© 2012 Green Kitchen Stories Beluga_lentil_sweet potato

Beluga Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew

Before we are digging in on today’s dish, can I just take five seconds and tell you how much I love my daughter. One week ago Elsa turned two. And it got me thinking. I never ever expected parenting to be this much fun. But it is! She is just super hilarious and completely amazing all the time. And the hugs she gives. So utterly honest and full of love. Just needed to say that. Now on to the food.

Hopefully we only have a few more days of winter left. But we still wanted to give you one last comforting recipe before moving on to spring food. This stew is something that has kept us going through the dark and cold Swedish winter. Warm spices, tender sweet potato, chewy black beluga lentils, shaved fennel, a dollop honey and a few tablespoons of sauerkraut. Yes, this dish is probably as comforting as it gets. It’s like one of Elsa’s hugs. Warm and soft and full of life.

If you haven’t tried sauerkraut before, we urge you to give it a try. This fermented finely shredded cabbage – similar to the Korean kimchi, but less spicy – is not only super healthy, but it also gives a fresh twang to whatever you mix it with. In our recipe it works especially good because we both have honey and sweet potatoes that balance the sourness from the sauerkraut.

You can make your own sauerkraut. It is not that complicated, but it takes a while to get the whole fermentation thing going. So if you plan on making this dish sometime this month, you might want to pick up a jar from your supermarket or health store.

I spent the autumn experimenting with my own kimchi recipe. I still have a few jars in our fridge, but after a few months in there I am afraid to open it, thinking it might talk back to me.

Beluga Lentil, Sweet Potato & Fennel Stew with Sauerkraut

If you don’t want the lentils to color the rest of the stew you could also cook them separately (as we have done in the photo above), and then add them to the stew together with the sauerkraut and the honey. But the most nutritious way is to cook everything together.

2 tbsp ghee, coconut or olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cilantro
1 pinch ground cayenne
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves
1 large red onion, diced
2 medium size sweet potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup lentils, rinsed
2 cups water
2 – 4 tbsp sauerkraut, more for serving
1 -2 tbsp honey
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Melt ghee, coconut or olive oil in a thick-bottomed pot on medium heat.
2. Add cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cilantro and cayenne. Stir constantly to prevent it from burning.
3. When the spices smell fragrant, add ginger, garlic and onions and cook for about 3–5 minutes. Add a little water if it is to dry.
4. Add sweet potatoes and fennel and stir for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile rinse and drain the lentils.
5. Add lentils and water, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
6. Add sauerkraut and honey. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
7. Serve in bowls and top with sauerkraut and fresh herbs.


  1. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 01:03 | #

    I love sauerkraut! My mom used to use it with recipes all the time. This past week I had a cold and I ate so much sauerkraut!

  2. Emily
    Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 01:28 | #

    That stew sounds incredible. And I love love love your pics.

  3. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 02:04 | #

    Such a fresh looking stew – almost looks like a salad!

  4. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 02:09 | #

    what a fresh idea to put sauerkraut with lentils! I’ve got some cranberry cumin ‘kraut fermenting on my countertop now. I’ll have to give it a try :)

  5. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 02:18 | #

    Mmm what a lovely stew! So full of flavour and deliciousness.

  6. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 02:48 | #

    i love beluga lentils. this stew is definitely something i would enjoy and i need to take the time to make it- SOON!

  7. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 04:06 | #

    Your little girl is so adorable. You can tell she gives the best hugs :) I love cooking with beluga lentils – I even like the way the little dry ones feel in my hands! Can’t wait to try this one.

  8. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 04:25 | #

    Such wonderful flavors in this bowl. Another winner here!

  9. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 08:37 | #

    I love the tang sauerkraut adds to stews… combined with lentils and sweet potatoes, this sounds like a killer combination. :)

  10. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 09:27 | #

    I have been looking for beluga all over this country. I love whole masor dal (brown lentils) so much, I know beluga will be even better. We don’t have spring but do enjoy spring like weather for couple of days before the summer comes calling, and I don’t look forward to the desert summer. Not a bit. Food is the only way i survive it.

