Nothing tastier than a hearty meal of soup in the winter. With or without a piece of baguette. This green lentil soup with sweet potatoes is typical of Morocco. This North African country is not only known for the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea. But also for the Atlas Mountains, where the weather can be a lot colder and rougher. And in such conditions a heart-warming soup tastes twice as good!
How to make green lentil soup with sweet potatoes
As usual with a hearty soup, you have a lot of freedom with the ingredients. Such a soup is also ideal for using leftovers. But of course the real stars of the soup are the green lentils and the sweet potatoes.
Some preparations to start with
And as always, we start by cutting all our vegetables. Then everything is ready to make the soup and we avoid stress and surprises.
So we start with the sweet potato. Or -potatoes, depending on their size and the amount of soup you want to make. We peel them and then cut them into ready-to-eat cubes of approximately 2cm.
To stay in the same color, we also add two medium-sized carrots. We also peel them and then halve them lengthwise before cutting them into pieces of about 2 cm.
A red bell pepper should not be missing in this soup. We classically cut off the top and the bottom. And remove the inner core with the seeds. We don't need the stem either. We cut the rest into pieces of about one to two centimeters,
An apple gives a fresh and fruity touch to this recipe. We peel the apple and then cut it into four quarters. Then remove the core from each quarter. We then cut the flesh into similar cubes as the other ingredients.
We chop the fresh cilantro and put it aside. It is the last thing we will add to the soup before serving.
And finally we have the garlic, the red onion and the chili pepper. We also remove the skin and seeds and then cut them into small pieces.
Preparing the spices
If you have a mortar you can use it now. Place all the spices in the mortar with the coriander seeds. Now crush them and mix everything together well. If you don't have a mortar, you can crush the coriander seeds with the blade of a large kitchen knife. Or use coriander powder.
Cooking the green lentil soup with sweet potatoes
Now that we have finished the preparations, we can start cooking. We heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup kettle.
Once it is hot, add the onion, garlic and chili pepper. Let everything simmer for a minute until the flavors spread and the onion becomes translucent.
Then you can add the carrots, sweet potato and red bell pepper. Let it simmer for a few minutes with the lid on. Stir everything regularly.
Now we are going to add the liquids to the stew. These are the coconut milk and the vegetable stock. The heat can still remain high, as everything must now come to a boil.
In the meantime, transfer the green lentils and spices into the soup. Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmering level. The soup can now simmer gently for 45 minutes. That is the time the green lentils will need to be done.
Shortly before the end, taste whether the seasoning is correct and the green lentils are done. Finally, you can also add the finely chopped cilantro and lemon juice.
Let the piping hot soup cool for a while and then spoon it into deep plates. Then enjoy it with a piece of bread or baguette.
About green lentils
Lentils are legumes that are widely used in North African and Indian cuisine. So certainly also in Morocco. Like many other legumes, they are a very good meat substitute. And I'm kicking an open door when I say they are healthy.
Just like potatoes, you cannot eat lentils raw because they contain toxins. That is the reason why you can only buy them dried or cooked. There are different types of lentil plants. And the seeds have different colors. And the different types of lentils also have different cooking times.
- Red, yellow and orange lentils cook relatively quickly. Their cooking time is 15-20 minutes. They are often used in curries and soups.
- Brown lentils have a mild taste and are often used in stews. Their cooking time is 20 to 30 minutes.
- Green lentils are larger and have a firmer structure. Their taste is more nutty. They also have the longest cooking time, about three-quarters of an hour. Which reflects the cooking time of our green lentil soup with sweet potatoes.
Read more about lentils in the following articles:
- Everything you need to know about lentils (FAO.org).
- Different kinds of lentils and what to use them for (Finedining lovers).
- A complete guide to lentils (plantbased on a budget).
- 7 different types of lentils with images (asian-recipe.com).
- The dal glossary: 8 types of lentils and their benefits (NDTV Food).
And what are sweet potatoes?
Surprisingly enough, sweet potatoes are not at all related to our classic potatoes. Potatoes belong to the nightshade family. Sweet potatoes belong to the bindweed, or morning glory family.
The Incas cultivated sweet potatoes in South America long before Columbus visited the continent. The Spanish colonists probably brought them to Europe.
Sweet potatoes are usually elongated tubers, and their color ranges from light yellow to purple-red. They taste both sweet and spicy. That is why the sweet potato is also perfect for spicy dishes. Or for savory sweet potato muffins, for example.
In America, sweet potatoes are often confused with yams. But they are not related. What they have in common is that they grow underground and have yellowish-orange flesh. Originally sweet potatoes were mostly white or yellow. But in the 1930s also orange sweet potatoes were introduced. To differentiate them from the white and yellow sweet potatoes they were called yam, after the African vegetable. But unless you go to a specialty store, you will most probably be buying a sweet potato, although it is called yam.
Learn more about sweet potatoes in the following articles:
- Sweet potato- Wikipedia.
- Top 5 health benefits of sweet potato (BBC good food)
- The sweet history of sweet potatoes (Candy potato).
- How are yams and sweet potatoes different (Almanac).
In autumn and winter, hearty soups taste delicious. And they are ideal for processing leftovers. You will find more surprising soups in the following articles:
- Red lentil soup with chorizo.
- Cuban green plantain soup.
- Vegetarian Orzo soup.
- Minestrone meal soup.
- Spicy pumpkin soup with wild rice.
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.