This curried red lentil, kale and sweet potato soup is the perfect way to warm up from the cold snowy outsides. It is full of rich, warm spices, sweet potatoes, and lentils for the ultimate satisfaction.
curried red lentil kale and sweet potato soup

We’re soup bonding.

I’ll give you all the dirty details about navigating your way through the catering circles in New York City.

And you can tell me all the water cooler gossip about how the guy who sits in the cubicle next to you is rumored to be sleeping with the girl who works at the coffee cart downstairs. On your boss’s desk. While he’s supposedly working overtime. (SCANDALOUS!)

Obviously I don’t know these people, but gossip is gossip and you gotta take what you can get sometimes. Plus you’ll feel better if you get all those dirty little secrets off your chest. I just know it.


What was I talking about? Right, catering.

The.Boy and I are getting married at The Picnic House in Prospect Park and at this venue, you can only choose from one of their approved caterers.

Two of these were kosher, so they were automatically ruled out because some of us like mixing our meat with our dairy. And another one was taken off our list pretty early on (Steven Brown Caterers) because when we met their representative at an open house at the venue, she looked at us in disgust and disapproval whenever we voiced our opinions about what we wanted our wedding to be like and tried for, like, twenty minutes to convince us out of serving a plated dinner in favor of a buffet. Because “she knew better”.

FYI – the bride-to-be always knows better. Always. But especially when you’re trying to get her to write you a very large check.

Then there was the catering company (The Movable Feast) whose point person didn’t speak English, and who persisted in telling the.boy and I totally opposite things when we spoke to her. Given that having an open line of communication is fairly crucial for any kind of relationship, business or otherwise…that just wasn’t going to work.


And then there were three.

Which brings me to the worst of the worst – Bon Soir Caterers.

Not only did the man who runs this “business” say to me in the most condescending way possible, “But sweetheart, why would you want to do that?” when I told him we wanted all vegetarian appetizers. But he also expected us to sign a contract with him without serving us even a single bite of his food. As if we should just take it on blind faith that his food was as good as he said it was.

And then I read a review online that said his pumpkin ravioli was inedible. Which afforded him like, twelve strikes. 

Unfortunately, he was also the most affordable. But you get what you pay for. And I was not about to pay a still absurd amount of money for food that I could make better myself. It just wasn’t going to happen.

Naturally Delicious was our second choice, though if you had asked me at the beginning of all this madness and mayhem, I would have told you we were definitely going to go with them, hands down, no holds barred. I mean, their name is basically everything I stand for.

Except their prices were more than what I make in a year. Plus tax.

So we kind of put them on a back burner as a “maybe, if we negotiate this right”.


And then we met with Bartleby and Sage. And it was as if all the stars aligned.

We had found The One.

Leslie, the owner, was great. She was super into my vision for the wedding (an autumn gala, if you will), actually cared about what kind of food I like and what I wanted, had done her homework and READ MY BLOG before meeting with us.

And she told me that Ottolenghi and Deb were two of her biggest food inspirations and that she was going to London in a week and would be bee-lining it to one of Ottolenghi’s restaurants immediately upon exiting the plane.

So obviously we are food soulmates.

I also know because she treated us to a meal at her restaurant where I had one of the best bowls of mac and cheese of my life. Along with my favorite cinnamon cider ale. Basically still dreaming about it.

A bit of contract negotiation and budget-finagling later (mostly a la the.boy), and there you have it. We sent in our contract and deposit last week.

It was simultaneously liberating and terrifying.

And now I’m going to need a second bowl of soup to calm my nerves. It’s good like that.


One year ago…Black-Eyed Peas and Cornmeal DumplingsSushi with Curry-Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado and Cardamom Millet Rice

Two years ago…Chipotle Squash Salad with Jicama, Goat Cheese and Avocado

Four years ago…Cheesy Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Barley Bake

Curried Red Lentil, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
This curried red lentil, kale and sweet potato soup is the perfect way to warm up from the cold snowy outsides. It is full of rich, warm spices, sweet potatoes, and lentils for the ultimate satisfaction.
Yield: 5 servings
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded, diced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 cups water
  • 14 oz light coconut milk
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until onion becomes tender. Stir in the jalapeno, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and salt. Stir for about a minute, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to darken in color, stirring constantly. Add the water, coconut milk, red lentils, and sweet potato. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the lentils are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the kale and cook for about 5 minutes, or until wilted and tender. Stir in the cilantro and serve.
Barely adapted from The Bojon Gourmet
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅕th of recipe


