There are times when I feel totally inspired to cook. I love the process, nearly alchemical, of mixing food on fire, adding herbs and spices, and experimenting with the order the ingredients are being combined. There is something intuitive and deeply rewarding to joyfully create a dish.
I like both kale and lentils, but have not eaten them in a while. The lovely autumn is the season that inspires me to team them up into a nourishing soup.
Kale is a treasure of vitamins such as pro-vitamin A, C, B6, and K1, minerals, such as calcium and potassium, as well as fiber, and a strong antioxidant called sulforaphane (similarly as other vegetables from the Brassica family such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts or spinach). “It is believed that sulforaphane triggers the liver to produce detoxification enzymes called phase II enzymes, which help neutralize cancer-causing substances.” Kale also contains folic acid and iron.
It is worth remembering that kale contains oxalates, so this is why we steam/cook the kale (to reduce the oxalates content). In addition, kale would need to be eaten with calcium-based protein, i.e. dairy.
This soup with kale and lentils is not only very easy to make, but also super delicious and nutritious.
Enjoy it too!
- 1.5 - 2 cups lentils
- 500g fresh tomatoes or (2 cans)
- 4-5 potatoes (use parsnip or other root vegetables if you don't like potatoes)
- 2 carrots
- 1-2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 100g (3-4 large handfuls of) kale cut into strips
- 2-3 tablespoons clarified butter / butter / coconut oil (or oil of choice)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 liters of broth
- 150g feta cheese
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or leaves
- 1 - 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 0.5 teaspoon cardamon (optionally)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of tarragon (optionally; I love it)
- 1 - 2 teaspoon of lovage (optionally, I love it!)
- 1 teaspoon of juniper berries (optionally, I love them)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- finely chopped parsley or coriander to serve (optionally)
- Rinse lentils well and cook until tender with bay leaves. It may take 15-30min depending of the type of lentils. Drain and set aside.
- While lentils are being cooked, peel carrots and potatoes and chop them into small pieces. Cook them for 15min in a broth. You can use more root vegetables if you like.
- Wash kale. Remove the stems, if you like, and cut the leaves into small stripes.
- In a pot with a thick bottom, melt ghee/butter (or warm the oil), add the coriander seeds, diced onion, garlic and other herbs, except for cummin. When they get soft, add kale. Reduce the flame and simmer until kale becomes soft. You may add a few spoons of water if needed.
- Add lemon juice and peeled and chopped tomatoes to the kale pot. Simmer for a while and then add the cumin and pour hot broth with vegetables.
- Simmer all for 5-15min. (The length of cooking depends on the age of kale; the young kale cooks faster.) Please take care not to overcook as the kale should remain crunchy.
- When the kale and tomatoes are cooked, add the lentils (and more hot water if needed), and cook for the additional minute or two.
- Season with salt and serve to the bowls.
- Add cubes of Feta cheese (or other cheese, e.g. grated cheddar) and season with parsley.