Lentil soup with kale. Easy and slow-cooker or crock-pot friendly. Do we really need to say anything else?
Hugh Acheson | The Chef and the Slow Cooker | Clarkson Potter, 2017
This lentil kale soup is a slow cooker superhero. It’s nutritious, satiating, incredibly comforting, and, best of all, you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. No need to thank us–just remember us when you’re saying grace and put in a good word for us.–Angie Zoobkoff
Why Our Testers Loved This
Our testers love that this slow cooker soup is not only healthy and nutritious but is also incredibly comforting. It’s a winter staple for many of them.
Notes on Ingredients
- Green lentils–Green lentils are the best choice for this recipe as they hold their shape well. Brown lentils can also be used, but avoid red lentils as they will become too mushy.
- Butter or olive oil–If making this soup vegan-friendly, use olive oil.
- Kale–You can substitute spinach if you prefer. If using kale, take care to cut the pieces no larger than 1/2 inch (12 mm). Large pieces will be unwieldy.
How to Make This Recipe
- Warm the stock. Pour the stock into the slow cooker and let it warm while you are prepping your vegetables.
- Sauté the vegetables. Cook the shallot, carrot, and celery in olive oil just until they begin to soften. Stir in the thyme, paprika, and coriander, and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
- Add the lentils and cook the soup. Stir in the lentils, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high until the lentils are tender, about 3 hours.
- Blitz the soup. Remove the thyme sprigs. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup partially.
- Sauté the kale. Cook the kale with a little oil or butter in a skillet until it wilts. Stir into the soup.
- Finish the soup. Add the lemon zest, sherry vinegar, parsley, and sour cream if using. Season the soup to taste. Serve.
Lentil Kale Soup FAQs
Do I need to soak my lentils?
No, it’s not necessary to soak your lentils before making this soup.
Can I make this without a slow cooker?
Definitely. Sauté the vegetables in a Dutch oven in step 2, then add the remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Blitz the soup directly in the Dutch oven, and then proceed with the recipe as written.
Can you freeze lentil soup?
Yes. Lentil soup freezes well. Wait until it is completely cool, then portion it into airtight containers and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
What should I serve with the soup?
A warm loaf of multigrain bread, or a batch of sourdough rolls would be great alongside this healthy soup.
- Rinse your lentils before using them and sift through to make sure there are no bits of debris or small pebbles.
- If your soup is too thick, thin it with additional broth or water.
- To make the soup vegan or dairy-free, use olive oil instead of butter and skip the sour cream.
More great lentil soup recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Lentil Soup with Kale
- Slow cooker with a minimum 4-quart (3.8 liter) capacity
- 2 quarts store-bought or homemade vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 large carrot, finely diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds toasted and ground
- 1 pound green lentils
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
- 4 cups stemmed curly leaf kale chopped into about 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- Sour cream (optional) for serving
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for serving
- In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker set on high, pour in the vegetable stock, cover, and heat until warm, about 15 minutes.
- In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, warm the olive oil until it begins to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the carrot and celery and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes longer. Add the thyme, paprika, and coriander, stir well, and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
- Rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve under cold running water. Add them to the slow cooker. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt or to taste, cover with the slow cooker lid, and cook on the high setting until the lentils are tender and the flavors have melded, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Remove the thyme sprigs. Use an immersion blender to quickly and partially blitz the soup a bit to make it a little smoother and bring it together. (Alternatively, using a ladle to transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender, let it cool slightly, and purée it. Then return the purée to the slow cooker.)
- In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When the butter bubbles and froths, add the kale and cook, stirring until it has wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and add the kale to the soup.
- Stir in the lemon zest and sherry vinegar and season to taste with salt. To serve, garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of parsley.
- Storage–This lentil and kale soup can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 6 months. Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Dietary–This soup is suitable for dairy-free and vegan diets if made using olive oil, and no sour cream. It is also gluten-free.
- Thinning–If your soup is too thick, thin it with water or additional vegetable stock.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
We LOVED this lentil and kale soup! It was easy to make, the ingredients weren’t too unusual or difficult to find, and the finished product was very good. In fact, much better than we expected.
I pretty much followed the recipe as written with minor change—I didn’t use butter or cream to keep the dish vegan-friendly. I used store-bought vegetable broth.
