Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes

Who’s ready to take it slow this weekend? Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and I are!

Easy, healthy Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and coconut milk. Creamy, delicious vegan recipe with the perfect amount of Indian spice!

Between you and me, I’ve been struggling to cook healthy meals the last few weeks. Since starting this blog and now working on my cookbook, lack of options in the fridge isn’t a position I find myself in often; if anything, we have the happy problem of too many leftovers (not saying we are always in the mood for them, but we do have them!).

The usual blog/book food surplus combined with the fact that our old house wasn’t located near any tempting delivery options meant that for me, cooking dinner from scratch was always the more enticing option than ordering in.

Fast forward to our new place in the city. It’s been chaotic trying to stay caught up with work and unpack, and we now live in the center of the most tempting array of ethnic food options. For our first two weeks at home, we ordered delivery more times than we did our entire four years in the suburbs combined.

Now, I have no problem with delivery every now and then, but I don’t love the way I’ve been feeling after ordering it so many nights in short succession. Our monthly food bill is not loving it either.

This weekend, I’m excited to do some real meal prep and put us in a good position for the week ahead. We’ve been ordering Indian and Thai food the most (LOVE), but this time instead of picking up my phone, I’m pulling out my crock pot.

Easy Red Lentil Curry made in the slow cooker! Loaded with sweet potato and delicious spices.

Healthy Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry—Better Than Delivery

Instead of pricey delivery, let’s both make this easy red lentil curry recipe! It was a regular on our dinner menu earlier this fall, and I’ve been craving its complex layers of spice, creamy texture, and the glowy feeling it leaves me with after I finish my plate.

If you are not ultra familiar with red lentils, then I am so pleased to introduce you to one of the least-expensive, best-tasting, and healthy foods on the planet.

If you are familiar with lentils, then you probably have this simple red lentil curry in your slow cooker already!

Simple Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potato is an easy, vegan meal.

Humble and mild, red lentils won’t win a beauty contest, nor do they taste like much on their own. Cooked and spiced properly, however, they are marvelous: creamy but not mushy, hearty and filling, and a canvas for any number of flavors.

Today’s Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry is Indian-meets-Thai. I used Thai red curry paste, which is widely available and sold in the international food or Asian food section of almost any grocery store, and garam masala, which is a blend of many spices and a staple in Indian cooking.

You can find garam masala in the spice section of many grocery stores or online here. Once you have a bottle, in addition to this Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry, you can use it to make my healthy Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala, Paneer Tikka Masala, and Instant Pot Butter Chicken too.

Spices like garam masala and the red curry paste are key allies to cooking that is a) healthy (spice = big taste without extra fat), b) easy (you can measure one spoonful of one spice blend, instead of 10 of individual spices), and c) DELISH.

The sweet potatoes and lentils calm the spices so they are warm and flavorful but not hot, making this red lentil curry recipe accessible to more sensitive palates.

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potato is an easy vegan dinner that's great for meal prep!

One of my favorite parts of Indian red lentil curry is how creamy it is. I love the way the sauce coats the rice and how rich it the texture makes even an ingredient as healthy as lentils taste.

In a restaurant, that creaminess often comes from cream (surprise!), but I’ve found that you can achieve a similar effect (and make the red lentil curry vegan) by using coconut milk. I used light coconut milk and the curry was plenty thick and satisfying for us, but if you wanted extra indulgence, you could use full fat instead.

For more ways to love lentils and treat yourself to a healthy delivery experience, don’t miss my Instant Pot Lentil Curry (a reader favorite!) and Instant Pot Lentil Soup. For extra veggies, this Slow Cooker Cauliflower Curry is tasty too.

Recommended Tools to Make Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes

  • Slow cooker: I like that this one switches to “keep warm” at the end of the cook time.
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Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 6 people
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
6 hrs
Total Time:
6 hrs 20 mins
Easy, healthy Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and coconut milk. Creamy, delicious vegan recipe with the perfect amount of Indian spice!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried red lentils
  • 6 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato — (about 3 medium)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small shallot — finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic — minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup canned light coconut milk

For serving:

  • Cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • Fresh cilantro — (highly encouraged)
  • Lemon or lime wedges — (optional but tasty)

Instructions

  1. Coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Rinse the lentils, then add them to the slow cooker. Add the sweet potato, vegetable broth, water, shallot, curry paste, garam masala, turmeric, sugar, ginger, salt, garlic, and tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 7 hours, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the coconut milk. If you’d like a thinner consistency, stir in additional broth or water.

  2. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve hot over prepared brown rice or quinoa. Garnish with lots of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Thai
Keyword: Red Lentil Curry, Slow Cooker Curry

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1.5cups) — Calories: 354, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Carbohydrates: 66g, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 17g, Protein: 17g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Easy, healthy Slow Cooker Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and coconut milk. Creamy, delicious vegan recipe with the perfect amount of Indian spice! #wellplated #lentilcurry #indian

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

17 comments

  1. how do you do this recipe without a slow cooker?

    • Hi Nancy, I haven’t tried it myself, but I think you could make it on the stovetop in a dutch oven or similar large pot. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  2. This curry looks way better than takeout! I’ve also been challenging myself lately to see if I can recreate my favorite takeout meals at home, it’s much more budget-friendly ;)

  3. I just want to bundle up in blankets and eat this cozy dinner!

  4. This looks amazing! Do you think it is possible to make if you don’t have a slow cooker?

    • Hi Sigrid, yes, I think you could make it on the stovetop in a dutch oven or similar large pot. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  5. Erin, I just discovered your blog because I just got an Instant Pot and started Googling. I have tried a couple of your baked goods so far and they are wonderful! As someone who loves to cook and eat but who is perpetually altering “regular” recipes to reduce saturated fat and simple sugars, it’s terrific to find your blog and all of the ideas for healthy food. (Not to mention that I very much agree with your take on what constitutes healthy eating.)

    • I’m so happy to have you here! Thank you so much for the kind words about my blog, and I hope you find many more new favorites!

  6. Do you think one can cook this using regular potatoes, instead of sweet potatoes?

    • Hi Stephanie, I haven’t tried it myself, but that should work. If you do decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  7. Made this yesterday on the stove top as opposed to a slow cooker. It took a while for the lentils to soften, I think because cooking them in such a liquid that has sugar, salt, among others makes it go slower. It needed about 50 minutes at a light simmer. However, it tasted great for dinner, and even better reheated for lunch today! The amount of effort relative to the results is outstanding.

    I think next time I might presoak the lentils a bit.

    Thanks a lot!

  8. Do you have suggestions on how you could modify this recipe with an instant pot?

    • Hi Madeleine, I haven’t made this in the Instant Pot myself, but similar recipes online seemed to call for cooking it for 12 minutes on manual/high pressure. If you’re interested in a lentil curry that I can 100% vouch for, check out this one!

  9. I am a vegetarian, so thank you for writing this recipe for all Vegetarians.

    I am a big fan of your recipes!

    Tried your other recipes today and this one seems awesome as well!

  10. Made this with the only change being almond milk instead of coconut milk – it was really tasty and I’m happy I have lots of leftovers!

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