Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lentil Kale Soup

Do you have a bag of lentils in your cupboard because you know they are healthy and feel that you should be eating them?
Has that aforementioned bag of lentils been in there ...oooooh, for more that a year or two?
Don't worry; you can still use them!!

Lentils are a legume that are easy to cook - no soaking required - and they cook up in less than 30 minutes! They are packed with nutrition: folic acid, protein, fiber..., they are inexpensive, versatile, essentially non-perishable,... but from my own informal field research, not commonly used by Nova Scotians.

Sometimes I feel that it is my life purpose to turn Nova Scotians onto legumes.
If I could make a living doing just that,  I would accept the job in a minute.  Imagine the job title: Bean Queen, Queen Bean, or Lady Fartsalot - hmmmm-not exactly the title I've been dreaming about.

In actuality it is part of my job already - doing quickie cooking sessions with clients in their homes - the recipes usually star a bean or lentils.
The other day a new client called me and said that she had a bag of lentils in the cupboard for over a year now,  and would love to know how to use them. I could feel my pulse quicken, my breath become shallow and a surge of adrenaline. Is it normal to become this excited about cooking lentils with someone??

This soup follows the straightforward soup formula of sauteing aromatics such as onion, and garlic in a little oil, adding vegetables, then adding a protein and/or a starch source.Simmer, taste, adjust seasonings. You can use almost any vegetables you have on hand. I really liked the Kale in this soup.
Regarding amounts of water to lentils - for this soup use a ratio of 4:1 - i.e. 4 cups water or broth to 1 cup lentils. You may need to add more water or broth to make it less thick.

Lentil Kale Soup

olive oil
onion, diced
garlic, minced
celery, diced
carrots, diced
herbes de provence - or other dried herb combinations: rosemary, oregano, etc.
water or broth
rinsed dried lentils: I used French Puy - you can use red, green or brown lentils
tomato paste (note in photo there is crushed tomatoes - I used leftover tomato paste in the fridge instead)
Kale: rinsed, tough ribs cut off and cut into pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, garlic and celery, saute for a few minutes. Add the diced carrot, herbs and saute for a few minutes. Add water and the rinsed lentils, stir and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer until the lentils are tender - about 25 minutes. Add more water or broth to reach desired consistency.
Add the tomato paste and kale and cook for another few minutes.
Season with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Bella says:" Of all of the Mommies in the world, I had to end up with a lentil loving dietitian!"


  1. Dear Edie,
    What a wonderful choice for these cold, snowy winter days. I really liked your telling of the soup formula; having never thought of it that way before. A million possibilities!
    I am reading a book of the German Settlement of Lunenburg village in Nova Scotia "Call of a Distant Shore" by Corinne Hoebers. In the story the main character, Elizabeth,is cooking a hearty soup in the kitchen hearth daily.
    Another book of local interest has been reprinted after 40 years; "Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens" by Marie Nightingale. Most of the recipes were created for a very physically active population who were settling a wilderness. For today's use some recipes may need some heart healthy adaptations.

  2. Hi Margaret,

    I missed something in the soup formula - the adding of water or broth after sauteing the aromatics...with a formula such as this - you can create soups without a recipe!!

  3. Edie,
    Your blog is great! I found your kale-lentil soup recipe doing a search for one of my own blog all about kale, which is Your recipes look delicious, and I confess I love your pix of Bella. :-) Keep up your great work!

    Diana Dyer, MS, RD
    The Dyer Family Organic Farm
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  4. Thanks Diana, I am going to check out your site right now!

  5. how much water or broth? i'd like to add a healthy grain. quinoa? i'm a newbie at cooking well...

  6. Hi Kim,

    I would suggest that you start with adding 3 cups water or broth to 1 cup lentils for this soup. Add more water or broth as it cooks if needed to reach your desired consistency.