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Lentil and kale soup

I love many mustard greens and other cruciferous vegetables, but have had a tricky time with kale. No matter how much we sautéed it, with lots of oil and garlic, it remained a bit too tough and a bit too bitter for me. The trick, I found, is to slowly cook it in a soup, where it becomes tender, but not mushy, and tastes more mellow.

lentil kale soup

Another aspect of this soup I enjoy is that the lentils have a slightly al dente texture that goes nicely with the kale. This is why I use the French green lentils, such as the lentilles du Puy, because these particular varieties tend to maintain their shape after a long cooking period. You could still use whole brown lentils, but you’d have to watch the pot carefully so that they don’t (mostly) dissolve.


  • 1 cup French green lentils, e.g., du Puy
  • 2 medium onions (1 pound)
  • 4 medium carrots (1/2 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice & cloves
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds removed, and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 pound kale, thick and tough stems removed, and chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • (optional) crumbled queso fresco


  1. Pick through and rinse the lentils. Drain them and set aside.
  2. Sauté the onions and carrots in a large pot with the olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. When the onions have become translucent, about 10 minutes, stir in the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, allspice, cloves and preserved lemon.
  4. When the spices have become fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, stir in the tomatoes, stock, water, kale and lentils.
  5. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils have become tender. Depending on how old (dry) the lentils are, this could be range from 20 minutes to an hour.
  6. Season with the pomegranate molasses, and serve with a crumbly cheese like queso fresco, if you wish.

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