Optional: If soaking lentils, rinse and add to a mixing bowl and cover with 2 inches cool water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Then rinse, drain, and proceed with recipe. (See notes for soaking tips and ways to get around this if you're in a hurry!)
Heat a large pot or dutch oven (we love this one), over medium-high heat. Once hot, add water (or oil) and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly browned. Add more water (or oil) as needed to brown.
Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Then add sweet potato, salt, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne (optional). Stir to coat and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add vegetable broth and bring to a low boil. Then add lentils and coconut sugar and another pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Once it comes back to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer, loosely cover (crack the lid to let steam escape), and cook for ~20 minutes or until lentils are tender (time will vary depending on type of lentil and whether or not they were soaked).
Once the lentils are tender, add green beans, stir, and cover. Cook for another 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let soup rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more cumin for smokiness, cinnamon for warmth, salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, or pepper or cayenne pepper for heat.
Serve as is, with grains, or over steamed vegetables. Optional: Top with fresh herbs, red pepper flake, and/or fresh minced garlic.
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5-7 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through. Add more vegetable broth or water to rehydrate as needed.
*Prep time does not include soaking lentils. *We recommend soaking your lentils:
Soaking helps improve digestibility and also speeds cook time.
If you're not one to remember to soak your beans, you can buy sprouted at the store and add to soup when called for.
If you're in a big hurry: You could use red lentils, which don't require soaking and cook faster. Or, use canned cooked lentils (just be sure to rinse and drain before adding, and reduce cook time as needed).
*Recipe adapted from Madeleine Shaw’s cookbook Ready Steady Glow (Morrocan Soup recipe). *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of coconut sugar and without optional ingredients.