By now you might be asking, “What’s with all the kale propaganda?” (Thank you Jim Gaffigan). You know, kale, the superfood that will save us from every dietary ill? The vegetable that will save us from ourselves? I jest, but these days, we can’t ignore the health benefits of kale and other leafy greens. So I give you this vegetarian version of Lentil soup with baby kale is hearty and satisfying with a tomato-based broth.
Well, folks, I have updated my lentil soup recipe to include, you guessed it….kale. If you feel that kale has taken over your life, feel free to leave it out; the dish is pretty nutritious without it.
Just as our food choices and tastes change over time so do our recipes. These days, I like to think about my food purchases as a ratio of nutrition calories to cost. In other words, I want to buy the most nutrition for each dollar I spend at the grocery store and farmer’s market. I understand, sometimes there is nothing as comforting as foods containing “empty calories.” Foods such as Dorritos, for example, might fit into that category. They can be very calorie-dense, with just about zero nutrition. Full disclosure; I do allow myself to eat empty calories now and then!
However, beans and legumes lie on the other side of the spectrum. Take lentils, for example. Such a humble food. Green, brown, or red, lentils weigh in at about $2 per pound with a spectacular nutrition profile.
Check out this list of lentil’s notable nutrients
Lentils are a great source of protein (18 grams per cup of cooked lentils), dietary fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium. These super legumes are low in cholesterol, help regulate blood sugar, and help maintain a healthy heart. (The kale is a bonus!). Best served hot with a pile of tortillas or a fresh loaf of focaccia right out of the oven.
Lentil Soup with Baby Kale
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 6 cups vegetable broth or water
- ½ lb. green or brown lentils, washed and drained
- salt to taste
- 1 bunch baby kale (any kale with do, however)
- 1 dollop yogurt or sour cream optional
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and saute until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add carrot and celery and cook for a few more minutes, uncovered, until vegetables begin to soften.
- Add lentils and tomato paste to vegetable mixture and stir. Add broth or water and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt, and bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 40 minutes, until the lentils are soft.
- Ten minutes before the soup is done, soften the kale in a pot of salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Rinse, drain, and set aside.
- To serve, add a healthy ladleful of lentil soup to a bowl. Top with a spoonful of kale and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.