Fresh Turmeric Red Lentils Recipe

(19 ratings)

Turmeric Red Lentils
Turmeric Red Lentils
(Image credit: The Groundnut Cookbook)
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
Total Time45 mins

Recipe taken from The Groundnut Cookbook by Duval Timothy, Folayemi Brown, Jacob Fodio Todd (Michael Joseph) - we've heard it called the "new Ottolenghi" for African cooking.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, gas 6. Peel the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthways and cut crossways at 2.5cm intervals. You should now have rough half-moon discs. Put them into a large bowl.
  2. Melt the coconut oil if it’s solid, then smother it over the sweet potatoes. Add the salt and dried spices and rub well with your hands so they are evenly distributed. Put them on a baking tray, place in the oven on a high shelf and set a timer for 15 minutes, turning the sweet potatoes after about 7 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the lentils. Peel the fresh turmeric with a teaspoon. Pound in a pestle and mortar until it becomes a fine, juicy paste.
  4. Add the stock, tomatoes and fresh turmeric to a deep pot. Place on a medium heat.
  5. Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve and add to the pan. Gently bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat, covered, for 8 minutes. Do not leave for longer than this without checking, because lentils can overcook quickly.
  6. Check the sweet potatoes. We want them so that you can put a fork through each piece with ease. They should taste spicy, salty and sweet from the caramelisation.
  7. Check your lentils. They are ready when they are translucent, without sunburnt orange spots of the original colour at the core. The stock will reduce significantly as the lentils absorb water. Remove from the heat after 8–10 minutes.
  8. When the sweet potatoes are done, add them to the lentils and fold them into the mix. Serve warm, and reheat on a very low temperature so the lentils don’t overcook.


  • 500g medium sweet potatoes
  • 25g coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 20g fresh turmeric
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 130g fresh plum tomatoes
  • 100g whole red lentils
Top Tip for making Fresh Turmeric Red Lentils

You may want to use disposable gloves and an apron to handle fresh turmeric, as it staiins easily