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If you don’t have a simple red lentil curry recipe in your repertoire, today we’re going to change that. This sweet potato red lentil curry is one of my favorite meals to make because it’s so nourishing and flavorful. It’s perfect for the colder months, but honestly, I make it year round. This curry is a must for meal prep, and even freezes well!

One of the first meals I perfected when I was still in college was a carrot red lentil soup. I had never cooked with red lentils before discovering that recipe, and I was immediatly a fan. Unlike other legumes red lentils cook very quickly. They don’t need to be soaked. Just a simple rinse and they’re ready to go. Because of their ease, they are still my go to easy-to-cook ingredient. Honestly, I don’t make that old carrot red lentil soup anymore. Instead, I go for this sweet potato red lentil curry because it’s even more filling, and I’m a huge curry fan.

Like all legumes, red lentils are a great source of plant based protein and fiber. They are also high in folate, iron, potassium, and manganese. Also zinc, beta-carotene, niacin, and phytonutrients that provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in the body. Lentils should be a regular part of your diet, so add this recipe to your rotation. I’ll link some of my favorite lentil recipes below, right before the recipe.

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I buy my red lentils either in bulk or at the local Indian grocery store. At the Indian grocer I also buy my spices needed for this recipe: curry powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and Kashmiri chili powder. Since they usually come in large bags that are not resealable, I transfer them to glass jars and label them. The glass jars will keep them fresh for longer. Like all ethnic grocery stores, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for at a much better price than the big chains have. It’s also fun to walk down the aisles of the store discovering ingredients you’ve never heard of––like Kashmiri chili! I had never heard of it before, but now I use it to replace cayenne pepper in my cooking. It isn’t as spicy, but the flavor is lovely and I can use it in food that I share with Baby J. Another ingredient that I have discovered at my local Indian grocery store is moong dal, split mung beans. I used it in this curry and I might like it better than red lentils. It’s so creamy!! Let me know if you want to see some more recipes with this yummy legume 🙂

If you also love lentils, or want to start loving them, check out these other lentil recipes from my blog: Lentil Meatballs, Walnut Lentil Taco “Meat”, Easy Lentil Tacos with mango guacamole, vegan Shepherd’s Pie, and Lentil Sweet Potato Chili.

4.65 from 28 votes

Sweet Potato Red Lentil Curry {Instant Pot option}

By: Jenné
This sweet potato red lentil curry is inspired by the Red Lentil Almond Curry in the Vegan Instant Pot cookbook by Nisha Vora. She stir 3 tablespoons of almond butter into the curry, and it is so rich and creamy. Try that if you need a little more creaminess 🙂
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 -6


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, + more to taste when serving
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed (peeling is optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed until water runs clear ORmoong dal
  • 1 can coconut milk, full fat 13.5oz
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 14 oz
  • 1 1/4 cups water, use 1 1/2-2 cups if cooking stovetop. Start with less and add as necessary
  • fresh lime
  • fresh cilantro


Instant Pot (IP) Instructions

  • Turn the IP onto HIGH sauté, and melt the coconut oil.
  • Reduce to medium heat and sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger.
  • Once the onions are tender, add the spices––curry powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, Kashmiri chili, salt, and pepper. Stir to toast for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the sweet potato, red lentils, coconut milk, diced tomato, and water. Stir well.
  • Cancel the saute setting, and turn IP to pressure cook for 10 minutes.
  • Let it natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
  • Season to taste with more salt, and serve garnished with fresh lime and cilantro.

Stove-top Instructions

  • Follow the instructions above, but you'll want to bring the lentils to a simmer after adding them with the sweet potatoes and liquids. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Add more water to thin if necessary.
  • Serve garnished with lime and cilantro.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!



About Jenne

I’m a Georgia Peach living in Los Angeles (by way of NYC), with an insatiable love of sweet potatoes, travel, animals, and cooking. On Sweet Potato Soul you’ll discover hundreds of delicious and easy-to-make vegan recipes.

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  1. I absolutely love this dish! It was perfect as is. Initially, i was a little intimidated by this dish seeing as though I am new to vegan eating and every dish seems complicated. It was easy to make and is going into rotation at least twice maybe four times a month. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe.

  2. This recipe has become one of my very favourites. I usually have serving size containers in the freezer so that it is handy. I would give this recipe a rating of 5.

  3. I made this for dinner last night. It is a winner. My sweetie loved it. I had HM Indian tomato gravy in the freezer ( a Madhur Jaffrey recipe) so I used the TG instead of the canned tomatoes. Served with rice, samosa and raita.

  4. I’ve made this twice and it was absolutely delicious. Unlike most recipes elsewhere, the proportion of spices is perfect. Filling and my new go-to comfort recipe for winter. I made it to go over stir-fried cabbage instead of rice.

  5. after making it several times i can say;

    i love this recipe!

    it is:

    delicious and nutritious
    so easy to make
    freezer friendly
    perfect for a feeling cozy and warm on a cold and rainy night

    thank you for sharing.

  6. Delicious dish! Love that it’s vegan and it’s very flavorful! Wonderful over Basmati rice with some homemade naan!