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Sweet Potato, Lentil and Coconut Soup

Sweet Potato, Lentil and Coconut Soup

Submitted by Beth Rawlins, chef at Crocus Cafe.

This is a warming, spiced soup which uses ingredients that have a long shelf life - perfect for a lockdown!


5 medium sweet potatoes

2 cups of red lentils

1 tin coconut milk

1 onion 5cm chunk fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 small chilli (or 1 teaspoon chilli flakes)

1 tablespoon turmeric

2 teaspoons salt

A splash of vegetable oil for frying

A squeeze of lemon juice


  1. Heat a splash of vegetable oil (or a spoonful of coconut oil) in a large saucepan - everything goes into this pan so it needs to be big enough to hold 6 portions of soup.
  2. Chop the onion and add to the oil. Fry for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  3. As the onions are softening, chop the garlic cloves and the chilli. You don't need to chop too fine as the soup will be blended later.
  4. Peel and chop the ginger - I usually just cut the skin off the ginger root with a sharp knife.
  5. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic to the onions and fry for a further five minutes - you may need to reduce the heat to make sure the garlic doesn't burn.
  6. Peel and dice the sweet potato. The size of the chunks doesn't matter too much (as long as they're all roughly the same size) but the smaller you chop the sweet potato, the faster it will cook.
  7. Add your turmeric to the ingredients in the saucepan and fry for a minute - you might need to add a splash of water to stop it burning on the bottom.
  8. Add the sweet potato chunks and lentils to the pan, and cover with boiling water. As the ingredients cook the water will get absorbed - keep adding more water as this happens, but you want the consistency to stay fairly thick.
  9. Once the sweet potato is soft and the lentils are soupy, add the tin of coconut milk, salt and lemon juice.
  10. Stir and taste - add more salt, lemon juice or turmeric if necessary.
  11. Take the soup off the heat and blend it with a stick blender.
  12. Add a little more water if the soup is very thick. Done!

The soup doesn't have to be blended if you don't have a stick blender - just chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli as finely as you can, and keep the sweet potato chunks small.

Although it's great by itself, you could garnish the soup with some freshly ground black pepper, some toasted sunflower seeds, or a drizzle of chilli oil.

If 6 portions is too much, this soup is great the day after, and it freezes well too.

30-40 minutes, serves 6, vegan & gluten free

Crocus Cafe

Crocus Café (currently closed until the government allows cafes to reopen) Nottingham’s oldest community café. Crocus is a not for profit café which is why there food is so affordable. It is also vegetarian and vegan with a focus on being fair trade and locally sourced.

Crocus also hosts loads of great evenings including restaurant nights (and they now serve alcohol) and many more events besides. They offer suspended meals to those in need. Suspended Meals is a concept meaning a paying customer buys an extra coffee or meal for someone in need.

18 Lenton Blvd, Nottingham NG7 2ES email:

For Further info or to buy tickets for #danSOUP click here

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