Lentil, Kale & Quinoa Stew (Vegan)

Did you know that 2016 is the International Year of Pulses?

lentil-kale-soup-vegan

I wasn’t too familiar with the idea of “pulses” until recently, but the term encompasses chickpeas, lentils, dried peas, and beans– all things I’m very familiar with! This year, the United Nations is helping to raise awareness about this superfood because pulses are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and help with weight loss. They also contain twice the amount of protein as quinoa! (Which, by the way, had its moment in 2013 when the United Nations declared it the year of quinoa. Remember when everyone called it kwin-oh-a?)

Well, now it time for pulses to shine.

I’m thrilled to have teamed up with the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council this year to bring you more creative recipes using these cost-effective proteins. On average, one serving of lentils costs just 10 cents– compare that to one serving of beef at $1.49 and you have a very good reason to practice “Meatless Monday” each week!

easy-hearty-lentil-soup

I’m kicking off our week with this hearty vegan stew, featuring nutrient-rich vegetables along with lentils and quinoa for a hearty, protein-packed bowl. I was inspired to make this soup when a reader emailed me asking for a copy-cat recipe of Amy’s Quiona, Kale, & Lentil Soup. I’ve never tried the canned soup myself, but the ingredients looked easy enough, so I gave it a shot– and the results are beyond delicious.

What I especially love is how the texture of the wilted kale blends seamlessly into this stew. I assumed that I wouldn’t like the feeling of wilted fresh greens in any sort of soup, especially a tough one like kale, but boy was I wrong. It’s such a great way to sneak an extra serving of dark leafy greens into your day! I hope you enjoy it, too.

Lentil, Kale & Quinoa Stew (Vegan)
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup dry quinoa
5 cups water
26.5 oz box of chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped kale, tough stems removed

Directions:

Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and sauté another minute, just until fragrant. Add in the cumin, ginger, turmeric, salt, lentils, quinoa, water, and tomatoes and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and cover the pot to let everything simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.

lentil-soup-recipe

Once the lentils and vegetables are very tender, stir in the chopped kale and cook until it’s wilted, just a few minutes. Season with additional salt, if desired, (I added a 1/2 teaspoon myself) and serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days, and I think this would make a great packed lunch in a thermos for the week, too!

4.9 from 16 reviews
Lentil, Kale & Quinoa Stew (Vegan)
Author: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
A hearty (and affordable!) vegan stew that's perfect for a packed lunch or weeknight meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ½ cup dry quinoa
  • 5 cups water
  • 26.5 oz box of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped kale
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add in the minced garlic and sauté another minute, just until fragrant.
  3. Add in the cumin, ginger, turmeric, salt, lentils, quinoa, water, and tomatoes and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and cover the pot to let everything simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Once the lentils and vegetables are very tender, stir in the chopped kale and cook until it's wilted, just a few minutes. Season with additional salt, if desired, (I added a ½ teaspoon myself) and serve warm.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days, and I think this would make a great packed lunch in a thermos for the week, too!

Note: This recipe can be adapted to use any veggies and spices you like, but if you use anything other than red lentils, the cooking time and water amount will vary. Other types of lentils take much longer to cook, so be prepared for that when making substitutions!

For more information on the benefits of pulses and for even more recipes, visit PulsePledge.com and take the pledge to eat one serving of pulses each week.

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite “pulse” recipe? 

This post was created in partnership with the USA Dried Peas and Lentils Council, but all opinions are my own. I can’t wait to share more affordable and protein-rich recipe ideas with you this year! 

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

47 thoughts on “Lentil, Kale & Quinoa Stew (Vegan)

  1. Dee

    I was already planning to make soup today. This just vaulted to the top of the list. Sounds great, Megan.

    I’d never heard the term “pulses” before – got a new recipe and learned something new today – what a deal. 😉

    Reply
    1. Laura ~ RYG

      Can I pop over to your place to sample? Just kidding. But seriously, I’ve been thinking about suggesting my my nearest neighbors about getting on a meal plan, making a Humongous bowl of a stew such as this one and sharing with them all. Then they take a turn and you end up cooking once or twice a week instead of every day and you eat healthy. It never ceases to amaze me how healthy food can taste so delicious and still be good for you.

