze the lemon juice into the pot and then serve.

If you’re making rice simply boil this when the pot goes in the oven so that the two finish cooking at the same time.


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  • Louise

    I just made this for Sunday lunch and it was gorgeous! Very filling and satisfying, thanks Ella! x

  • Alana Kelk

    This is so yummy, and best still that you can pop it in the oven for an hour and leave it to cook. My husband said this is the nicest vegetarian meal he’s had!

  • http://www.sarahlemkus.com/ Sarah Lemkus

    Making this tonight! But with not much in my pantry, I’ll swap the sweet potato for organic agria potatoes. Thanks Ella!

  • Kelly74

    We made this tonight for dinner and it was absolutely gorgeous! Had my doubts about putting olives in with it but my goodness it was delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe :)

  • Doris

    Hello, would you be able to provide the size of the cans? I live in Canada and the tinned tomatoes are 28oz and the coconut milk is 400ml. Is this the same size you are using?

  • ellawoodward

    Yes, that is the same as here!

  • Amy

    Did you leave the skin on the sweet potato?

  • Amy

    Is it 500g of dried lentils? I feel like I had too many lentils!

  • ellawoodward

    I usually peel them

  • Natalie Barrass

    Just made and devoured the curry with friends…and good wine. Fantasticdeliciouslyocious! Thank you Ella – loving the recipies, inspiration and sharing with friends x

  • Rebecca

    I made this tonight for my self and my husband… Halved the quantities and there is still loads left over! It was delicious … Even husband agreed who normally says my cooking is only fit for the bin! I wanted to try a vegetarian meal as had a heavy weekend a felt our stomachs needed a rest, and this was perfect… Will definitely be trying some more recipes soon. Thanks Ella!!

  • Lisa

    Just made this and it is absolutely delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Fleur

    This was truely delicious! Thanks Ella :) I’m really looking forward to the book!

  • ellawoodward

    You can always use less if you prefer! x

  • Louise

    Made this tonight, delicious. Thanks Ella x

  • Sam

    This was absolutely delicious and even better the next day. I have frozen some to eat at a later date so let’s see how that goes.

  • Simone Hamilton

    Ella…. This meal is absolutely divine! Don’t get me started on the Hummus as well! You are such an inspiration and have encouraged me to change to a plant based diet which I am loving! Feel the love from Queensland, Australia! My sister and I are obsessed with you! We love your down to earth nature and sheer beauty from within! Thank you for sharing all your wonderful knowledge xx

  • Guest

    Totally awesome! Thanks Ella

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Simone, thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m so pleased you and your sister are loving the recipes and this way of eating! It means so much to be that you feel inspired by the blog :) hope you have a lovely day. Ella X

  • Veronica

    Ella, hi from Sao Paulo! :) Trying this for the first time. However, it draws my attention how you use and recommend canned goods (lke the tomatoes or the lentils in one of the conversations), aren’t they supposed to be full of nasties to keep the food “fresh”? thanks. Look forward to hearing from you on this. LOVE your blog. Using the Apple Cider Vinegar and Coconut oil all the time :)) Veronica

  • Veronica

    Ella, hi from Sao Paulo! :) Trying this for the first time. However, it draws my attention how you use and recommend canned goods (lke the tomatoes or the lentils in one of the conversations), aren’t they supposed to be full of nasties to keep the food “fresh”? thanks. Look forward to hearing from you on this. LOVE your blog. Using the Apple Cider Vinegar and Coconut oil all the time :)) Veronica

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Veronica :) f you get high quality organic tomatoes and tinned lentils etc, I think whilst they are probably containing small amounts of preservatives, to a point I think sometimes this is going to be just essential and kind of unavoidable in the nature of packing food. If you read labels carefully then at least you have all the info to make up your mind whether it’s worth consuming the produce to get the other good benefits that it provides. Hope that helps somewhat, :) ella x

    • bootsyjam

      Canned tomatoes are apparently the worst for transferring the nasties into the food. In the case of tomatoes it’s the acid that interacts with the BPA in the can. I’m no vegan healthy eater by any means but only use cartons for these, I don’t know about lentils though…

  • Jonny Bennett

    this was incredible, thank you!

  • ellawoodward

    So glad to hear it! Ella :) X

  • Aman

    Ella, my oven is not working at the moment. If I wanted to keep the sweet potato in the recipe, how should I cook them?



  • ellawoodward

    Hi Ama – absolutely, you can steam them! I do it in my Sweet Potato brownie video, but you can just chop them into smaller pieces and then cook on a hob over a steamer :) hope that helps! ella x

  • Gemma Smith

    hi ella i was wondering if i could cook this in a slow cooker throughout the day instead of the oven?

    Thanks, cant wait to make this on saturday!

  • ellawoodward

    HI Gemma, I haven’t tried it but I absolutely don’t see why this would be a problem! Give it a try :) Ella x

  • Izzy Cinderella Sturrock

    I’ve halved the batch but there is still quite a lot portions wise just for me. Can you freeze this recipe?

