I never heard of either kale or lentils when I was growing up. Recently, I’ve started enjoying both. Kale is being promoted as one of our most powerful vegetables. It is low in calories, but rich in vitamins C and K, fiber, and calcium. Lentils are very high in protein and they contain fiber, folate, vitamins and minerals. They come in a range of colors including yellow, red, green, brown and black. Lentils are easy for me, because they cook much faster than other dry beans.
When choosing kale at the grocery store, look for green leaves that are moist and crisp. If the leaves are yellow or brown, the kale is not fresh. Kale develops a stronger flavor the longer it is stored, so plan to use it within a day or two of purchase. Kale can be wrapped in a damp paper towel and stored in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator. You can also store it in the fridge in a tall glass with some water (stems pointing down) like a flower bouquet to keep it fresh for a couple of days.
Our featured recipe this month includes both kale and lentils. It’s a quick and easy soup that is made using only one pan. You can have it on the table in less than 45 min. I serve it with bread, fruit and milk or cheese.
If you can’t find yellow or brown lentils other colors could be substituted. If kale is not available, or is too expensive you could use other greens in this soup such as collard greens or spinach.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 2 teaspoons garlic, peeled and minced (3-4 cloves), or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup dry yellow or brown lentils
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) no sodium added diced tomatoes or 2 chopped tomatoes
- 1 bunch kale (about 7 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook 5 minutes.
- Add water to veggies in pot. Heat to boiling.
- Rinse lentils in colander with water. Add lentils to pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not drain.
- Add chicken broth, dried basil or Italian seasoning, and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse kale leaves, cut out the main stems and discard. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces.
- Stir kale, salt, and pepper into lentil mixture. Return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Skip soaking the lentils first for this recipe. It is not needed.
- Use kitchen scissors instead of a knife to cut the kale.
- Make kale chips from extra leaves. Drizzle a little oil on clean, dry leaves. Spread leaves on a cookie sheet. Bake 12-20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Leaves should be thin and crackly but not brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.