Serve this vegan, plant-based curry over cauliflower rice for a deliciously filling meal.
It’s hard to come up with easy, healthy weeknight dinners. When you make the same meals over and over again, they start to get boring. That kind of rut can be enough to cause anyone to break their diet plan, ordering take-out instead of making a nutritious, home-cooked meal. Instead, change up your weeknight routine with the incredible flavors in this Protein-Packed Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry. It’s made with all vegan-friendly, plant-based ingredients, but it’s filling enough to satisfy the meat-eaters in the family.
Curry Powder vs. Curry Paste
We use curry powder in this Protein-Packed Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry recipe for a few reasons. For starters, it’s shelf-stable. Many curry pastes need to be refrigerated after they’re opened, and they don’t last forever. Curry powder, on the other hand, is good on the spice rack for at least a year. Many store-bought curry pastes also contain shellfish. They may use fish sauce or shrimp paste to deepen the curry’s flavor. That’s not a problem if you’re on a pescetarian diet, but it’s a no-go if you’re on a vegan or plant-based diet.
Store-bought curry powders can vary in flavor. Some are spicier than others, so you may prefer to make your own at home. The following ingredients come together to create a salt-free spice that contains just over three tablespoons of curry spice (a little more than you’ll need for this recipe). It’s not very spicy, which we love, but you can always amp-up the cayenne pepper content to give it an extra kick. Feel free to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe and keep it around for your favorite curry recipes.
Homemade Curry Powder Spice
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Customize This Protein-Packed Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry
The base of the curry is made from red lentils, curry powder, vegetable broth, and coconut milk. Add in flavorful aromatics like ginger, garlic, and green onion, and it creates an unforgettable flavor. From there, we add sweet potato, carrots, and onions, but the vegetables can be varied depending on your taste buds and what’s in season.
Try adding tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini to the mix in the summertime, or add broccoli and cauliflower in the wintertime. You can either swap them in for the sweet potato and carrots or add them as extra veggies. Winter squash like pumpkin, acorn squash, or butternut squash make great additions when you’re looking to make the Protein-Packed Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry a little bit heartier.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Almost any vegetable will taste great in this curry! You can even add raw vegetables to the bowls before you serve the dish, like sliced radishes or crisp sugar-snap peas. Just keep in mind that the vegetables will get nice and soft as they cook in the slow cooker. It’s best to only use vegetables that you enjoy well-cooked and softened. You can also add tender vegetables during the last hour of cook time to keep them from getting too mushy.
Protein-Packed Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry
- 1 yellow onion small, diced
- 2 carrots medium, peeled and diced
- 1 pound sweet potato diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon ginger minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 green onion minced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils
- 14 ounces coconut milk canned
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- Place the onion, carrots, sweet potato, ginger, garlic, green onion, curry powder, and vegetable broth into a large slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours (or 4 to 5 hours on high), until the sweet potatoes are soft. Add the lentils during the last hour of cooking time
- Add the coconut milk and cook until the soup is warmed through. Add additional water or vegetable broth during this step if the mixture is too thick for your liking.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over brown rice or riced cauliflower, if desired.
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