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80 Responses to Curried Red Lentil, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

  1. Danielle says:

    I made a less impressive version of this for dinner last night. No recipe, I just stirred up aromatics, veggie broth, red lentils, sweet potatoes/carrots, into a soup. Cut up kale. Left it simmering for hours (I went to yoga, husband watched it). Returned home, husband filled his bowl with sausage+this soup, I filled mine with kale+this soup. We sat down AND THEN I REALIZED I FORGOT SPICE! Yes, there was ginger and garlic, but no salt, let alone curry or the harissa I meant to add. So you read my mind AND did it better.

  2. Kathryn says:

    Yeah! Congrats on sorting the caterer – it sounds like a total match made in heaven and I love the vision you have for the wedding. I can’t wait to hear more about it in due course!

  3. ramblingtart says:

    This looks so nourishing and comforting, lovely eating for a frigid day. 🙂

  4. I want this soup so bad right now. I had a little too much sugar yesterday and now I’m feelin’ the next day sugar crash.
    Warm and comforting and healthy. Love it!

  5. gloria says:

    I love lentils in all seasons look yumm!!

  6. Sues says:

    Yay for finding a caterer! We chose our venue mostly because the chef there is AWESOME so we didn’t have to go through lots of tastings (not that that’s a bad thing to go through!). This soup looks so pretty 🙂

  7. Kelster says:

    I just finished the last of the curried sweet potato, lentil and kale calzones that I made last week. Such a delicious combination. I need to buy more sweet potatoes tomorrow.

  8. Monica says:

    As a sweet potato fanatic, this soup has my name written all over it. But more importantly, congrats on finding the caterer!! It’s amazing how condescending and infuriating some people can be to work with. So glad you know what you want and don’t have a problem saying so. So glad you found the right people now…it’s going to be a delicious wedding. ; )

  9. Just reading about your wedding stress stresses me out a little. Pass me a bowl of soup, please!

  10. I’m still laughing. You know, sweetheart, those people know everything. How condescending can they be? Twerps is the only description.

    I’m SO glad you went with Bartleby and Sage. She sounds like she knows everything. 🙂

    She couldn’t go past this bowl of soup though – I couldn’t either.

  11. Oh I’m so glad you’ve found the caterer of your dreams! The food at our wedding was so important to us too 🙂 Yours is going to be amazing, for sure!!

  12. I’ve been obsessed with lacinato kale lately!!!!

  13. Margarita says:

    Yes! One wedding to-do done! I’m glad you found the right caterer. The wedding caterer for our reception was great, he also believed in my food philosophy and cooked some recipes that I specifically requested for, spinach salad and a chicken and cardamom dish from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. The rest, I left it up to him and it was perfect. Sad thing though, he practiced making the chicken and cardamom dish at home to see how it would taste and he loved it. But when he recreated it for a bigger crowd, it just didn’t turn out right. Lesson learned, caterers have their own specialties that they can cook for a crowd. Something new means experimenting first, and it might not turn out great.

  14. Ah! SO exciting that you found your caterer – and she really does sound SO perfect for you. Whew, big sigh of relief for you:-) !!!!!

  15. I was just going to put up a pot of soup… I usually make matzo balls this time of year because it makes for a very (VERY) filling dinner. But I might just have have to make some lentils because this looks so good!

  16. Also… wtf, “I know better”… who says that to a potential customer?

  17. So glad you found a like minded caterer for your wedding Joanne – it was well worth all the legwork I’m sure. Lovin’ this soup – perfect for this long winter we’ve been having!

  18. Julia says:

    It’s like you’re insiiiiiide me!!! I love this soup with all my might! The simple combination of curry spices, lentils, kale, and sweet potatoes is all I need ever for a comfort soup. I want to put my face in it! Okay, not really…but I do want to share precious moments with this recipe 😉

  19. bellini says:

    Such a heartwarming soup Joanne. When I hear you talk about your wedding I think of my own daughter who is getting married next week. She is still in university after 8 years so a wedding that is basically planned for you in Mexico seemed in order. All I do is show up:D

  20. Oooo I want to hear more about this guy sleeping with the gossip fuels me through the day (I’m a terrible person), lol. This soup?! LOVE!