      Reply
  2. Claudia

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was sooo delicious! I didn’t have any kale so I used spinach instead, which worked well too. I’ll definitely make this again!

    Reply
  3. Andrea

    Thank you for another great recipe. I made this tonight using a mix of spinach, baby kale, and chard and also added a bit more water to make it more soup-like.

    Next time I might substitute amaranth for the quinoa to see how it turns out (I’m always struggling to find a use for amaranth!).

    Reply
  4. Lindsay

    I just made your paleo carrot cake and LOVED it! I’d really like to know the calories/nutrition of your recipes.

    Can I find that anywhere?

    Thanks!
    Lindsay

    Reply
  5. Gia

    This is perfect to warm things up with the recent 10′ Pittburgh weather- can’t wait to try it! Question- I have a birthday occasion coming up and wondering if you have any ideas or a go-to celebratory dessert that I could make in lieu of the typical birthday cake scenario. Anything you do for a birthday dessert? Or make, like vegan/Paleo cake? Or is it a “cheat” meal treat?:)

    Reply
    1. Melissa

      I made her cupcakes from her book for my daughter’s birthday- both the chocolate and vanilla and both kinds of icing. Everyone loved them ! They were sooooo delicious!

      Reply
  6. Claudia

    I made this last night and it was amazing! I like it better than the curry dish from last week! Definitely a “make again”! Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Abbi*tarian

    I made a simplified version of this, because of lack of ingredients & for my recovering tum’s sake, 2 nights ago. It was fantastic! I look forward to making your exact recipe when my tum is back to normal. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  8. Gia

    That’s ‘Pittsburgh’ lol…ugh- that’s what happens when you type comments hastily on your iPhone!:( Thanks for the b-day suggestions…Megan, your French silk pie was amazing- made it a few times already. I’m a vanilla loving girl, rather than a chocoholic, and have always had an addiction to traditional yellow cake with buttercream frosting, so maybe I will use your cupcake and frosting recipe to make a homemade layer cake- hope it will work!:)

    Reply
  9. Kelly

    This was so good! It was actually added to our go to meal list. Thank you! We were actually out of town when I first read the recipe and my husband stated how it sounded so good we needed to make it when we got home. We are so glad we did!

    Reply
  10. marja

    This soup is delicious! I sprinkled it with nutritional yeast before serving it along with some hawaiian salt and fresh cilantro. Thank you for the recipe. Yay for pulses!

    Reply
  11. marja lehua

    …one more thing…i made the almond butter fudge, but used organic peanut butter instead because thatʻs all I had in the pantry…itʻs setting in the freezer at the mo…tasted a bit of it before I placed it on the wax paper…DELISH! Oh, and of course, added 1 TBSP of dark chocolate chips to the mix =-). Canʻt wait to try the finished frozen product!

    Aloha,
    marja

    Reply
  12. Erika

    Hi Megan,

    I am loving your cookbook and can’t wait to try this recipe next week. If I can’t get organic celery any suggestions on substitutions or anything else I can add. Thanks, Erika

    Reply
  13. Shawnee

    This was delicious!! I had an Ethiopian spice mix that complemented this dish so well and added the perfect amount of heat. I love your recipes.

    Reply
  14. Lisa

    Another delicious recipe!! I only made half a batch and it’s awesome, great with the kale a smart way to add extra greens!
    Thanks for the recipe!!

    Reply
  15. Erika

    I made this the other day, it was delicious. My five year old ate three helping, then said you made this Mommy…very good job! 🙂 This is a hit and I will make it again next week!!

    Reply
  16. Teresa

    Excellent spice combo, Megan. I used some potatoes from my garden in place of the lentils and quinoa, and it turned out great. Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Tiffany

    I made this tonight, so beautiful and nourishing. My 2 year old enjoyed it too! I’ve been following and making your recipes for years but this is my first time commenting. I can honestly say I’ve had great results and really enjoyed everything I’ve made. My friends are always asking for the recipes I use and it’s always the same answer… Detoxinista😊.

