Lunch - Recipes

How to Make a Cozy Sweet Potato Carrot Lentil Soup

Cutting board with diced sweet potatoes and 2 bags of lentils
How to Make Sweet Potato Carrot Lentil Soup

On cold fall and winter days, there’s nothing like a warm sweet potato, carrot, and lentil soup. Learn how to make this delicious soup packed with yummy seasonings. This recipe is simple to make into a lentil stew by decreasing the amount of broth used.

Making our fall/winter sweet potato, carrot, lentil soup

We’ve really been making the coziest recipes lately. We’re slowly acclimating to the colder temps here in New Jersey. Snow is already in the forecast tomorrow (November 28).

Lentils are legumes, or seeds that come from a plant family known as fabaceae, which include chickpeas and peanuts. The first evidence of lentils dates back to about 13,000 years ago in Ancient Greece and Syria. Lentils are a sign of prosperity in many cultures. In Italy for example it is good luck if you eat lentils on New Years. The tradition dates back to Ancient Roman times! Check out this article by ‘The Spruce Eats’ that discusses Italian New Years food traditions.

Diced onions and carrots in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon
Minced onions, carrots, and celery

Soup FAQ

Is this soup healthy for you?

The bulk of the soup is made from sweet potatoes, carrots, and lentils. These three vegetables provide a wide variety of nutrition. Dried herbs, onions, celery, vegetable broth, plant-based milk, and garlic are also ingredients for this soup.

Lentils are from the legume family. They’re a great source of protein and made up of 25% protein, have B vitamins (B1, B6, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid) magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, and manganese. They are also high in fiber which aids in healthy digestion and phytochemicals known as polyphenols. Polyphenols are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They’re loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, Pantothenic acid, copper, and niacin. Sweet potatoes also are a great food source for gut health because they have soluble and insoluble fiber. They have even been shown to help with gut bacteria in different health studies.

Carrots are a great source of beta carotene (converted into vitamin A), fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They are mostly comprised of water (86%-95%) and about 10% carbs. Carrots rank low on the glycemic index, which measures how quickly a certain food raises blood sugar after a meal.

This soup is really jam packed with a lot of flavor and good for you!

Dutch oven on a stove
Dutch oven on stove

What different types of seasoning can you use?

The seasonings I used for this dish are dried thyme, dried basil, bay leaves, cumin, coriander and paprika. This soup can be seasoned in many ways, depending on your preferences are.

African: For an African influence, try a berbere spice blend. Berbere means ‘hot’ in Amharic and a blend of ​​cardamom, fenugreek, cumin, ginger, chills, and paprika.

Curry/Indian: Lentil soup seasoned with a good curry powder is absolutely delicious. You can season it with cumin, red chili powder, coriander, curry leaves, bay leaves, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, mustard leaves, ginger, fenugreek, and more.

Middle Eastern: try a combination of dried mint, cumin, paprika, turmeric, saffron,and cayenne pepper.

Central/South American: A blend of cumin, coriander, chili powder, smoked paprika, achiote powder, sazón, adobo, oregano, and lime.

To soak lentils or not to soak?

It is not required to soak lentils, but it will reduce cooking time. Soaking helps reduce gas-producing compounds and therefore aids in reducing bloating and flatulence.

Should I use dry or canned lentils, and is there a difference?

There is no difference as to whether you use dry or canned lentils, except the amount of cooking time. Canned lentils are pre-cooked and will cook faster.

What type of lentil should I use?

For this dish, I used red and green lentils. If you’d like to learn the differences of each type of lentil, check out this article by Thekitchn.

Diced sweet potatoes on a cutting board
Chopped sweet potatoes

What can I eat with this soup?

We ate this soup with sourdough bread. I love to dip my bread in the soup!

What other vegetables can I add to lentil soup?

Different vegetables can be added to this soup like kale or spinach. Some like to add potatoes into their lentil soup.

Leftovers and Freezing

Leftovers will keep well up to 5 days after making if kept in a sealed container in the fridge. 

If you would like to freeze the soup, place it in a glass container or freezer bag. The soup will keep up to 3-6 months. To reheat the lentil soup, take the container or bag out of the freezer. Allow the soup to thaw. Once thawed, transfer to a pot and heat up on low heat.

Is the lentil soup vegetarian/vegan?

Yes, this soup is vegetarian/vegan if you use a plant-based milk and use a vegetable broth.

Do I need to rinse my lentils?

Canned lentils do not require rinsing. If you are using dried lentils, you should rinse this. Rinsing dried lentils is important as it will help to remove any small stones or debris.

A bag of organic red lentils and a bag of organic green lentils on a kitchen counter
Organic Red and Green Lentils

Preparing the Lentils

I do not soak lentils before cooking. If you soak the lentils, soak at least two hours prior to cooking.

Where Can I Buy Lentils?

You can buy lentils at any supermarket. I use mostly organic goods and purchase mine from Thrive Market. It makes it easy to have things shipped right to my door. Each months I can alter my shipment based on what we need. Plus they have hard to find items, like coconut aminos, which aren’t always available at the store near us.

If you’d like to try it out, click here for 30% off of your first order!

A container of dried basil and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil on a kitchen counter
Trader Joe’s Olive Oil and Homegrown Dried Basil

Let’s Get Cooking!

Tools you’ll need

  • Dutch Oven
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Sharp knife
  • cutting board

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped sweet potato
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2-3 cups spinach (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Parmiggiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (for topping)
  • Fresh parsley

How to Make Sweet Potato, Carrot, Lentil Soup

  1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until fragrant for about 2-3 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, and sweet potato. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes until everything softens slightly. Season with salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Cook all together for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes and then add the broth and water. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour or until carrots, potatoes, and lentils are soft. Stir occasionally. Add more liquid to the pot depending how thick you’d like to soup to be.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in almond milk, lemon juice, and spinach, and stir until the spinach has wilted. Serve immediately and top with your desired toppings.
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley and cheese.
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