Lentils, Sweet Potatoes and Spinach in Pumpkin Curry


We’ve received a lovely dose of frigid weather this week, and it has us craving hearty, hot meals. This dish is perfect cold weather comfort food–hot, hearty, nourishing and healthy. I wouldn’t normally associate a vegan stew with stick-to-your-ribs winter fare, but this fits the bill and is on our list of make again meals. The combination of pumpkin, spices and coconut milk makes a rich base for red lentils, flavorful sweet potatoes and fresh spinach. You could thin this out a bit and serve it as a soup, but we prefer it thick like a stew. You could also substitute butternut squash for the sweet potatoes and chard or kale for the spinach. Don’t let the long list of ingredients keep you from trying this. Most of the list is spices and the whole dish comes together very easily in one pan!

A note about red lentils: Red lentils are smaller than other varieties and will dissolve into a sauce if cooked for long periods of time. If you use a larger, thicker variety of lentil, adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Lentils, Sweet Potatoes and Spinach in Pumpkin Curry (serves 4)

  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground, black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 cup dried, red lentils
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, washed and trimmed of stems
  1. Mix the first 10 ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a deep skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan and stir well, coating the potatoes with the oil.
  5. Pour the pumpkin curry mixture over the potatoes, stir well and reduce heat to medium low. If the sauce is too thick, add 1/2 cup water and stir.
  6. Cover the pan and simmer the potatoes for 10 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water if needed to keep the sauce from sticking.
  7. Add the lentils, cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Add the spinach and cook another 5 minutes or until the lentils are soft, but not dissolved, and spinach is wilted.
  9. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary for your palate.
  10. Serve immediately.

Lentil Kale Soup with Sausage


This soup has a lot of great things going for it. First, it is packed with protein and (thanks to some delicious chicken sausage) it is low in fat. Second it is super high in fiber and third it is inexpensive to make. So what’s not to love? If you ask my daughter, it’s the mushrooms, so we’ve listed them as optional in case you have mushroom haters in your house, too. This is one of those soups that came together at the last minute–a little of this, a little of that. Adjust the vegetables and seasonings based on what you have handy. Carrots would be great and so would tomatoes!

Lentil Kale Soup with Sausage (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (we used chicken with sun dried tomatoes)
  • 1 organic, yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 package baby Portabello mushrooms, sliced
  • Kosher or sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 small bunch organic kale, washed, stemmed and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups organic small, whole lentils
  1. In a Dutch oven, brown the sausages whole over medium heat and cook through, about 15 minutes. Remove sausages to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Save 2 tablespoons of the sausage drippings (use grape seed or olive oil if you need to).
  3. Heat oil over medium low and add onions. Stir well and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, stir and cook 1 minute.
  5. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and stir. Cook another 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add the kale and cook an additional 3 minutes. Cut the sausages into bite sized pieces.
  7. Add the vegetable stock and sausage pieces. Stir well to combine and simmer over low for 1 hour. Lentils should be very tender.
  8. Serve immediately with a salad or with some crusty bread!
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