Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard


June 24, 2011 by Sara Kreidler

I know I say this all the time (because, frankly, my pictures are terrible), but these pictures do not do the food justice.  This recipe is fantastic.  The combination of sweet potatoes, bitter chard, spicy curry and nutty lentils is just perfect.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, where you can find much prettier pictures of this lovely dish.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves ripped into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions


  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium flame. Add onion and cook until soft.  Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeño and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add 4 cups broth (reserve remaining cup of stock), sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high flame.  Partially cover pot (keep the lid cocked to let the steam come out) and reduce flame to medium.  Simmer for 20 minutes, making sure to keep an eye on the lentils — if it looks like things are getting too dry, add some of the reserved stock.
  3. Add chard, salt and pepper and cook for 15 more minutes.
  4. Remove pot from heat, add scallions and lime juice and serve.


  • The original recipe called for 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro and the zest of 1 lime to be added at step 4, but we didn’t have any cilantro on hand and forgot to zest the lime, so we skipped that part.  The dish was great without cilantro and lime zest, but there’s no reason not to add either ingredient.
  • Smitten Kitchen used brown lentils for this recipe, but we were short on brown lentils and had lots of red lentils, so we used red lentils with great results.  Brown lentils will hold their shape better during cooking whereas red lentils are more delicate and will break apart, but I do not think that using red lentils instead of brown compromised the flavor of the dish at all.  If you use brown lentils, you will need to cook them for about 25 minutes in step 2 and 15-20 minutes in step 3.
  • I’ve tagged this as a vegetarian dish, but we used homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, thereby making it NOT vegetarian.  But if you simply swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth, you will be all set to invite Ingrid Newkirk over for dinner.

One thought on “Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard

  1. Fritz Warmack says:

    Vegetarian dishes are tasty and of course very nutritious. ..

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