I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I LOVE soup. There’s no way to describe my deep and personal adoration for soup. I make pots of soup in the middle of summer, regardless of the weather. But, of course, the frequency of my soup consumption skyrockets as soon as fall comes around. Here in California, our fall has been slow in coming. It’s mid October, and today it was 83 degrees. However, this is a big change, and I can tell that fall is on its way.
The main reason why I love soup so much is that it is a one pot meal. You can combine protein, veggies, and whole grains all into one meal. I like to play around with different protein bases. Mostly, I use legumes and beans and play with the vegetables that I add in. Kale and other greens – think collards, dandelions, chard – are an amazing way to add nutrients, flavor and texture to your soups.
Truthfully, one of my favorite times to use greens in soups is when those greens have just started to wilt. Think about when you purchase that amazing looking bunch of chard at the market or store thinking that you’ll use it in a dish immediately. Fast forward, life has gotten in the way, and now you have slightly wilted 4-day-old greens. Do not despair! Greens, when stirred into soup, will wilt! So you might as well use those greens and not let them go to waste. Believe me, no one will notice.
I’m sure of you are thinking this, and I know it’s true. Yes – wilted greens do lose some vitamins when water evaporates from them, but the mineral content remains the same and they can still pack a nutritional punch! So, DON’T THROW OUT YOUR SLIGHTLY WILTED GREENS!
Lastly, I served my soup in hollowed out bread bowls. This is something that I would not do normally, but when locally baked sour dough bread bowls are on sale at your co-op for $.89 each, you have to go for it! And it was delicious.
Lentil and Kale Soup
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped celery
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp. cumin
2 c. lentils, rinsed and picked through
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
6 c. vegetable broth
6 c. kale, chopped (remove stems first)
salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. When hot, add onions and garlic. Stir and saute until just translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the carrots and celery. Saute for another 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften. Add the thyme and cumin, stirring for one minute to help develop flavor.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the soup is simmering. Add in the kale, a few handfuls at a time. Stir in and let the kale begin to wilt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and allow to simmer gently for at least 30 minutes. You can simmer it longer for a thicker soup.