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Post by: Angela Tucker
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butternetpotatolentilstewSpring is on its way, but it never hurts to have a healthy comfort food recipe on hand for those lingering chilly days (like this one from! I love one pot meals like this Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew. You have your carbs, protein and veggies all in one bowl, which is great for a quick, satisfying meal. If you like, you can even pair this on top of cooked brown rice or your favourite whole grain. The great thing about the carb sources in this recipe is that they are all have a low glycemic index (aka GI; which basically measures how quickly a food will raise your blood sugars), the lower the GI, the better for you, especially if you are watching your blood sugars.

This recipe calls for Butternut Squash, but really just about any kind of winter squash you have will probably work (I used a North Georgia Candy Roaster Squash, as it was one of the varieties I grew in the garden last summer and I find it holds up well in this type of recipe).

Another legume, such as cooked/canned chickpeas, would likely substitute well in place of the red lentils.  And if you are looking to boost the protein, you could try adding more lentils (just make sure you are adding more liquid as well), or adding a can of your favourite legume. I actually made this recipe at home over the weekend using frozen peas added just at the end instead of chard. Also, this recipe has instructions for cooking on the stove, but I also found that it cooks great in a slow cooker for 8 hours (perfect for starting it in the morning and coming home to a ready-made meal!).

If you are watching your salt intake, I would suggest trying a no sodium added broth, or possibly just adding water instead of the broth. To lower the saturated fat content, you could reduce or omit the coconut milk and add more tomatoes (although it would not be as creamy).


Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato, and Red Lentil Stew

Makes ~5 servings 
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes (or 8 hours in slow cooker)


  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups/280 g)
  • 3 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (400 g) peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash*
  • 1 large sweet potato (450 g), peeled and diced (2 1/2 cups/340 g)*
  • 3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) dried red lentils, rinsed**
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more if you like heat
  • Fine sea salt, to taste (I use 1 1/2 teaspoons pink salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons (15 mL) apple cider vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 bunch chard, stemmed and finely chopped***
* Make sure to dice the squash and potato very small (about the size of almonds), as this will expedite cooking. Also, if you are short on time, you can skip peeling the butternut squash as the skin is edible. (I don’t recommend skipping peeling the potato, though.)
** You can swap the red lentils for 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can chickpeas (drained and rinsed).
*** You can swap the chard for 5 ounces of baby spinach or a bunch of kale (stemmed). I recommend chopping the greens into small bite-size pieces for easier eating.

  1. To a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is softened.
  2. Add the squash and sweet potato and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt and continue sautéing for a few minutes longer.
  3. Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with juices), coconut milk, lentils, tomato paste, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. (If you are spice-shy, feel free to add half the amount to start and increase from there after cooking, to taste.) Stir well to combine.
  4. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir again, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash and potato are fork-tender. Reduce the heat if necessary.
  5. Add the apple cider vinegar to taste. Adjust the other seasonings if desired.
  6. Optional step: Using a handheld immersion blender, blend the stew for only 2 to 3 seconds (any more and you’ll blend too much of the veggies). This thickens the broth.
  7. Stir in the chard, and cook for another couple minutes until the greens are wilted.
  8. Scoop some cooked rice into the bottom of a bowl and then ladle the stew overtop. Garnish with minced cilantro or parsley and a good dusting of garlic and chili powder, if desired.
  9. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and they freeze beautifully too.
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Nutrition Info (per 2 cup serving)

Calories: 440
Fat: 26.5g
Saturated fat: 18g
Carbohydrate: 45g
Fibre: 7.5g
Protein: 14g
Sodium: 340mg
Potassium: 1510mg
Iron: 6mg
Folate:  150 DFE
Vitamin A: 1010 RAE

Nutrition analysis complete using:

Angela Tucker is a Registered Dietitian from rural Manitoba. Angela first became vegan for compassionate reasons but soon realized other ways a vegan lifestyle and plant-based diet positively impacts the planet and health. To learn more about her philosophy on food, visit her blog PrairieSprout. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.