  • ellawoodward

    Yes absolutely, it freezes really well x

  • Loubsloubs

    This is amaze!! I left out the olives as I don’t like them and added a sliced onion it was lovely. Thanks

  • Rita

    Hi Ella! I am trying this out for my boyfriend tomorrow for the first time, and really want to get it right. About what size was your pan, and how deep? Thank you! (:

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Rita, don’t worry too much about the pan. Just try to use a large pan and you can’t go too wrong. Ella x

  • Julia

    Hi Ella,
    Sorry if you’ve been asked this already…just wondering which brand of coconut milk you use?
    The tinned varieties seem to range in the types of preservatives added in.
    P.s. Enjoyed listening to you on radio 2 yesterday!

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Julia, I love the Rude Health coconut milk! Have a lovely day! X

  • lottie

    Firstly I want to thank you for bringing this recipe into my life. It is my favourite meal ever! Just a quick question. In the picture it shows the lentils and sweet potatoes keeping shape but when ever I make it it just forms a sort of mash. Any idea why this is? I don’t pre soak the lentils or anything.

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Lottie, so glad you love the recipes! Perhaps the lentils and sweet potato were boiling for too long. There is no need to soak the lentils! Have a lovely day x

    • lottie

      Just tried the recipe again and realised its a combination of that and having too much liquid/ not enough sweet potato last time i think. Thanks, Lottie x

  • Hayley

    Hi Ella,
    Could you tell me the difference between coconut milk from the carton (eg rude health) and coconut milk from the tin (eg Amoy or Blue dragon). Can they both be used for curries, soups and porridge? Ive noticed the rude health is made from coconut cream and the tins have coconut extract. I don’t know if they are the same thing..confused!

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Hayley, I would recommend going for rude health or Biona coconut milk as tinned coconut milk often contains additives. Have a lovely day! X

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Hayley, I would recommend using Rude Health or Biona coconut milk as the tinned milks tend to contain additives. Have a lovely day! X

  • Alexandra

    Hi Ella, could you recommend an alternative to the lentils, they tend to leave me feeling bloated? I have become addicted to your recipes, I have had stomach problems for years and following this way of eating is definitely helping, thank you for sharing your recipes.

    Alexandra x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Alexandra, so glad that you’re feeling much better on plant-based food! You could try cannellini beans or chickpeas, or even quinoa for something lighter. Have a lovely day.X

  • Suzie

    Hey Ella, my uni flatmates and I made this tonight and we just want to thank you because this recipe is beyond delicious!! We all loved it! Thank you from all of us :) x

  • Jane Taylor

    Hi Ella,
    I love your recipes. I made this curry with 2 fresh beefsteak tomatoes (diced) , instead of tinned. I also added a little diced onion, garlic and chilies for more of a kick. It was incredible and even better the next day. So for all the people moaning about tinned tomatoes – mine turned out fabulously with fresh tomatoes!

  • Emily

    This looks delicious! I’ll be making it tomorrow for dinner. About the tomatoes- how large are the cans? And are the tomatoes crushed, whole, or diced? Thanks so much!

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Emily, the cans should be 400g each. The tomatoes are often crushed or diced. Hope you love the recipe, have a lovely day! X

    • Emily

      Thank you! I just made this. So wonderfully delicious. I even tried to get my little brother (a sugar, all things junk food 13 yr old) to try it.

      I love your recipes and your website so much! This is not the first- and certainly not the last- time I have used your recipes. I have had a mostly plant-based diet for around a year and a half now, with occasional fish and dairy, and your recipes never disappoint. I just ordered the cookbook!

      Thanks so much for everything you do! You inspire me so much!

  • Melissa

    Can you use red lentils for this?

  • hayleygray

    I made this curry the other night and it was lovely. I dislike olives though so I replaced those with some green beans. I used half the amounts asked for too as I don’t have large dishes to put in my oven. It still made enough hearty portions for four people (with rice). Thank you for sharing this Ella.

  • hayleygray

    I made this curry the other night and it was lovely. I dislike olives though so I replaced those with some green beans. I used half the amounts asked for too as I don’t have large dishes to put in my oven. It still made enough hearty portions for four people (with rice). Thank you for sharing this Ella.

  • ellawoodward

    Yes red lentils will work well! X

  • sandra

    Ella, hi, this looks delicious. Can I substitute fresh cilantro for the coriander leaves? and do I use just regular black olives found in a tin/can? It looks from the picture your olives are marinated ? thanks in advance. sandra

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Sandra, yes you can use fresh cilantro. I would use black olives from a jar. Have a lovely day. X

  • AMY

    Hi Ella, I made this today and it didn’t come out as expected unfortunately and i don’t know where i went wrong? After an hour the curry had dried out and the sweet potato still wasn’t cooked. Would it be because I used reduced fat coconut milk? I would love to make this again but not have it turn out wrong. I would appreciate your help! :) Amy

