Savory Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

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I know it's summer and that's not exactly soup season, but this soup is totally worth making any time of year and besides, I was tired of heating up little bits of leftovers for Gv to eat for lunch all week, so I just gave her some cold for a snack yesterday and she slurped it all down lickety-split, which made me try it cold myself and gosh, it was still totally delicious that way.

So in my book, if you can eat a soup cold, it qualifies as summer food!

The way this soup came about was really pretty funny.  Well, funny if you were a fly on my wall, hearing my conversation to Gv as I went about creating it.  It went something like this:

"Hmmm, Gv, what shall we have for dinner tonight?  I'm all out of ideas and the cupboards are looking pretty bare...what in the world can I scrape together?"

Then I noticed the partially-full bag of tortilla chips from our recent party that were perched up on top of the refrigerator.

"Oooh, we have chips, and I've been craving beans for a few days, so maybe we'll whip up some chili, because chili goes great with chips!"

Of course, when I went to grab the boxes of beans from the pantry, I remembered that we're currently out of kidney beans, and while I do enjoy mixing black beans into my chili, it's just not the same without some kidneys thrown in.

That's when I spied the box of lentils, so chock-full that the lid was barely containing all the tiny pellets.

"Lentils!  I'll just make chili with lentils.  That'll be different, right?"

As I was closing the pantry door, Gv grabbed a bag of sweet potatoes.  I started to tell her to put them back, but then I got to thinking that I could up the nutritional value by sticking a couple in the pot, so I let her bring them to the counter.

"Okay, we'll have chili with lentils and sweet potatoes...and I guess just one onion, because that's all that we have left..."

Off I went to the garage freezer, to retrieve the two jars of homemade chicken stock that I'd made last week...

But when I opened the door, I discovered some chunks of glass sitting on the shelf.  Yes, I used glass jars and yes I know that if you freeze liquid in glass jars, the jars can break when the liquid expands, but I also know that as long as I leave plenty of room at the top for expansion, the jars work just fine and the ones we have a surplus of just happen to stack so nicely in the freezer, which is great because freezers never seem to have as much space in them as you need.

I removed the two cracked jars, remembering that I'd been in a rush the day I'd made them and had just wanted to be done with filling the containers before going to bed and when I had more than two jars' worth of stock, but not really enough to fill three, I just figured I could stick a little extra in the two and everything would be fine, because my bed was calling my name and everything's all better after a good night's sleep, right?

"Gv, these jars are broken, but the glass is in large chunks, so I think I can just pry them all off and not waste all this yummy stock we made last week, okay?"

Gv happily went along with that idea, although she was disappointed over the fact that I would not let her help peel the glass shards off the frozen stock.

So I disposed of the glass and then rinsed the frozen jar-shaped stock cubes off, just to make sure there weren't any little pieces of glass clinging to them.  I then plopped them into the crock pot and began to chop the onion and sweet potatoes.

"Uhhh, maybe I shouldn't take a chance with this stock.  What if there are minuscule splinters of glass that somehow wedge themselves inside our bodies, or what if by rinsing the stock cubes off, I actually melted pieces of glass into the sides of the stock?  Oh gosh, what would it do to our innards, would it really be dangerous, or just all pass on through?"

Off to the computer and to spend a good 15 minutes Googling "is it dangerous if you accidentally swallow glass shards" (because, of course, that would be totally different from purposefully swallowing glass shards)...

I read a lot of "the intestinal tract is thick and strong; things like that just get pooped out," but then of course I saw one thing that mentioned how sometimes things like glass can more easily get caught up in a child's intestinal lining and yes, cause bleeding, but "it heals quickly and doesn't usually pose a problem."

Um, take a chance on my child bleeding on her insides?  No, thank you.

Needless to say, I returned to the crock pot and removed the frozen stock cubes, tossing them into the compost bin and wishing I'd saved myself all the trouble of glass-shard-picking in the first place.  Not to mention how bummed I was to waste perfectly good stock.

Well, perfectly good except for the fact that it contained possible glass shards...

Back to the garage I went, this time retrieving a large jar of stock I'd made on a less-overtired occasion, and I was back in front of the crock pot.

"You know, Gv, I'm thinking that maybe I'm worn out from all that glass business, so let's just nix the chili idea and throw what we've already got prepared into the pot and see what we come up with.  Hopefully it's not nasty!"

So I threw in the chopped potatoes and onion, the lentils, the glass-free chicken stock along with some extra water, and then liberally sprinkled everything with a good coating of cumin, coriander, and salt.

When it was all done, I used my immersion blender to mix it all up nice and creamy, then settled in to devour three bowls of the stuff right then and there.

Hey, it's a healthy soup, so I can eat as much as I want, right?

So if you want to try this delicious non-chili, savory sweet potato lentil soup, here's what you need to know:

What You Need:

2 sweet potatoes, chunked

3 cups dried lentils

1 diced onion

2 cups chicken stock

3 cups water (that's a guess, I really just poured it in until the crock pot was as full as I wanted it)
1 Tablespoon each (another guess, I just kind of shook a bunch all over everything) of cumin, coriander, and salt

What You Do:

1.  Dump all of the ingredients in your crock pot.

2.  Set it for a couple of hours (I had mine on high 2 hours and low 2 hours, but everything will really cook pretty quickly, so this doesn't have to be precise and it's really just to meld all the flavors) and go do something else.  Oh, and hit start.  That part's pretty important.

3.  Use an immersion blender to get everything all nice and creamy.  That is, if you like soups that are nice and creamy, which I do.  Unless I'm in an especially lazy mood and then I like whatever's easiest and quickiest.

4.  Eat it hot, but don't be afraid to try it cold, either.  And despite the fact that this whole meal started off with me trying to find something to go with the chips, I didn't really eat the chips with it.  G and Gv did, but I just really wanted to save all my tummy space for yummy soup.

Can you handle soup in the summer?  Or does the thought of eating a steaming bowl of something when it's steaming outside leave you turning down the air's thermostat?  I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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