    Reply
  18. Laura

    I added this recipe to my “try it someday soon” list when you first posted and finally got around to cooking it up last night. My family was so surprised how tasty and satisfying it was! (They don’t even know how inexpensive and nutritious it is, and I’ll leave it that way.) Satisfied with another great recipe — am certainly adding this one to my recipe box.

    Reply
  19. Anne

    I thought I would let you know that the EXCELLENT Kale, Quinoa and Lentil Stew is missing, in the directions, when to add the kale. I thus forgot to put it in. I am having the stew again tomorrow and will add kale this time!

    Reply
      1. Megan Gilmore Post author

        Actually, I just checked and it’s in step #4. 😉 Hope you enjoy it with kale the next time around!

        Reply
  20. C Nieves

    I recently had Amy’s soup and liked it so much I went back to the store to hunt down more of it. Oddly it reminds me of a soup my mother used to make which uses very different ingredients. She made what is known in the Caribbean as “asopao” a chicken, rice and tomato based soupy stew. As I’ve become a vegetarian that is no longer an option and so I was happy to find Amy’s delicious soup but it can be costly to buy in quantity.. Glad to find a version online that may match or surpass the canned version. Thank you for providing a recipe!! Like another person mentioned I will add cilantro, and preferably “culantro” (otherwise called “recao”) another very flavorful herb found in Hispanic supermarkets that I detected in Amy’s canned soup much to my surprise. It is used as part of a base for flavoring many dishes. Like cilantro it has a distinctive flavor, but grows as a spear shaped leaf with a strong central rib on the underside. It adds a dimension to this already very good soup that will take it over the top. A little goes a long way for those curious enough to try it one day.

    Reply
  21. Nora

    Delish! I used a red onion instead of a yellow onion, and didn’t have the large box of Pomi tomatoes, so used a can of chopped tomatoes. It’s sSOOOO hardy especially here in Chicago which is still cold and just had some more snow fall. Keep up the great and always tasty recipes!

    Reply
  22. Kelly

    wow I honestly didn’t expect much flavor from this but I am shocked! This is soooo good and I can’t stop eating it. This is a definite keeper. One of the best soups I have ever had.

    Reply
  23. nikki casey

    Hi! can I use red quinoa with regular lentils? don’t have the red ones. also I have tons of tomato but not boxed. can I just chop those up? sorry I am a newbie to cooking. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Red lentils are the fastest type of lentil to cook– if you use any other variety, I’d plan on doubling the cooking time. The recipe should work just fine, you’ll just need to wait longer! 😉

      Reply
  24. Donna

    Do you rinse your quinoa before using? It seems to have a bitter undertone when it is not rinsed…
    Also, I will be adding some black pepper to pair with the turmeric… I put turmeric in EVERYthing, and the black pepper helps in the absorption of the turmeric.

    Reply
  25. Arlene Keeler

    This looks so yummy! I’m allergic to tomatoes; what do you think I could successfully use in place of the 26 oz box of tomatoes?

    Reply
  26. Pam

    I just made this soup and can’t believe how delicious it is! I substituted chicken broth for the water and only used 1/4 cup of quinoa so it would have a thinner consistency. We also topped it with cayenne pepper and cilantro. I’m so pleased that I took a chance on it. My husband and boys say it is one of the best things I’ve ever made. Thanks!

    Reply
  27. Brent P.

    This recipe is delicious! I was wondering why in your photos it looks so red. I have made it twice now, following your recipe exactly and other than a sprinkling of carrot, tomato, and kale, the overall color is yellow/golden.

    Reply
  28. DonMari

    Red or yellow, color this dish delicious!My hubby made it a few days ago and I get to devour the last delectable bowlful! Yum! Love, love , love red lentils which cook up so creamy and add that satisfying succulence to soups and stews. This is definitely my new favorite! Thank you for the spreading the joy of delicious, healthy plant-centric food!

    Reply
  29. Daniella

    Can I use a red onion? Is there any difference in taste? Thank you so much for your recipes! I’m just learning about plant based diets and your recipes make me feel like I may be able to make a complete lifestyle change. They are super yummy and my family loves them!

    Reply
  30. Katie

    Delicious! Of course, it is even better the second day! I use chicken bone broth in place of the water and add just a smidge of chipotle powder. Yum!

    Reply

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