These smokey August days have got me thinking about the end of summer, and nothing symbolises the end of summer more than a steaming bowl of hearty soup. Lentil soup, for me, is the silver lining to the end of the long days and warm weather and as the days get shorter the compromise of warming lentil soup makes the transition into autumn that much easier. This easy curry lentil soup is my go-to soup, and really can be adapted for any season. For a summer soup, use up your zucchini, kale and carrots and come winter think about substituting the zucchini for butternut squash.
“Lentils are not only a good sources of iron, protein and B-vitamins, they are also very cost efficient. Per gram of protein lentils cost only 1.6 cents per gram, compared to meat at 4.5 cents per gram”
Lentils and other members of the legume family are one of the best sources of iron on a plant-based diet. One cup of cooked lentils can have up to 6mg of iron; most adult women require up to 18mg of iron per day, while adult men require 8mg. The type of iron coming from plant sources (legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, grains) is called non-haem iron and is not as well absorbed by the body as iron coming from animal sources (haem iron). Vitamin C helps to absorb the iron from non-haem sources more efficiently, so adding some fresh lemon juice to a lentil soup (heat degrades Vitamin C) is a great way to ensure maximum iron absorption is happening.
This lentil soup recipe is so versatile, I’ve added many different vegetables to it over the years. Try it with chopped green beans added just a few minutes before it’s finished cooking, or mushrooms added at the same time as the zucchini. One of my secret strategies to making an awesome lentil soup is to remove 1 cup of soup once everything is finished cooking, and quickly pulse this in a blender or food processor before adding it back to the rest of the soup. This adds amazing texture and thickens up the soup to just the perfect consistency. If you have a hand stick blender this would work too, just be careful to not over blend, we still want some texture.
If you have checked out some of my other recipes you probably know I’m a big fan of lentil soups. Some of my other favourites include Delicious Curried Squash and Lentil Soup, Mixed Lentil and Bean Winter Warming Soup and Vegetarian Greek Lentil Soup with Lemon and Feta. Red lentils tend to be my go-to for soups because they break apart nicely, creating a thicker soup consistency. They are great if you are attempting to introduce lentils into skeptical family members diets.
Easy Curry Lentil Soup with Kale
A simple weeknight favourite this easy lentil soup is a great source of plant-based protein and iron. This recipe freezes well and makes convenient lunches for those busy work weeks. Try it blended and no one will even know there are lentils in there.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala* ground
- 1 tsp turmeric ground
- 1 tsp cumin ground
- 4 carrots diced
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
- 5 cups vegetable stock** organic
- 1 1/2 cup red lentils dry
- 1 medium zucchini chopped (~2 cups)
- 2 cups kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp chili flakes optional
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
- 1 lemon
- plain yogurt optional
- cilantro or parsley chopped
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add onions sauteing until translucent, usually around 3-5 minutes. Add carrot and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until tender.
Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric and cumin and saute until fragrant, usually around 30 seconds.
Next add the canned tomatoes, stock, and red lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 8 minutes, then add the chopped zucchini. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until lentils are tender and have broken apart and the zucchini is cooked.
Add kale and turn off the heat. The kale does not have to cook, just wilt. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as necessary and add chilli if using. Remove from heat.
To serve squeeze lemon juice over individual servings of soup, and top with a dollop of plain yogurt, and chopped cilantro or parsley.
*Garam masala can be found in the spice section of some grocery stores, or in Indian specialty stores and is a combination of spices which may include cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay, black pepper, star anise, dried chilies, coriander and cumin. If you cannot find it, curry powder can be substituted.
**Homemade stock is best, otherwise look for a good quality one with no added MSG.
Make it vegan: Omit plain yogurt.
Add more protein: Add a drained can of chickpeas along with the kale.
Boost the vegetables: Add 2 cups of chopped mushrooms 5 minutes before adding the kale
Nutrition Information for Easy Curry Lentil Soup with Kale
Amount per serving, served with lemon juice only
Total Fat: 4.5g
Saturated Fat: 0.8g
Vitamin C: 45mg