Soup for you

click to enlarge Photo by Allyson Kramer, from Manifest Vegan
Photo by Allyson Kramer, from Manifest Vegan

After six weeks of sanctioned (or even enforced) decadence, your body might appreciate a break from the party — more nutrients, less butterfat. Or maybe you've even resolved to lose some weight in 2013, or just to bring lunch from home to save some cash. Whatever your motivation, this easy soup will meet your needs.

I stumbled on the recipe last fall while looking for something different to do with the kale that was flooding our refrigerator, and I've made it several times since then. It's one of those dishes where very simple (and incidentally, low-calorie) ingredients somehow come together to taste luxurious — or at any rate, not boring and not self-denying. It's sharp and lemony, and even though the broth is water-based, there's plenty of texture from the potatoes and ribbons of kale. (You don't really need a side of crusty bread, but it wouldn't go amiss.)

My only modifications: up the kale to seven big leaves instead of five, and use speckly tiny green Puy lentils instead of plain brown ones. I like the way they look and the way they retain some tooth in the soup, but if you like a softer bite (or don't feel like going to Whole Foods), brown ones work fine too.

Allyson Kramer's Lentil, Kale and Potato Soup (slightly adapted)


  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 7 leaves fresh kale, chopped into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups dried lentils du Puy or brown lentils, well rinsed
  • 14 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste (don't be shy with the salt; that's a lot of water and vegetables to season)

Put potatoes, garlic, kale, lemon juice, lentils, water and 4 teaspoons of salt in a 4-quart or larger pot, and bring to a boil.

While you're waiting for the boil, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, lemon zest, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, and coriander. Sauté until onions are translucent (five or six minutes should be sufficient), then add onion mixture to soup pot.

Bring to a boil again, then lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper before serving.

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