What am I doing posting a lentil soup recipe on Thanksgiving Eve? Well, you can blame it on the kale.
I'm a newcomer to kale. I've had an irrational hatred of it since college, where Physical Plant dug up all the pretty flowers on campus and replaced them with ornamental kale. I thought they were ugly. And a vegetable, not a fair flower. Nothing about them looked fair or lovely to me at all. And nobody took care of them, so they looked even worse when they bolted. I've turned my nose up at kale for a long time even while knowing that kale is very nutritious. And then a friend served an Italian white bean soup with kale for dinner one night. I had to eat it or be extremely tactless. So I tried it. And I loved it. The soup was delicious and the kale was yummy, to say the least.
Ever since my friend forced me to eat kale, I've been a little obsessed with the stuff. I made a beef stew with harvest vegetables a few days ago and threw some kale in there. It was good, but not post-worthy. But this Red Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens and Lime at Rice of Life looked intriguing. So I made it today with a few changes and wow, is it ever good! I'm tempted to hide this soup in the back of the fridge and keep it all to myself. The tumeric gives the soup a pretty color and the lime juice really brightens the flavors. The original recipe calls for mustard greens, but any leafy green will work. I am partial to the kale, of course.
So this is the soup I will serve my friend. Take that, Italian white bean soup with kale.
2 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1 tbsp. tumeric
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. cumin
2/3 large bunch kale, washed, patted dry and chopped
juice of two limes, plus more to taste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
cooked rice for serving, if desired
Place the vegetable broth, water, lentils, tumeric and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are soft and start to dissolve, about 20 minutes. Add a little more water to thin if needed.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and mustard seed and cook until the onion is soft, about 15 minutes. Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Scrape the onion mixture into the soup. Add the kale to the soup and stir. Simmer 5 - 10 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and soft. Turn off the heat. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper. Adjust lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, if desired.