A colorful, hearty and warming soup that will make you feel better instantly! Full of healthy vegetables, beans and cheese this soup is a sure winner. Jalapeno adds a nice touch of heat.
I know what you are thinking “Oh no, another kale soup!” And I get it, with kale being so healthy and good for you, there are tons of recipes out there: kale salads, kale chips, sauteed kale, kale smoothies. For some reason, I love kale with its chewy texture and rather strong taste ( I know, it’s weird). This hearty soup recipe is perfect for a wintry day when all you want to do is cozy up by the fire.
This soup is very versatile and forgiving, it changes based on what vegetables are in my fridge. I started making it a few years ago using just kale, carrots, potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Then I would add sweet potatoes or butternut squash, zucchini and lentils or black eyed peas as an additional source of protein.
Adding Parmesan rind to the simmering broth gives a nice depth to the flavor but it is optional. Parmesan rinds can be purchased at Whole Foods for about $3/box (you may have to ask about them at the Dairy Department) or you can make a habit of freezing the rind that’s left from the cheese for your pasta dishes. In general, I highly recommend grating the cheese by yourself instead of buying the grated ones. This will ensure the cheese is very fresh and has no preservatives or anti-caking agents.
Most recently, I was craving a bit of heat in my soup and jalapeno pepper found its way into the recipe. It is a game changer! I put only 3-4 slices since crazy spicy is not my thing yet. Feel free to add as much or little as you like.
Serve it with a crusty bread and some freshly grated Parmesan or goat cheese.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch of kale (any kind), tough stems removed, leaves chopped
- 8 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken, you can also use 4 cups of broth and 4 cups of water)
- 3-4 medium carrots, diced
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium/large sweet potato, peeled and cubed ( butternut squash can be used instead or in addition)
- 1/2 cup split/whole lentils/dried black eyed peas, rinsed and looked through
- 1 (15 oz) can of chopped tomatoes with juice
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 3-4 slices of jalapeno pepper (or more if you prefer), (optional)
- 2 pieces of Parmesan rinds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (add more if needed)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled goat cheese for serving (optional)
- Country bread (optional)
- In a large cast iron Dutch Oven, heat up the olive oil, then add chopped onion and after about 3 minutes the garlic. Let it cook for about 40 seconds, stirring and making sure the garlic doesn’t burn (burned garlic will be bitter).
- Add chopped kale and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring now and then.
- Add the broth or broth/water combo. Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, chop the remaining vegetables.
- Add Parmesan rinds, carrots and both kinds of potatoes. Simmer, covered for another 10 minutes.
- Add whole lentils or black eyed peas. If using split lentils wait a bit longer ( 10-15 minutes) since they cook much faster, about 15 minutes only. Stir, add salt and pepper and continue to simmer 15 minutes or so.
- Add tomatoes, zucchini, sliced jalapeno pepper and split lentils, if using.
- Cover and continue to simmer until beans and vegetables are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings.
- Before serving remove the Parmesan rinds.
- Decorate the soup bowls with freshly ground Parmesan or goat cheese.