This sweet potato lentil curry recipe is incredibly easy to make using a slow cooker. Just dump and go, set it and forget it; the only steps are to chop vegetables and add ingredients to a crock pot. This recipe is packed with delicious curry flavors in a rich and creamy sauce.
It’s a very saucy curry that can be served as-is (more like a soup) or alongside a cooked grain like rice or quinoa. It’s vegan, gluten free and loaded with nutritious ingredients!
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Is Sweet Potato Lentil Curry Vegan?
Sweet potato lentil curry recipes may or may not be vegan. Ghee and dairy milk or cream are common non-vegan curry ingredients. Luckily, canned coconut milk is a great way to create a rich, creamy and satisfying curry that’s dairy free!
I love the combo of sweet potato and lentils since it’s packed with nutrition; you’ll get plenty of fiber and complex carbohydrates from both. The lentils provide plant-based protein and minerals like iron and zinc while sweet potato offers plenty of beta carotene, potassium and magnesium!
Ingredients to Make Slow Cooker Curry
This recipe contains plenty of delicious ingredients that cook together into a beautifully flavorful vegan curry.
- Sweet potato: Providing the bulk of this recipe’s volume, sweet potato cooks up beautifully in the slow cooker. With a soft texture and mild flavor, it really takes on all the flavors of this curry.
- Green lentils: Dry green lentils are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up this recipe with some plant-based protein! Lentils are small enough to cook from dry in the lower heat of a slow cooker.
- Onion, garlic and ginger: The curry flavor is enhanced with the addition of aromatic ingredients like onion, ginger and garlic! The amount of garlic is completely up to you, so use as much as you feel like at the time.
- Bell pepper: Extra vegetables are always welcome in my curry recipes, and bell pepper is one I regularly keep on hand. Almost any other vegetable would work in place of bell pepper so use whatever you have around (I’ve used carrot and cauliflower in the past; both were delicious).
- Tomato: A can of tomato provides nice acidity plus some of the liquid needed to cook the lentils. Diced or crushed tomatoes are fine to use and offer the same flavor but different texture. Crushed tomatoes offer more liquid and create a soup-like curry while diced tomatoes offer a chunkier texture.
- Vegetable broth: This is the main liquid used to cook your lentils! I use no salt added vegetable broth then add salt in at the end, to taste. If your vegetable broth contains salt then you may not need any extra. Just take a bite once the curry is cooked and adjust salt from there.
- Curry powder: As the main flavor, you’ll use quite a bit of curry powder. You can use any brand you enjoy. Curry powder is a lovely and convenient blend of spices and each brand uses different mixtures (resulting in unique flavor profiles).
- Sugar: Sweetness helps balance acidity from the tomatoes and possible astringent flavor that may be present in your curry powder. Read the ingredients to see if your curry powder already contains sugar, if so, you likely don’t need more!
- Coconut milk: A can of coconut milk adds delicious creaminess to the curry sauce. I add it at the end to keep the full flavor from the coconut as I enjoy that!
- Cilantro: This is optional, but if you like cilantro and have it on hand, it’s a delicious addition to curry. You can stir some chopped cilantro directly into the curry or sprinkle it on each bowl when serving.
- Lime juice: I love a spritz of citrus since it really enhances other flavors. Some lime brightens the heavier flavor in this rich and creamy curry!
How to Make Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry
This recipe is incredibly easy to make and only requires two simple steps. Slow cooker recipes should offer “dump and go” convenience without extra work of precooking the ingredients!
This doesn’t require extra dishes, just the slow cooker, making it a one-pot meal!
Step 1: Add Ingredients to Slow Cooker
Prepare the vegetables and add into the slow cooker: peel and cube sweet potato, mince ginger and garlic, chop bell pepper and onion.
Along with the vegetables, add the remining ingredients except for the coconut milk: canned tomato, lentils, curry powder, vegetable broth, sugar.
Stir the ingredients together then turn on the crock pot to high heat for 4 hours. If possible, stir once or twice while the curry cooks, but this isn’t needed.
Step 2: Stir in Coconut Milk and Serve
The lentils will be soft and will have soaked up much of the liquid once the curry is cooked! Lentils cook well in a slow cooker since they’re a small legume. Other larger legumes typically need higher heat to cook, but lentils work great in a crock pot!
All you need to do now is stir in the can of coconut milk! This creates a beautifully creamy and saucy curry.
If you used no salt vegetable broth, give the curry a taste and add salt if/ as needed.
If using, serve topped with cilantro. You can serve as-is or alongside a cooked grain like rice or quinoa!
Crock Pot Curry Tips and Substitutions
This is truly an easy recipe! The main question I’m asked is, "what will happen if I add coconut milk at the beginning?"
This should work fine; but adding coconut milk at the end enhances flavor better. If you’d rather toss it in at the beginning it should work out but may have less coconut flavor.
Also, for unique freshness and to cut through the thicker creamy sauce, a spritz of lime juice is delicious to top the curry with!
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Leftovers
Refrigerate leftover curry in an airtight container for up to a week. Reheat either in a small pot on the stove until warmed through or in the microwave.
This recipe creates a large amount of curry that you can freeze for up to 4 months. I love to use this recipe to meal prep specifically for the freezer. It’s great to have a hearty and nutritious meal ready to heat whenever I need a quick dinner.
It’s best to remove from the freezer to thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat stove-top (in a pot) or in the microwave. If you don’t have time to thaw in the fridge, you can warm the frozen curry in a pot over medium heat until ready to serve.
I’ve made this curry recipe countless times and keep coming back for its simplicity and deliciousness! I hope you enjoy as much as my family and I do.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Lentil Curry
- 3 cups sweet potato , peeled and cubed (450 grams, about 2 medium)
- 1 cup dry green lentils (220 grams)
- 1 cup bell pepper , any color (120 grams, about 1 large)
- 1 cup onion , chopped (150 grams, about 1 medium)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger , minced
- 3-5 cloves garlic , minced
- 3 cups canned tomatoes , diced or crushed (28 oz / 800 mL can)
- 3 cups vegetable broth (no salt added/ low sodium)
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ cups canned coconut milk (14 oz / 400 mL can)
- salt (to taste; if needed)
- cilantro to serve , chopped (optional)
- lime juice , fresh (optional)
- Prepare all the vegetables by peeling and cubing sweet potatoes, chopping onion and bell pepper, mincing ginger and garlic. Add all these vegetables to a slow cooker.3 cups sweet potato, 1 cup bell pepper, 1 cup onion, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, 3-5 cloves garlic
- Add the remaining ingredients, except for coconut milk, to the slow cooker.3 cups canned tomatoes, 3 cups vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons curry powder, ½ tablespoon sugar, 1 cup dry green lentils
- Stir the ingredients together.
- Set the slow cooker to high heat for 4 hours. Stir occasionally if possible (not necessary).
- Once the curry is cooked (and lentils are soft through to the center), stir in a can of coconut milk.1 ½ cups canned coconut milk
- Taste your curry and add salt (if needed) to get the right flavor.salt
- Serve as-is or alongside a cooked grain (rice, quinoa, etc.).
- Optional to top with chopped cilantro and/ or fresh lime juice.cilantro to serve, lime juice
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.