I love this soup for any easy weeknight meal. Start the slow-cooker in the morning and come home to this comforting Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup.
It occurred to me as I was putting this post together that despite my ineptness at planning ahead I put a significant amount of effort towards it.
As an example, I am actually writing this post before I want to post it. This rarely happens. And if I play all my cards right before the weekend when we climb into the minivan for that trek to the "big city," I may actually get two posts written. This would be unheard of (update - And likely remains unheard of as it did not happen).
I plan with great intentions but very poor execution. I will have a vast list of things I could "do right now" - things I could do before I go to bed, things I could do early in the morning, blah, blah, blah. I'm also very good at making suggestions to others about things that can be done ahead of time, and I know for a fact my husband loves me for this.
On good days I record that list only to put it aside never to think of again. On the not so good days, I tuck those ambitious ideas into a remote section of my brain that is perfect for long-term storage, although not so good recall.
Planning for this trip, the plan was to leave early in the morning so that we would have time to "do all things" when we arrived. However, since it is now the night before we are leaving, and I have not yet packed or organized my things, the kids things, the dogs things, come to think of it, the cat will need some things which will require running to the store in the morning... we will not be leaving early.
I'm rambling tonight. So this post is not going to get finished in one go. So much for my intentions.
Easy make-ahead steps for an easy weeknight meal
This sweet potato and lentil soup is one of those that works well if you plan ahead. But can save dinner even if you don't. I woke up on Sunday morning thinking I would make soup for dinner. I had been thinking about it on Saturday if we really wanted to be accurate about it. I knew we had a busy day of hockey and other things that occupy weekends. But instead of putting any action behind the thought of soup, I sat with my morning coffee and read Facebook for a while. So at the very last-minute, as I'm running out the door before the slue of games scheduled for the day, I threw this soup in the slow cooker. I call this a "what do I have on hand?" soup. Sometimes those are the best.
The onions need a few minutes in the saute pan to soften. And it is helpful if the spices and garlic are added and sautéed for just a minute or two. Once that is done you can throw everything in the slow cooker (except the fresh cilantro - save that for the end, if you have it. If you don't just leave it out). Cook the whole lot on high for 3-4 hours, if you are like me and leave this for the last-minute. Or if you are far better at planning ahead, cook on low 6-8 hours. The only objective of the cooking time it to soften the lentils and the sweet potatoes.
A few notes:
- This recipe calls for chili salt, my favourite condiment. And I make my own, you can find my recipe here. Or you can buy it here online. If you don't have it, regular sea salt will do along with a pinch or two of chili flakes.
- To really get a head start on dinner, saute the onions, garlic and spices the night before. Transfer everything to the insert of your crockpot, add all the remaining ingredients including lentils and liquid and store (with the lid on) in the refrigerator until morning. In the morning, just before you leave for work, pop it into the base of the slowcooker and set for 8 hours,
- Leftovers freeze well.
Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup for the Crockpot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing (or water for a fat free version)
- 1 onion diced
- 1-½ tablespoons curry powder
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- ¼ teaspoon of chili salt a ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt and a pinch of cayenne
- 3 small sweet potatoes - about 3 cups chopped
- 1-½ cups red lentils
- 1 inch of ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups veg stock
- 4 cups of water
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- In a saute pan, over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions and saute 5 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle in chili salt (or sea salt), curry powder and garlic. Saute for a few more minutes. Add mixture to the ceramic liner of your crock pot.
- Add remaining ingredients (except fresh cilantro)
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.
- Stir in fresh cilantro just before serving.
In the morning add liquids and turn crock on low for 8 hours. Program to keep warm until serving.