Lentils with mushrooms, kale, sweet potato, and coconut curry sauce served over a bed of jasmine rice.
This is my go-to detox meal when I’ve eaten one too many fried meals in a row and need to get a kick of vegetables and greens. Since it has so many different components it’s a great one to meal prep and prepare ahead of time, dividing among containers and adding avocado and peanuts just before serving for a quick lunch of dinner.
I’m on a big lentil kick right now. There are just so many varieties and ways to serve them! This vegetarian (and vegan) recipe uses beluga lentils, little black legumes that get their name for their resemblance to caviar. I combine the lentils with mushrooms, kale, sweet potato, and coconut curry sauce and serve them over a bed of jasmine rice. The lentils take the place of another protein such as chicken, creating a western spin on this curry dish that is full of flavor and just the right mix of sweet and spice.
The Indian madras curry powder adds that spice so if you want a sweeter dish you can omit it. If you aren’t a fan of spice omit garnishing the dish with the Fresno chilies. I serve any dish like this with a side of pita bread to soak up and excess sauce left in the bowl.
Key Ingredients in This Recipe
Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are a nutritious root vegetable with bright orangey flesh. Sweet potatoes have a naturally sweet flavor, especially when roasted. As they are roast the sugars slightly caramelize for a delicious element in this dish.
Lentils – I use beluga lentils in this recipe. The little black legumes get their name for their resemblance to caviar. They have a more firm texture than other types of lentils and are much smaller in size. I also like the earthy flavor they add to this recipe.
Kale – Removing the tough stems from the kale before chopping it makes kale much more enjoyable to eat. I simply sauté the kale in olive oil until it’s tender and reduces in size.
Mushrooms – I typically use crimini also known as baby Bella mushrooms when I cook. They have a meatier, earthier mushroom flavor compared to white mushrooms. I recommend buying whole mushrooms and slicing them yourself so they are more evenly cut than pre-cut mushrooms. In this recipe they are quartered to take advantage of their meaty texture. Use a damp paper towel to wipe away dirt before slicing the mushrooms.
Madras curry powder – This versatile earthy spice blend is made from coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cassia, peppercorns, curry leaves and turmeric. Not all curry powder is created the same since they often have regional variations. This can be omitted if needed – it’s used to enhance the flavors of the yellow curry paste.
Yellow curry paste – In this recipe I use yellow curry paste rather than making my own. Yellow curry is typically made from cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, mace and cinnamon. It is typically less spicy than other curries though I add madras curry powder to enhance the flavor.
Coconut milk – Coconut comes from the creamy liquid inside mature coconuts. While frequently used in place of dairy, it adds a subtle coconut flavor to this vegetarian (and vegan) curry sauce.
How to Make This Coconut Curry Roasted Sweet Potato Lentil Bowl
Sauté onion. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and opaque, about 6 minutes.
Make the curry sauce. Add the curry powder and curry paste and stir until the curry is fragrant. Add the coconut milk and whisk to combine. Simmer the sauce until thickened.
Roast the sweet potatoes. Heat oven to 400ºF. Toss the sweet potatoes in olive oil and arrange in an even single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender and golden brown.
Simmer the lentils. Rinse the lentils then in a medium saucepan combine the lentils and 1½ cups of water and bring to a simmer until tender. Drain the lentils and set aside.
Cook the mushrooms. Heat a large flat-sided sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt, then add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Cook the kale. Season with salt, then add the kale and continue to sauté until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the roasted sweet potato, the lentils and the coconut curry sauce and stir to combine.
Serve. Divide the rice among 4 bowls then ladle the coconut curry lentil mixture over the top. Top with avocado, cilantro, peanuts and chilies and serve immediately.