Lentil and Kale Soup – Perfect for throwing together after work & super clean!

pretty sure this cured my jet lag

{ lentil and kale soup // champagne at shannon's }

TL;DR – Recipe here

I’ve made a commitment to start cooking more in the New Year. Embarrassingly enough, I have relied on carryout more times than not in 2015. I actually prefer cooking, and to be honest, lately I just have not been feeling well after restaurants.

Maybe it is the jetlag? Maybe after eating out for three weeks straight on holiday, I crave something made at home? Maybe it is whatever unknown additions – a few extra slabs of butter or a hearty portion of salt? WHO KNOWS.

That being said, this lentil and kale soup has been my go-to since landing. I have had zero appetite lately and the only thing my body craves is soup.  I’ve been extremely bloated since landing {damn that jetlag}, so lentils are perfect to help me combat that pesky extra fluff. I actually made this a few times prior to going on holiday as I cleaned things up hard. It was actually my favourite meal of them all and it is just too easy. While it was cooking, I’d do some of my exercises, read, or work on the blog.

I am a huge fan of lentils. They are a savory little legume with a hardcore nutritious punch.

In fact, when I am not in the mood for meat, lentils always hits the spot for me. Since they are hearty, and slightly earthy / nutty, they are my favourite meat-sub! I love using them in chilis or making a bolognese out of them. The possibilities are truly endless. Not to mention, they are incredibly filling – a cup of cooked lentils racks up to only 230 calories – so it helps keeps portions in check!

Other benefits of lentils include:

Incredibly rich with fiber – both soluble & insoluble.

Soluble fiber is great for regulating cholesterol levels. Pretty much, it attracts water and will dissolve & thicken and turn into a gel which slows digestion, trap bile (& cholesterol), and rid of it from your system. Since it slows down digestion, it also slows down carbohydrate absorption, therefore regulating blood sugar (re: no sugar spikes/crashes from carbs!) & making you feel full faster.

Insoluble fiber, rather than dissolving in water will absorb water as it passes through your body, and to simply put it, keeps everything regular… if you will. Fiber is great to help fight bloat in a healthy way. { source }

Great source of protein.

Protein has a pretty rad relationship with fiber. Pretty much, the two of them work well in synergy to help lead to weight loss. Not only will they make you feel full faster, but lentils are a slow burning protein. This means as it digests, the proteins are released slowly, rather than quickly (like whey, which is why it is so great for pre/post workout). This also helps regulate the nutrients being sent through your body, & great to have before bed because it works while you sleep! Protein is also key for weight loss, because it will ensure that whatever you lose is fat, rather than muscle.

Nutrients.

As mentioned above, lentils are chock full of nutrients including: Potassium, Iron, B Vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. According to this source, “Unlike other fruits and veggies, which can leach nutrients when cooked, the body actually absorbs the calcium, iron, and zinc from lentils more easily after the lentils are cooked.”

Heart Healthy.

Lentils are anti-flammatory (which is also awesome for me to fight the bloat). That, and the nutrients above are a recipe to a happy heart! Magnesium helps protect against free radicals & allows the body to relax, thus promoting the flow of blood, oxygen & nutrients through the body. The B vitamins are also essential for keeping your heart healthy, as well as the fiber.  { source }

…. Not to mention, they are extremely inexpensive.

{ TIP: } Buy your lentils in bulk! You can control how much you want, and not pay any extra for packaging!

 

Another huge plus to this lentil and kale soup is that it is extremely versatile! Seriously. If you are vegetarian, then omit the ground turkey. If you want more meat, add shredded chicken. I used a variety of greens {Organic Girl’s Super Greens are my absolute favourite} but you can easily do straight spinach, kale, arugula – any deep, leafy green will work. In the pictures, I used straight up kale. Mix the greens in right after cooking & serve when they start to wilt!

{ lentil and kale soup // champagne at shannon's }
{ TIP: }  Go heavy with the greens! They will shrink as they wilt – the more the better.

The prep and sauteeing will literally take 10 minutes, then you just let everything simmer for about 30 minutes. In less than an hour, with only 10 minutes of effort, you have a hearty soup. I use chicken broth, but you can easily use beef if you want a meatier flavour, or vegetable to keep things vegetarian. As well as vegetables to add? Go crazy! I used the usual suspects: a mirepoix of celery, onions, and carrots, sauteed briefly with olive oil.