  21. Yay!!!! I’m so glad you found an amazing caterer. Sorry the road was bumpy to get there but at least they allowed you to know what you didn’t like at all. The most stressful part is behind you, please enjoy the rest of it!! And amen the bride is always right!!

  22. Love the jalepeno to amp up the heat and the coconut for creaminess is brilliant! This soup would calm my nerves too!
    So glad yall found your “food soulmate” caterer!

  23. What an awesome place for your wedding!!! Yay! And do glad you found your caterer. This soup is cozy, winter perfection!

  24. cheri says:

    This soup looks perfect, great combination. Congrats on finding a caterer!

  25. sandra says:

    As I was reading this I was saying to myself, if only they knew you are a FOOD BLOGGER, for goodness sake, didn’t they know who they were dealing with?? And then the last one had read your blog. So nice to know that all is well and you will have the food you deserve. Kind of surprising how difficult it all was, though.

  26. Girl, you always make me swoon with your soups! This one is amazing, like always 🙂

  27. Deena kakaya says:

    There is just nothing more comforting than dhal and this is just lovely because I imagine the light bitterness of colourful kale is balanced with the sweet potato. I love a meal in a bowl, easy and soul- soothing x

  28. Pam says:

    Wow – it sounds like you dealt with some terrible people. I am so glad you found your food soulmate and you were able to afford it! So excited to see how it all comes together.

  29. Joanne you have such a way of making healthy food both comforting and filling! I love it! Beautiful job!

  30. PS- I am soooo glad you have a venue and caterer, two of the biggest decisions out of the way! YAYYYY! I am also amazed that you are able to make all these things photograph, post every day and plan a wedding! Do you also still go to school or a job? You’re amazing!

  31. Kate says:

    Food at a wedding is funny. If it’s good, no one really remembers it (even you two, because there will be so much else going on that the food will be the last thing you remember. It’ll be the people, the moments, the random person who walked through the ceremony before the vows….) But if it’s bad? That’s all anyone will remember. “Joanne’s wedding? With the cardboard bread and cold chicken?”

  32. Foodiewife says:

    I have to confess, that I can easily tire of listening to wedding plans. But, in your case, this is one wedding I am looking forward to following. I’ve watched you grow from a fledgling blogger to a single woman, to being in-love and now…you’re getting married! LOVED the catering story. Smart move for your chosen caterer to read all about you. This is the kind of soup I’d love to enjoy. Full of flavors I love, and I adore sweet potatoes. Great read, Joanne!

  33. Whoa, it sounds like you really lucked out with the caterers! No matter what happens, you will have an amazing day and from what I’ve heard, won’t eat a bite all day because you’ll be so busy/overwhelmed/happy. Hopefully that won’t be the case, though because it sounds like this caterer is worth every penny! What luck! We didn’t have a choice of caterer when we booked our venue but I knew it was going to be ok when they made us all off-the-menu grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Speaking of soup, this one looks like perfection!

  34. Megan says:

    I’m so happy you found a caterer you clicked with! I was amazed at how many wedding vendors made it difficult to work with them. We actually picked our venue because of the caterer (and because it’s gorgeous and fit the outdoor farm wedding theme). We wanted to do farm to table and the chef just got it. After our first tasting, we gave feedback on what we did and didn’t like and he actually sat down and sketched the plates he planned to make for us, complete with a smear of parsnip puree and microgreen garnishes. So impressive. And I loved the woman who did our invitations because she actually found me through my blog and approached me (and she had made dessert for Julia Child)! It’s great when you find those wonderful people who make the whole wedding planning thing that much easier!

  35. Congrats on figuring out your caterer! This soup looks perfect for the weather we are having right now. I have been adding kale to soups and it is such a great addition. The combination of kale, lentils and sweet potato sounds great!

  36. Eileen says:

    Aw, yay! It sounds like you did find the absolute best caterer for the job. 🙂 And this soup, needless to say, sounds fantastic for a cold night. Lentils forever!

  37. I make a similar soup from Daphne Oz’s book all the time. Pure comfort, plus it’s healthy. Win! So glad you found a caterer you like. I was kind of on the edge of my seat hoping this story would have a happy ending.

  38. The Picnic House! You fancy girl, it’s going to be so amazing! I’m glad you found a caterer you liked. Your stories had me agitated that you had to deal with those people!

