(Build your immune system and warm your belly at the same time)
Very Green Lentil Soup
Originally from "Eating Well Magazine" October 2011
By Anna Thomas (famous vegetarian chef and author) "Love Soups"

Modified  with some extra greens and spices by Cheryl

Everyone in my family loved this soup!  Even my 17 year old son who is not too crazy about some of the green concoctions I come up with.  This is packed full of nutrition to build your immune system for the winter ahead.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 large leek
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 cup French green (Le Puy) or brown lentils
  • 4 cups of water for cooking the lentils 
  • 8 large green chard leaves (stem removed for later)  
  • 1 cup fresh chopped parsley 
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
  • 8 cups gently packed spinach (about 10 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
  • 1 bunch of lacinato (palm) Kale (the darkest, bluest kale)  remove stems 
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade (I use Pacific Foods Organic Vegetable Broth)  use more if you need more liquid 
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower  
  • 1 tsp cumin ground 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes  
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • the Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon (not bottled)!
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice 
  • Crumbled feta cheese for garnish
          You may be tempted to omit all the peppers but DON'T!   Preparation
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and leek, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes.   
  2. Meanwhile, rinse lentils and pick out any small stones; combine the lentils with the remaining 4 cups water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard and kale; discard the ribs from the kale.  Chop the greens and slice the chard ribs (keep in separate piles). Cut potatoes into 1/2 -inch dice. Chop spinach; set aside.
  3. When the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the chard ribs, potato, scallions, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chard leaves, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cumin and coriander. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the reserved spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeño and pepper; return to a simmer, cover and cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or pepper, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.

Health Benefits of Kale
Some of us think of Kale as the leafy green they use in the deli to decorate all the salads and take home dishes.  Well, it is probably one of the most nutritious foods on the planet!  Kale is not only one of the more beautiful cruciferous vegetables, but is often called the #1 cancer fighter in the plant kingdom. Here are a few really good  reasons to eat kale, and eat it often.  I will be putting up numerous recipes that include Kale so if you do not appreciate eating it raw in your salad, no worry, we will 'sneak it in' some great recipes.  

Diet and Digestion 

One cup of kale has only 36 calories and zero grams of fat, which makes it a great diet aid. Furthermore, one cup contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating.


Kale is a superstar in the arena of carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress which is the main culprit in all disease. The key flavonoids kaempferol and quercitin (not to dismiss the 45 other distinctive flavonoids in kale) have also been shown to specifically fight against the formation of cancerous cells.   Anti-Inflammatory   

One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body's inflammatory process. A mega-dose of vitamin K further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma.  Inflammation is a bio- marker Doctors can now use to predict risk of degenerative disease.  Reducing inflammation is critical to long term good health.  


Not only do kale's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities work together to prevent and even combat cancer, a healthy diet of kale also provides glucosinolates, which have been shown to prevent colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian cancers, as well as gastric cancer. Cardiovascular Support  

The high fiber content of kale lowers our cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat.  


The isothiocyanates (ITC) from glucosinolates found in kale aid in both phases I and II of the body's detoxification process. The high sulfur content of kale has further been shown essential for phase II of detoxification. Vitamin K  

Kale provides a whopping dose of vitamin K (providing 1327% of the RDA in one cup), which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones. Vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.   Vitamin A  

With over 192% of the RDA of vitamin A, one cup of kale is an effective antioxidant, boosts immunity, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential to our reproductive organs. Vitamin C  

Vitamin C, which one cup of kale heartily provides (over 88% of our RDA), is not only a powerful antioxidant, but also lowers blood pressure, ensures a healthy immune system, and fights against age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. EAT YOUR KALE!

Lentil Soup with Yam and Kale

Adapted from (Cocao and Coriander Nico’s Tiny Kitchen) where you will find many wonderful earthy/hearty recipes especially for the taste buds of the Northwest with a Mediterranean touch.

I absolutely LOVE Yams, especially in the fall.  They satisfy my sweet tooth.  Fortunately they are also filled with awesome nutrition so I try to use them in as many ways as I can.  If you are a fan of adding a touch of sweetness to your dishes you will like this soup.
Serves 6-8
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 2 onions, 1/4" dice
- 2 large yams
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1  28 oz can diced tomatoes (or crushed)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp basil
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch cayenne
- 3-4 sprigs thyme, tied together in kitchen twine so that they can be removed easily at the end of cooking
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 cups green lentils
- 1 can cannelli or white beans (rinsed)
- 1 bunch kale, without stems, torn into bite sized pieces

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, sauté garlic and celery until soft, add onion and continue to sauté until translucent, add yam and continue to sauté until soft. Add tomatoes, paprika, turmeric, basil, cinnamon, cayenne and thyme. Combine and, after several minutes, add stock. Combine and, after several minutes, add lentils and cooked cannelli or white beans. Combine and, after several minutes, add kale. Bring to a boil, down to a simmer until lentils are tender but still slightly crisp, approximately 30-40 minutes. Add more liquid as needed.  Remove thyme, adjust seasoning and serve.

Try this on a cold evening!
1 Tablespoon extra virgin organic olive oil
2 large leeks finely sliced
2 large cloves of garlic minced
3 large stalks of celery
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (pepper flakes are not quite as hot as cayenne)
3 medium carrots cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups diced daikon radish (a mild white root found in many Asian dishes)
1 large yam cubed
4 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth (or water)
12 Italian parsley sprigs
8 fresh thyme sprigs
10 oz fresh or organic frozen shelled peas
3 cups lightly packed kale, chopped

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium high heat.  Throw in leeks and garlic and sauté for around 5 minutes, or until the leeks have loosened and are soft.
2.  Add cayenne or flakes and simmer for 4 minutes
3.  Add carrots, potato, daikon and sauté for a few minutes.  Then add broth and 2 cups of water.  Liquid should just barely cover your vegetables if you like a thicker heartier soup.  Tie together the parsley springs and thyme with kitchen twine and add to the soup.  If you would rather add the herbs minced loosely to the soup, go ahead, just reduce the amount.  Use 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and 2 tsp. fresh thyme.
4.  Season with salt and pepper if needed and cover to bring to a boil.  Once done reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
5.  Stir in peas and kale and simmer for another 10 minutes.
6. Remove herb bundle and discard.  Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle tarragon on top.

This soup freezes nicely to pull out on a cold night when you need to warm your belly.

This recipe serves 8.