  11. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 10:00 | #

    Yum yum yum! Sauerkraut – I love thee! This seems to be, as you say a very balanced combo of glorious flavours! Also… I have to say, I´m longing for the day when I get to experience parenthood and all that comes with it! Until then I´ll try this stew! Oh the joy when I realize that I have all the ingredients at home <3 Earthsprouty Love to ya´ll

  12. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 12:26 | #

    The feeling of love from your daughter is as close as I can get to expressing my gratitude to you for sharing your wonderful cooking skills, nutritional advice and photography here on the blog.

    For years I read blogs that omitted one or two ingredients that I couldn’t/wouldn’t eat, but never found any that met all my needs and also my desire to eat really well. The internet is full of people showing you how to make an allergy fee approximation of sugar, fat and salt filled foods. I didn’t wanted that.

    I wanted fresh, healthy, often raw, nutrition packed, wild and most of all, flavourful food. You offer all of that and with same spirit of experimentation that I use when preparing food. Thank you so much for everything you share. I am encouraged every week by something you have written and my life and health are both better as a result.

    • Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 21:27 | #

      Cally! Thanks a million for your beautiful comment! Keep coming back ;-) & thanks for reading!

  13. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 12:41 | #

    Stew filled with LOVE! The true art of making food to nourish :) Love that.

  14. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 12:47 | #

    What a gorgeous dish! I’ve never used or heard of Beluga Lentils. I hope they sell them in the United States because I would love to try this recipe! I’m not much of a fan of sauerkraut (I don’t like vinegar very much!) but I may be able to try a little with this stew!

    • Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 21:21 | #

      You can use other kind of lentils as well, we have made it with red and yellow lentils several times, so good too, but different! Hope you’ll find a good quality sauerkraut, definitely worth it!

  15. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 13:00 | #

    Looks so good! I think it is really tasty!!

  16. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 15:25 | #

    I love adding sauerkraut to lentil soup so I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a try. For anyone who has never made it at home, fermenting sauerkraut is surprisingly easy and really fun. Plus, it tastes SO much better than store-bought!

  17. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 15:25 | #

    I like how you’ve balanced the earthiness of lentils with the freshness of fennel, creamy sweet potato, and tangy sauerkraut. Such a beautiful and nourishing dish!

  18. Sini
    Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 16:49 | #

    So excited about this recipe! I’m totally into beans and lentils lately so this would be perfect. Have to make it and tell you how it turned out.

  19. Josephine Malene
    Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 17:04 | #

    Wauw, with all the scary reality tv about child births, difficult children, families struggeling etc. You just blew it all away and reminded me how much I am looking forward to having children :)

  20. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 20:44 | #

    What an inventive and clever dish, pressing all the flavour buttons. I do make my own sauerkraut (the ones in the supermarket are too insipid) so I’ll have to crank out a batch and try this. Love Beluga lentils. We are lucky enough to get them here in the UK as raw and in pre-cooked pouches (great for last minute lunch salads).Thanks for this massively vitamin packed and probiotic meal. But probably not a patch on a hug from a favourite child…

    • Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 21:26 | #

      Thanks for your comment Kellie!
      Happy Sauerkraut making & stew cooking!

  21. Laura
    Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 21:49 | #

    It’s wonderful…in italian Spettaccolare!!I like all of your recipes…you are a special people! :D

  22. Posted 12 Mar ’12 at 21:55 | #

    I really, really love Your photos. They look like very professional, all the time! :)

  23. Posted 13 Mar ’12 at 18:12 | #

    amazing!!!!!!!!! love everything u do!
    check out my tumblr

  24. Posted 14 Mar ’12 at 01:59 | #

    Thank you for this beautiful recipe. With the chill of autumn in the sir here in Sydney, this would be perfect for an early dinner!