  39. Glad you found a caterer – sounds like a stressful process!

  40. Abby says:

    I can’t believe some of those caterers!! Wow. Just wow. No soup for them! Ps. Soup looks freaking awesome.

  41. Your creativity with vegetables is amazing 😀
    This soup is so full of goodness!

    Choc Chip Uru

  42. Emma says:

    So pleased you sorted out the caterer. An Ottolenghi fan is my sort of person 🙂
    I bet the wedding feast is going to be spectacular.
    In other matters, this soup looks exactly what I need right now.

  43. Congrats on finding ‘the one’ caterer. 😉 If she loves Ottolenghi she must be perfect for you. This soup looks fabulous–just the thing to warm up and be comforted after all of your wedding endeavors. 😉

  44. There’s no gossip to speak of when you work from home. Oh! I could talk about the crazy moms at the kids’ school. Lol. The Picnic House (and the soup) looks awesome!!

  45. I’m always amazed at how much depth and flavor your dishes pack….looks great, Jo!

  46. I’m so excited you have a venue AND a caterer! Thank goodness you hit on someone so perfect – the earlier options you mention sound, well, very not perfect. This soup should help soothe all the nerves that need soothing while you tackle the next round of decisions 🙂

  47. Yum! I ordered a bowl of red lentil soup today for lunch! Totally could have used some kale in it! Gotta make this one. Your wedding planning posts are giving me nostalgic pains in my ass. 😉 Totally worth it 😉

  48. Oh noooo!!!! Don’t mention caterers. I get anxiety. Seriously, I haven’t done a thing!!!

    This soup looks amazing. Totally my kind of thing 🙂

  49. It baffles my mind how people can stay in business when they treat prospective clients with no respect. So glad you found someone perfect 🙂

  50. Hey so glad you found your caterer! Now things should move smoothly for you both from now on. And it will be here soon ! Can’t wait !
    Your soup looks amazing too ! Great recipe. Xxoo

  51. Hotly Spiced says:

    What a story. I can feel the streeesssss. What a journey you’ve had and it’s a wonder some people (with the way they conduct themselves) have any business being in business themselves. I love the sound of the company you’ve secured and it sounds like a dream come true. I know what you mean about difficult companies – I’m trying to organise Archie’s 21st and I went to one company today about printing the invitations and was met by a woman who didn’t speak a word of English trying to tell me that A4 sized paper was exactly what I needed to order. I did try to explain that I’m not writing a ‘letter’, I’m trying to send a card-sized invitation. It was so frustrating! xx

  52. I had a similar soup a couple of months ago…need to make a batch soon! Your soup looks super, Joanne.

  53. […] Curried Red Lentil, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup looks so comforting and delicious. […]

  54. Judging from the fact that her food inspirations are my food inspirations, and she’s going to London (!) to see Ottolenghi’s restaurant, I think you’re in safe hands. Seriously, that sounds perfect. As does this soup, given it’s 50 degrees too cold out right now, leaving wide open space for coconut milk and sweet potatoes.

  55. I’m so glad you booked the caterer! I can’t believe how some of them treated you. Unfortunate but it hopefully made your decision that much easier (note, I didn’t say easy 😉 ).
    Soup has a way of bringing back to a chillaxed reality! This looks delicious. 🙂

  56. Susan says:

    So happy you found a caterer that sounds perfect for you and such a nice person too. I’m sure she’ll do a wonderful job!

    Delicious soup – love lentil soup with kale!

  57. Linda says:

    I made it yesterday!!! It’s incredible and two of us ate more than half at one sitting. The red lentils blend in and just make a lovely, thick soup..

  58. Shannon says:

    yum!! so glad you can check catering off the list- she definitely sounds like a perfect match 🙂 can’t wait to see what’s on the menu!

  59. Congrats Joanne!!!! That is so awesome and I love that she actually read your blog and did her homework. Food is such an important part of a wedding and it’s got to be such a relief knowing you are in good hands 🙂 So happy for you!

  60. Alanna says:

    I’m so glad this soup is helping to steel you against those bossy caterers! I never in a million years would have imagined that scenario when I posted it last year, and your words make me so happy – thanks! I’m also left wondering how it’s possible to make pumpkin ravioli that are inedible? There’s just no excuse for that.

