Lentil and Kale Soup

I cook so much lentil soup that I am never in danger of using an old lentil. However, if you’re new to this be sure to buy lentils at a store that sells lots of them: Old lentils tend to get mushy when cooked, and they just don’t look or taste as good.

Lentil and Kale Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: About 14 to 16 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1½ cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 10 cups low-salt chicken stock
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta or grated Parmesan cheese, or more, to taste
  1. Place a heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and cook, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, kale, and stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, about 1½ hours.
  3. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate at least overnight, and up to two days.
  4. Place in a pot, add the crushed red-pepper flakes, basil, and cilantro and gently reheat. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with feta or Parmesan.