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Amy, I’m sorry the recipe didn’t turn out great. I make this quite often and it’s always delicious. I use full fat coconut milk. I buy it in a tin from a brand called Biona. This low fat milk may have caused the curry to dry out! Hope it turns out delicious next time. Have a lovely day x

  • girlnextdoorfashion

    Made this last night and even my meat-eating boyfriend enjoyed it!
    I didn’t know if my pans could go in the oven so I made it on the hob. I boiled the sweet potatoes separately until fork-tender and in another pan did the spices, coconut milk, tomatoes, olives and lentils and simmered it until the lentils were cooked and then mixed in the cooked sweet potatoes towards the end.
    I added some onions but I think next time I’ll add some chilli for some extra spice.
    I halved the recipe and there was still loads – two big portions and a big portion for the freezer, which is great! I hate it when a recipe says it served 4 and I can only get 3 portions out of it!
    Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!


    • Vicky

      Hi Charlotte! I was wondering if I could do the recipe on the hob too! Great to know it turned out well! How long did you boil sweet potatoes? how long did you cook spices, coconut, lentils, etc? what was the total cooking time?
      Thank you in advance!

  • http://www.ukhealthylivingtips.co.uk/ UK Healthy Living Tips

    I recently made this curry and Its delicious! Perfect for keeping in your fridge and reheating in the next few days, I even wrote a blog post about this amazing recipe and many other similar healthy recipes.

  • Natasha

    Hi Ella, can this be put in a slow cooker? Thanks x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Natasha, I haven’t tried it with a slow cooker but I think it could work well! X

  • Ciara S Fitz

    Can I ask please, do you use already cooked lentils here, or are they dried? And are they red, green??? Many thanks…gonna have this tonight…already made the Mushroom and Chick pea stew last night and it was yummers! Have frozen that batch now for 4 more dinners…love that fact…cheap and easy meals are the way to go! :D..oopsie I see you already answered this question further down…sorry 😀

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Ciara, I used green lentils. You can use canned lentils or dried. If they are dried, I would recommend soaking them overnight. So glad you love the stew, have a lovely day! Ella x

  • Clair Routledge

    Tried this for the first time last night; added some red onion too. My husband, mum and I all loved it. x

  • Anna

    Hi! Is there something I can use instead of olives?

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Anna, you can just take the olives out of the recipe. Hope you love it! X

  • Hannah Lodge

    Made this tonight, one word…YUM!!!!

  • eimearbaxter

    Hi Ella! Trying this as my first attempt at cooking from your delicious recipes, but just for two! Can i justdivide the portions by 3? Thanks!

    • ellawoodward

      Yes dividing it into three portions would work well. Hope you love it! X

  • Paul Sanders

    Hi Ella! How big were your sweet potatoes??
    2 weighing 1.5kg (2 x 750g) – sounds huge…

    • ellawoodward

      I used pretty large sweet potatoes, totaling 1.5kg, but this recipe is enough to serve 6 people. Hope you love it x

  • ellawoodward

    There are some miso brands that don’t include soy but if you can’t get hold of any it will still be great without! xx

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Hannah, I sadly haven’t had much experience using a slow cooker before so I wouldn’t know about the conversions but I imagine that it would work really well! Have a lovely day x

  • Emma

    Hi there I wondered where you got your coconut milk from as a few I’ve seen tend to have preservatives etc in them. Many thanks :-)

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Emma, Biona do a great organic coconut milk in a can! X

  • ellawoodward

    So sorry but I don’t have the calorie content for any of my recipes are I much prefer to count goodness and nutrients rather than calories! X

  • ellawoodward

    Dried lentils. I like using green puy lentils. Hope it turns out delicious x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Angela, so happy you love this recipe – its the best warming winter recipe. Have a lovely day x

  • Luana

    Hi Ella :) Can i frooze this meal if i’ve made too much of it? :)

    • ellawoodward

      Yes this freezes really well x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Heather, I tend to avoid things like this as it’s best to eat a diet without any additives and preservatives. I buy coconut milk in a can but always make sure it’s organic to avoid preservatives and added sugars. Biona is a great brand to try which you can find in most health food stores x

  • ellawoodward

    I use the fan mode on my oven. Hope you love it! X

  • Riley

    Hi Ella! Some people in my family don’t like olives. Is there something I can use instead? Or should I just not use them? Thanks!

    • ellawoodward

      You can just leave these out, it will still taste delicious! X

  • ellawoodward

    So sorry to hear this, I’ve never experienced this myself before. If you feel it’s drying out you can always add a little more water and coconut milk! X

  • Heather

    I make this recipe all the time, it’s great, thanks so much

  • ellawoodward

    It depends on which ones you get as they can all cook slightly differently. I like using the green puy lentils x

  • Heidi

    Hi Ella, my family and I tried this last night and it was a hit! Even my VERY fussy little sister was happy. We mixed your recipe up a little by exchanging the olives for onion and adding cardamom pods and fresh chillies. It was really tasty. Thankyou for this recipe!

    Heidi :)

    • ellawoodward

      Sounds delicious! So pleased you all loved it x