  61. SO GLAD you found someone to make you happy! I LOVED my caterer–and my sister is planning her wedding and cannot find her and is having a terrible time… anyway the point being, from one foodie to another 🙂 I understand your joy! Pinning this scrumptious soup!

  62. Reeni says:

    I’m so happy you found such a great caterer! Just the fact she knows who Ottolenghi is would of been a bonus in my book. I understand your need for this delicious, comforting soup after wading through all those bad ones!

  63. I am happy that you found a caterer for you wedding!!! You must feel a little relieved.
    Your soup sounds yummy, sounds like it is full of flavor and very healthy.

  64. Wow – that sounds like a match made in heaven… I want an invite to your wedding!!

  65. Rika @ VM says:

    That’s a beautiful wintery soup! Mmmm, coconut milk, lentils, kale, cilantro, and curry powder? All sound lovely together. It’s icy right now! Congratulations for finding a caterer & venue – and what a stressful moment! Being a bride requires a lot of responsibilities, totally understandable.

  66. Glad you found such great caterers! I’m sure the food at your wedding will be delish!
    Thsi soup looks fantastic and so so comforting ;–) xx

  67. This soup looks delicious, love sweet potatoes, kale, and red lentils.

  68. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh yum, I love curry 🙂 this soup has got everything I enjoy!

  69. Congrats on finding your perfect caterer! That’s so exciting – and don’t believe ANYONE who tells you, “oh, you’ll be so busy you won’t eat A THING at your wedding!” – I call BS. I ate all.of.the.things at my wedding and was glad I did 🙂

  70. […] Curried red lentil, kale and sweet potato soup via Eats Well With Others […]

  71. Malik says:

    Made this last night. Came out fantastic. However, I like my soup a bit smoother so I used my immersion blender and chopped up the kale/sweet potatoe a bit. Family loves it. Thanks.

  72. […] what comes up.  Last night, I googled “lentil sweet potato kale) and found a recipe for Curried Red Lentil, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup.   It came together quickly, most of the time was for simmering.  I made biscuits to go along […]

  73. Jenifer says:

    This soup looks great. What bothers me only I do not like ginger. But I’ll try to do it

  74. […] 2 bunches kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped 2 tbsp minced cilantro You can find the directions at This soup was super easy to make and I liked that the ingredients are things I usually keep on […]

  75. JT says:

    I made this today — way too watery for my taste. I would have adjusted the ingredients and used less water.

    • joanne says:

      I’m so sorry you found your soup to be too watery! I think it definitely will depend on the spiciness of the jalapenos and the intensity of the curry powder that you use, which will be different for each one. I know the curry powder that I have on hand is pretty intense, so I tend to use a bit less, but I could totally see how that wouldn’t be enough for all curry powders.

  76. Kara says:

    Made this tonight. I was concerned the soup wouldn’t be flavorful enough so I substituted half of the water with veggie stock. Even so, it was really bland and watery. I added liquid aminos, additional salt, pepper and the juice of 1 lime and lime zest. It ended up being delicious but needed a lot of additional seasoning for my taste.

    • joanne says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback! I’ve had readers give me feedback on this recipe and it seems that they either love it or find it needs more flavoring. I think it really depends on the spiciness of the jalapenos you use and how intensely flavored your curry powder is. The one I use is pretty intense, so I tend to err on the side of less to ensure that I don’t burn my tastebuds off while eating! So glad to hear you enjoyed it in the end, though!

  77. Sarah says:

    This soup sounds amazing. I still didn’t absorb what it had to to with a caterer, but congrats on your wedding and hope your autumn gala is (or was, more than a year later) fantastic. This recipe will let me use up the middle eastern red lentils I have in the cupboard that I can’t face. I can’t face them because I would make red lentil and chicken soup for my husband every time we came home from chemotherapy. It was his sister’s recipe from Iraq, dictated over the phone, and it made him feel better (no kale in that recipe though). While still under chemo treatment, he walked our daughter down the aisle in a gorgeous fall wedding. We are so thankful for the time it gave him. We lost him last February and it still hurts. And the red lentils still stare at me when I root through the cupboard.So I’ll try your recipe which is completely different and sounds delicious, And I wish you the best and much happiness!

  78. Jena says:

    Absolutely scrumptious recipe, thank you! I omitted the jalapeno as I need my kids to eat this also & they don’t do spicy food…yet. I love a good dal!

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