  25. Posted 14 Mar ’12 at 06:22 | #

    it looks really beautiful, what o pity finally eat them

  26. Posted 14 Mar ’12 at 21:09 | #

    Such sweet sentiments for your daughter. I love sweet potatoes and lentils; combining them with more unusual ingredients like sauerkraut and fennel sounds like a fun flavor adventure!

  27. Posted 23 Mar ’12 at 13:44 | #

    I just made this. It was so gloomy and cold today and I felt really sleepy and tired so I wanted a feel-good lunch to cheer me up… So, when I took the first spoonful of this stew, it was so delicious that I felt like crying! I love that with every bite different flavours arise (cumin seeds!).

    Thanks so much, your blog is definitely becoming one of my favourites!

  28. Posted 8 Apr ’12 at 04:10 | #

    I just found you. Where have I been?! Love your site. Excellent recipes and beautiful pics to match.

  29. Mia Crusoe
    Posted 3 Aug ’12 at 18:00 | #

    First time I try sweet potatos – very good with this mixture of spices. The best of all is the sour crout!
    Your site has made med rediscover MY way of eating. Since the kids were born I lost the energy to cook. But now I’ve regained the energy thanks to these inspiring recipes, spicy with insteresting and unusual combinations, just in my taste. Thank you for that! So now we cook one dish for my kids and my husband, and one for me… ;)

  30. Emily
    Posted 12 Aug ’12 at 11:19 | #

    I just made this – outstanding! What a fabulous recipe. Certainly one to trot out when people say that vegan food isn’t tasty.
    I hadn’t had sauerkraut before now either – and could only find a HUGE jar in the supermarket so was a good excuse to get some in the fridge. Yummo.
    Thank you for taking the time to share your recipes with us.

  31. Maggie
    Posted 16 Nov ’12 at 01:39 | #

    I just made this! it is one of the best dishes i have made in months! thank you so much

  32. Susanne
    Posted 24 Apr ’13 at 09:37 | #

    I just cooked my first dish after your very inspiring recipes, can’t wait to explore further. Is the beluga lentil sweet potato stew a recipe that serves 1? 2? I hope not 4, because I intend to finish this in not more than 1 or 2 sessions…

  33. Anahita
    Posted 12 Jun ’13 at 13:23 | #

    I just cooked it, and now I can’t stop eating, it’s so delicious.

  34. Posted 25 Nov ’13 at 03:59 | #

    I made this last night. It was pretty good, my husband even liked it and lately he is hard to please! I did forget to put in the sauerkraut and honey but I was still delicious and not boring without it. I also used green lentils instead of black because that is what I had. I love you site and your recipes! Thank you!

  35. Helle
    Posted 24 Apr ’14 at 22:40 | #

    Seriously one of my favorite recipes! It’s so easy to make and it taste like Heaven! So now I always have an extra can of sauerkraut in my kitchen.
    I do make mine without fennel though, as I don’t like the taste of it.

  36. Claudia
    Posted 17 Oct ’14 at 01:42 | #

    As the weather is beginning to cool I decided to make a pot of this stew to have on hand for lunches. It’s delicious and comforting…will definitely make again.

  37. Eva
    Posted 2 Jan ’15 at 17:03 | #

    Hi! I was going to try this recipe tonight, and am wondering if you mean coriander when you say “ground cilantro”?

  38. Aneesha
    Posted 20 Jan ’15 at 13:09 | #

    I so love what you do with Indian and European fusion and how everything is so simple!

  39. Sham
    Posted 30 Jun ’15 at 07:30 | #

    Great recipe! Just wondering if there is a substitute for honey? I have made some of your recipes and they never fail to amaze! great work on the site and videos!!

  40. malin
    Posted 4 Jul ’16 at 19:45 | #

    Jag provade dethär ikväll, hade ingen surkål eller honung, men trots det så är detta verkligen ett recept jag kommer att återkomma till! Fänkålen gjorde väldigt mycket för att förhöja smakerna och påminde om anis. Väldigt gott – rekommenderas!

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