Vegetable Lentil Soup

by lauren atkinson

Blame it on my trip back to metro Detroit for Christmas or the chilly Bay Area weather, I haven't been able to shake the craving I've had for comfort food: heavy creams, hearty potatoes, and warm soup. As I'm attempting to shift back into clean-eating mode in order to shed the winter-weight I gained from Christmas cookies and hot toddys, I've been making a lot of soup recently. I've also been trying to slip in extra greens into everything I cook, to add a little more nutrition in order to keep myself feeling full and energetic.

This soup is hearty and warm, but still quite healthful. Think, a minestrone without pasta and lentils instead. A subtle tomato base with a kick of cumin and dill: kind of a combination of a classic lentil soup with a tomato base. 



-5 garlic gloves, minced
-1 cup chopped red onion
-1 tbsp olive oil
-3/4 red lentils, rinsed & drained
-3 1/2 cups kale salad (bought from Whole Foods- or: 3 cups kale, chopped with stems removed and 1/4 cup shredded carrot and 1/4 cup shredded red cabbage)
-1 sweet potato, skinned and cubed
-16oz crushed tomatoes
-1/2 tbsp dill
-2 tbsp cumin
-1/2 tbsp thyme
-4 cups water
-salt to taste


In a large pot, heat olive oil on the bottom of the pot, adding garlic and onion as the oil begins to warm on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add kale salad and sweet potato. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes on medium. 

After 5-7 minutes, the sweet potato should yield to soft pressure and kale will have wilted a bit. At this point, reduce heat back to low and add the rinsed lentils. (It is important to reduce the heat otherwise the lentils will start to burn as soon as hitting the pan since they are wet) Stir ingredients in the pan for about 3 minutes. At this point your ingredients will be well combined and lentils will have started to change color. Add in spices and cook for a few minutes until your kitchen is becoming fragrant and all of your ingredients are well coated in the spices.

Once well-combined, pour in water and crushed tomatoes and return temperature to medium heat. Bring the soup to a boil. Add salt to taste. The soup is ready to serve once hot and lentils cooked until soft. 



(Note: you can change the consistency from soup to stew depending on how much water you add and how long you boil. For a thicker, more stew-like consistency add 1/2 cup less water or more. For an even more soupier broth, add 1 cup or more of water)