To add even extra flavour, I folded in minced shallots & garlic into the ground turkey – shown below { sorry for the raw meat photo }

{ lentil and kale soup // champagne at shannon's }

{ TIP: } To make things even easier, rather than dicing the vegetables / garlic, I take a page out of my own handbook & dice them in my food processor for literally 5 seconds.

I also added one more secret ingredient – sprouted quinoa! I always have cooked quinoa on hand since it is so versatile, so I put it in the bowl before adding the soup on top. This trendy little seed is full of protein, B-Vitamins, & anti-oxidants. It also has anti-flammatory properties which are so necessary right now. { Read more on the health benefits of quinoa HERE. } PS – the Sprouted part is totally optional, but I like the added nutrition it provides, but you are totally fine with regular quinoa, of any colour!

Finally, my last secret tip is to add lemon or unfiltered apple cider vinegar to the soup before serving, when you add the greens! Any acid would work, but those two are my favourites. It will add a nice level of brightness that will give the soup an elevated.

{ lentil and kale soup // champagne at shannon's } after liquid is added champagne at shannon's

Before & After the liquid is added.

Per usu, I do not have quantities listed, but the ratio. I find a lot of this is more subjective & you’ll be fine if you go off the ratio. Plus, I’m a flavour whore so I do way more than a normal human being. 🙂
That said, when I start talking about baking & desserts, those will have full quantities.

Fair warning – this soup will serve for four, but that is on purpose because trust me, you will want this for leftovers the next day at work.

{ lentil and kale soup // champagne at shannon's }

Lentil and Kale Soup with Ground Turkey

Ingredients :

– Ground Turkey { I used 1/2 lb }
– Minced Garlic
– Minced Shallot
– Olive Oil
– Diced Onion
– Diced Celery
– Diced Carrot
– Lentils
Salt
– Pepper
– Spices { I used chili powder, tumeric, & chili flakes }
– Chicken Broth
– Water
– Bay Leaf
– Acid of your choice, food grade, of course 😉 { I like lemon or ACV : if you use lemon, use the juice from 1 lemon & if you use a vinegar, use 1 tbsp  }
– Cooked Quinoa { you can also cook the quinoa when the soup is simmering }

Optional :

– Crusty Bread, perhaps rubbed with a garlic clove & topped with chili flakes – YUM!

 

:: In ratio ::
1 turkey : 2 vegetables : 1 lentils : 3 liquid : spices according to taste

Recipe :

  1. Toss onion & garlic in a food processor until finely minced, or do it by hand. Season turkey with salt and pepper & fold in the garlic / shallot into the turkey.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat.  When hot, add ground turkey & cook while breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until starting to brown, ~5 minutes. Add onion & cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, ~5 minutes. Add carrots & celery and continue to cook and stir until the carrots turn bright orange, ~2 minutes.
    OPTIONAL: You can drain the turkey if you want to cut the extra fat. I eat a high-fat diet, plus, turkey is a lean protein so it won’t be too greasy so I keep it!
  3. Stir in lentils & add spices, including one bay leaf. Add broth / water to top. Cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, & holding their shape – adding water as necessary as the lentils cook,  ~25-35 minutes.
    ›› NOTE: You can use broth, water, or both. I do a ratio of 2 : 1 broth and water. You can easily do more water than broth, all broth, or all water. I eyeball it, but it will be about four cups of liquid. Your choice on the consistency. If you want it more hearty & stew like, use less liquid. If you want it more soup like, continue to add liquid as the lentils cook.
  4. If you are cooking quinoa while the lentils simmer, add 1 cup of quinoa to 1-1/2 cups of boiling water. Add a sprinkle of salt, bring to a simmer & cook until the water is absorbed ~12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork & cover for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside. This will make plenty for the week. One cup of dry quinoa makes about 32094820498 cups of cooked quinoa, in case you didn’t know.
  5.  Add greens & acid, stir until greens wilt.
    ›› NOTE: Remember, the greens will shrink a LOT as they wilt, so go very generous on the greens. I also like to add more chili flakes with the greens & acid.
  6. In a bowl, add a scoop of quinoa, & spoon the lentil soup on top – serve with a lemon wedge, top with greens or herbs, bread, & enjoy! Don’t forget to add whatever it is left in a storage container so you can grab it and go the next day! I use pre-portioned  containers for this!

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essellesse is a lazy luxury lifestyle platform by Shannon Silver focusing on everything that’s important to living your best life – great food, wine, travel, vintage style, fitness and skincare. essellesse evokes a style of lazy luxury that’s fun, intimate, and easy breezy.

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