The addition of the lemon zest and then sprinkling with the parsley reminded me of Italian gremolata. I think people might be tempted to leave it out but don’t. It makes the dish.
Also, because there seem to be a number of recipes using sherry vinegar lately, I sprung for the good stuff and WOW. This may be my new favorite ingredient. Certainly worth the extra bucks. I used more of the vinegar than is suggested in the recipe and it was great.
Personally, I’d add half again as much kale and vegetables to balance the lentils. My shallots cooked down in a minute—half the time the recipe said otherwise timing was fine. My vegetable stock was salted so I didn’t add any salt.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this kale lentil soup. It has fairly basic ingredients. I decided to make it because I wanted something that wouldn’t heat up the house on a hot day. I wasn’t expecting much and yet all of these ingredients came together into a flavorful soup that I will surely be making often this winter.
We like kale in some but not all applications. It was really good after having been cooked in the butter and seasoned with salt and lemon zest and sherry vinegar and I think this may be what elevated the lentil soup. I really looked forward to eating the leftovers.
I love lentils and I love this soup. It’s thick and hearty and would be perfect for a chilly winter evening. Prepping everything took me about 20 minutes.
My slow cooker has a saute function so warming the broth took only 5 minutes to get it hot. The sherry vinegar and lemon zest added a light tang to the soup and the sour cream added a much needed creaminess.
My soup was quite thick but we liked it like that. I suppose it could be thinned with some additional broth or water according to taste. For serving we added an additional grinding of fresh black pepper for a little kick.
It was good enough one of my tasters went back for seconds and thirds. We got 6 generous servings but it could have been stretched to 8. Definitely worth doing again when the cold weather hits.
This soup probably wouldn’t pass muster at a fancy dinner party as it looks rather brown. However, its appearance belies an easy, tasty, and healthy recipe that I will be making regularly through fall and well into winter.
The lentil soup with kale was thick with a lovely smoky flavour from the paprika. I could taste a subtle hint of lemon zest and sherry vinegar and the flavours overall melded into a really delicious, satisfying lunch dish. It uses cupboard ingredients and the actual hands on-time was only around 15 minutes.
I didn’t serve it with sour cream as I didn’t think it needed any enhancing, but I’m sure that would be a nice addition. The most tedious part was peeling the small shallots I had in stock. I served it in smallish bowls as its quite thick and filling and, at this portion size, it would serve 10 people or 8 more generously.
I did not have a slow cooker and so cooked this in a normal pan without a lid. I cooked the shallots for 2 minutes, before adding the carrot and celery for 2 more minutes. I cooked the soup for just 30 minutes at a simmering boil. By then the lentils and carrots were both soft. I blitzed the soup using a stick blender. I added 4 cups of wilted kale and diluted the soup a little.
The color of the soup was not overly attractive as it was brown from the green lentils, orange from the carrots, and green from the kale. The overall color was a bit muddy. The soup tasted good and I would make it again.
My husband and I enjoyed this earthy lentil soup on a rainy day. We ate it with a side of sourdough bread and cheese. I found it to be a straightforward pantry soup with easy substitutions in case you don’t have all the exact ingredients.
In my case, my local grocer did not carry green lentils so I used brown. I also was unable to purchase coriander seed so I used equal parts cumin, fennel seed, and caraway seed and crushed those up instead. I also used chicken broth instead of veggie broth.
I quickened the cooking process by using the sauté feature on my 8-cup instant pot and switched that over to slow cook. It took me about 40 minutes to chop the veggies, ready the spices, and sauté before I turned on the crock-pot button. I cooked it on high for 3 hours, which was right.
The brown lentils did not break down at all in the soup. My husband and I both had a bowl and I have 2 1/2 quarts leftover in the freezer for another rainy day.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This lentil soup with kale is a pretty easy soup to make and is incredibly flavorful. I think the amount of time it takes in the slow cooker really benefits the flavor profile.
My broth wasn’t even remotely warm after 15 minutes in the slow cooker but I don’t feel like that mattered in the end. We had some nice kale at the farmers market. It is important to emphasize the cut on the kale, otherwise, I think the pieces would be hard to eat if they were any larger.