Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

This stew, heavy with red lentils, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and coconut milk, may seem like a bit of an "everything but the kitchen sink" type of recipe, and you wouldn't be wrong if you guessed that. One cold evening last winter, I pranced around the kitchen adding this and that to the Instant Pot, letting the ingredients lead the way. It's almost by accident that this stew is what it is, but ever since it's become a favorite at our table. 

I am a big fan of Indian Daal, but sometimes wish it had a bit more to it. Extra veggies, or something to chew on. That desire is what lead me to this soup in the first place, I think, which is why I know you'll love it: it's the same spicy, savory flavor of Indian Daal, but with a new age twist incorporating cauliflower, sweet potato, and chickpeas. 

Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato
Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

Cauliflower & sweet potatoes go with coconut curry like they were made for it. Their starchiness and subtle sweetness are the perfect backdrop for ginger, garlic, and brown mustard seeds. A splash of lime brightens everything. And chickpeas--far and away my favorite legume- make this soup feel more substantial than a regular lentil soup. 

Soak your lentils throughout the day (or even overnight) to make them easier to digest. This has the added benefit of making them cook faster too. After just a few minutes in an electric pressure cooker, the lentils are creamy and soft. 

P.S., Snow is falling slowly out our window right now. It's barely snowed here this year, despite it already being January, so it feels like a treat. We're going to need a cozy stew to warm us up this evening! This stew is just the thing to bring spoonfuls of cozy to your guests. 💛

Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

For a legume-free recipe inspired by these same flavors, try my Butternut Squash Coconut Curry (it's Paleo-friendly and vegetarian/vegan). 

Favorite Curried Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Cauliflower & Sweet Potato

Published January 30, 2018 by
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Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 15 active minutes


  • 2 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil 
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 green chile pepper, minced (serrano or jalapeño— serrano is the more mild option)
  • 2 cups diced sweet potatoes 
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, strained 
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ground curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt & ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth 
  • Garnish: lime wedges & minced cilantro 


  1. In the morning, place lentils in a soup pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot, and allow lentils to soak for 8-12 hours. Once ready to cook soup, pour lentils through a strainer, discarding the water. Set lentils aside for later use.
  2. Turn Instant Pot (affiliate link!) to “Sauté” setting and heat coconut oil until it glistens. Add minced ginger, garlic, and diced onion to pot, and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add cauliflower, green chile, diced sweet potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, coconut milk, canned tomatoes, curry powder, cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, salt & pepper to the pot and stir. Pour in enough broth to cover all the ingredients easily (there should be a about 1 inch of liquid over the top of the lentils), and then secure lid on Instant Pot. Turn to “Bean/Chili” setting, and set timer for 5 minutes with the vent in the sealed position.
  4. When timer goes off, release pressure and stir stew. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with minced cilantro and a lime wedge.

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Braised Barramundi in Turmeric & Coconut Sauce (Paleo)

Braised Barramundi in Turmeric & Coconut Sauce

At the age of nine, yellow was my favorite color. Not lemon yellow, not lightning bolt yellow, just a soft pastel yellow. This was the case for quite a few years, and it led to some pretty terrible design decisions 🙈 

It was bad. Yellow bedroom bad. Make that two yellow bedrooms: within a few years, I had painted the bedroom at my mom's house and the bedroom at my dad's house yellow. Selecting calming colors for a bedroom really wasn't on my list of priorities at that point...

Fast forward 10 years: I was 19. My car at the time was a bright yellow VW Bug. After ten years, I had grown out of my love for yellow, but it was a fun ride regardless. There were a lot of good days in that car, but the best was the day I bought 20 bouquets of daffodils for a gymnastics meet. Do you know what it’s like to drive around town in a yellow bug full of yellow daffodils? It like you are swimming in a sea of floral, fresh, happy yellow. It's joyous. It's also funny, but it's fun. It made me love daffodils the way I loved yellow a decade before.

Braised Barramundi in Turmeric & Coconut Sauce
Braised Barramundi in Turmeric & Coconut Sauce

Jump up 7 more years, to now. I no longer have the Bug. None of the walls in our home are painted yellow. But on some occasions that same bright, bold, joyful shade of yellow sneaks into the house. It's in a completely different form: turmeric. The color alone reminds me of what it's like to be nine, bringing back visions of childhood. 

This braised barramundi is so bright it almost glows. It is super tender. Barramundi is a naturally flaky fish, and braising it makes it even more buttery. 

A few of you have asked me about sustainable seafood, especially in Colorado. Barramundi, while not from Colorado is a good option because, when raised responsibly, has a low carbon footprint and minimal environmental impact. Plus, you can get it in the freezer section of Costco!! That's what I used for this recipe (thawed the fish first) and it was great. 

The sauce, made with coconut milk, ginger, and turmeric (affiliate link!), is creamy, savory and a has a tiny bit of bite. We add extra red chili flakes on top to add a little heat, too 🔥

I served everything over brown rice, which really soaked up all that sauce, but for Paleo, you can skip the rice or serve with cauliflower rice.

Braised Barramundi in Turmeric & Coconut Sauce

Braised Barramundi in Turmeric & Coconut Sauce

Published December 28, 2017 by
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Serves: 2 as a main course, 4 as a side   |    Total Time: 45-50 minutes


  • 1 fillet barramundi, cut into 2-3 pieces (I used frozen Barramundi from Costco and thawed it first)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, sliced 
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock 
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut milk 
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt & Pepper
  • For serving: cilantro, red chili flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a oven-safe skillet on the stove over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, garlic, and sliced onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add turmeric and coriander, and cook 30 seconds more, allowing the spices to toast a bit.
  3. Pour stock, coconut milk, and lime juice into pan, and stir until combined. Place fish fillets in skillet in single layer. Season generously with salt and ground pepper. Place in oven and bake 10-15 minutes, until fish is cooked through, opaque, and flakey. (Thin fillets (1/2-inch thick) will take 10 minutes, while thicker fillets will take longer).
  4. Pull from oven and top with cilantro leaves and red chili flakes. Serve warm.
  5. We like serving this over a bed of rice because it soaks up all that sauce. Cauliflower rice would work, too!

Braised Barramundi in Turmeric & Coconut Sauce