Vegan Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup
Post originally written in January 2014, refreshed and updated November 2021.
When I did a demo a while ago, I did a soup that we have often. The original recipe came from Feasts From The Place Below, Amazon currently (November 2021) selling 2nd hand copies for £2.60, including postage!
It is a vegetarian cookbook (which Amazon tells me I bought in 2001!) and is set out in seasons. Each season has several unusual and delicious recipes, their Valentines menu suggestions include Chicory & Butternut Squash Pancakes with a Gruyere and White Wine Sauce. I have done those, and they are as delicious as they sound.
How Do I Make Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Soup
Chop a couple of onions and a garlic clove, and add a chopped chilli if you like things spicy. Saute in oil and a teaspoon of salt until transparent. This step is worth doing as it brings out the flavour of the onions. If you don’t want to, it’s not going too make enough difference to worry about.
Add peeled and chopped sweet potato, the hot kind of paprika, some red lentils and water. Simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils are dissolving.
Add a tablespoon of vinegar, any cheap one will do and whizz until smooth.
I haven’t tried it, but you could probably use malt vinegar here, just try a tiny bit at first, a tsp, don’t want to ruin the soup. The soup is fine without the vinegar, but it does definitely bring another layer of flavour.
What is Sweet Potato Soup Like?
The soup pre-vinegar is a perfectly nice soup. Adding the vinegar brightens it and adds a deeper flavour note. If you haven’t any vinegar, the soup is very nice without it.
There is a lovely smoky hum from the paprika and a gorgeous texture from the lentils and vegetables.
It has a huge hit of protein, so will keep you going for hours.
I have priced the lentils at the 500g bag level, if you can afford to get bigger bags from Indian suppliers, or some supermarkets (Morrisons seems to have them) they are half the price
What Changes Can I Make To Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup
If you don’t have any paprika, don’t worry, you won’t notice it that much.
I have said to use hot water in the recipe. This is not because it makes any difference to the recipe, it doesn’t, it is just because it is cheaper to boil the water in the kettle than on the stove top.
You can of course make this in a slow cooker, although sauteing onions until at least transparent, if not longer, brings out their sweetness and flavour.
The vinegar can be anything acidic, so could be lemon juice from a bottle if that is what you have. I like rollmop herrings and have found that the liquor that they come in is great for salad dressings and using in things like this. Strangely, it doesn’t taste of fish!
I wouldn’t worry about quantities too much. A couple of medium sized onions and a reasonably sized sweet potato will work just fine. You need to measure the red lentils and water though or the the soup may be sliceable, or too watery.
Swap out 400ml of water for a tin of coconut milk to add that lovely coconut flavour – you may need to adjust the seasonings.
The original recipe uses a massive 100ml of olive oil to get a velvety richness, but I use less than that.
The original also makes a HUGE bucket of soup, so I have adjusted the quantities to 4 servings.
Want More Soup Ideas?
- 30 ml oil Asda £1.50/1 litre, 5p
- 250 g onions chopped, Asda SP 98p/2kg, 12p
- 360 g sweet potatoes peeled and chopped, Asda £1.31/kg, 47p
- 2 cloves garlic or equivalent 5p
- 1 tsp paprika 1p
- 1½ tsp salt
- 170 g red lentils 20p/100g, 34p
- a little chilli optional
- 1200 ml hot water
- 1 tblsp vinegar 5p
- Put the chopped onions in a saucepan with the oil, salt, garlic and chilli if using.
- Saute until the onion is transparent. This brings out the flavour of the onion
- Add the paprika, red lentils and water.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are dissolving. Add the vinegar, any cheap one will do, and whizz until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper
- Add the vinegar, any cheap one will do, and whizz until smooth.