Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spicy Brown Rice, Lentil and Kale in a Tomato Based Soup

The weather was gorgeous again yesterday. It was in the mid 60’s by 11am in the morning. I wanted to enjoy the day more than I wanted to cook. So when I finally got into the kitchen I decided to make soup for dinner, which would leave leftovers for lunch later in the week.

My husband loves tomato lentil soup. I like to change the recipes so that we don’t get into a rut. Yesterday I decided I wanted to make spicy version of the soup and add kale to the soup for extra nutrition. Hot crushed peppers (aka wet hots) add heat but also nutrition. Peppers contain capsaicin that is thougth to reduced LDL cholesterol and triglycerideas as well as boost immunity. The capsaicin in peppers also kills the bacteria in the stomach that leads to ulcers. Previously it was thought that hot pepper aggravated stomach ulcers but it is now known that they prevent them. Kale has more nutritional power per calorie than any other food. Kale is high in vitamin A, K and C. The sulforaphane found in kale boosts the body's detoxification enzymes so it can clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly. Sulforaphane is formed in cruciferous vegetables when they are chopped or chewed.

If you decide not to include the hot crushed peppers this soup will be a little bland. I would suggest topping the soup with a fresh gremolata if you omit the peppers. You make that by mincing a ¼ cup of fresh parsley, the zest of one lemon and a clove of garlic. Then add a tablespoon of olive oil to the minced aromatics and top each serving of the soup with the gremolata in place of the olive drizzle included in this recipe. Here is the soup I made for dinner last night.

Spicy Brown Rice, Lentil and Kale in a Tomato Based Soup
Makes 8 servings of about 2 cups each

Soup Ingredients:

1 bunch of kales, stripped of its leaves, stems finely chopped
½ yellow onion, peeled and finely minced
2 carrots, scrubbed and minced
2 stalks celery, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (allow to stand 10 minutes so allicin can develop)
½ cup water to water sauté the vegetables
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, low sodium version
10 cups filtered water
1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup long grain basmati rice
2 bay leaves
½ tablespoon oregano, dry
½ tablespoon thyme, dry
1 – 2 tablespoons hot crushed peppers (depends on how much you like spice)
8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil for garnish


Water sauté the kales stems, onion, carrot, celery and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes, water lentils, rice, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and hot crushed peppers and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes. Check half way through cooking and add water if necessary.

Remove the bay leaves before adding the kale to make them easier to find. Finely chop the kale leaves and add them to the soup 15 minutes before serving so they retain most of their nutrition. Check the soup for seasoning and add black pepper and salt as needed.

Top each serving of the soup with one teaspoon of your best extra virgin olive oil for flavor and aroma. By including a little olive oil you make certain that your body can absorb the fat-soluble vitamins present in this dish. Additionally by adding the olive at the end it is oxidized by the heat making it more healthy.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 290.18
Calories From Fat (19%) - 54.66

Total Fat - 6.26g
Saturated Fat - 0.91g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 192.16mg
Potassium - 982.6mg
Total Carbohydrates - 49.59g
Fiber - 12.25g
Sugar - 2.18g
Protein - 12.29g


This is substantial filling soup that is nice when the weather is cool. By the time we had dinner the temperature outside was in the low 50’s so this soup was perfect. I used the full amount of hot crushed peppers making our soup a little spicy. However, we love spicy food so it worked for us. I would suggest you start with one tablespoon of the peppers and wait 15 minutes and taste the soup for flavor. The heat intensifies as the soup cooks.

Each serving of this soup contains more than 14,400IU of vitamin A, 90mg of vitamin C, 160mg of calcium, 160mcg of folate, 550mcg of vitamin K, 260mg of phosphorus, and 110mg of magnesium. I also like knowing that this soup contains lycopene from the tomatoes.

I packed a big container of this soup in my husband’s lunch today with a green salad with creamy herb dressing and raw sunflower seed, an apple and walnut butter and kale chips. Each day I try to make certain that we get plenty of fresh and cooked vegetables and fruit in our diet. We started our morning with a mixed berry smoothie and green drink. At the moment I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner but it will be something autumnal.

Tomorrow I am going to friend Sue’s to make vegan ravioli. Sometime today I need to make the nut cheese for the ravioli. I will have my camera with me to take pictures of the ravioli for the blog. I will get the photos and the recipes posted later this week. There may be a ravioli preview later today. My husband loves ravioli so I think I should make a small batch for him to have tomorrow for dinner when I am at cooking class.

I will be back later today. I hope you are all having a fabulous day. Now I need to go exercise and then spend a little time cleaning the house. At the moment the felines are shedding furiously and since we share our home with three longhaired Turkish Angoras I am a little overrun with cat hair at the moment.


  1. That sounds delicious! We love spicy food, lentils and soup around here.

  2. Brigid,

    Thanks, I am glad you like the way the recipe sounds! :)


  3. That soup looks wonderful! It really does sound perfect for this kind of weather. I love spicy food too, can't wait to give it a try:)

  4. Hi Oraphan,

    Looks like you have the day off today. I am glad you are getting a break from work.

    As with all soups this gets better after a night in the refrigerator. I had it for lunch today and it was better than dinner last night.

    talk to you soon,

  5. The soup sounds good. I can't wait to see your post about ravioli.

  6. Rose,

    Thanks! :) If you like spicy, you will like the soup. It is definitely not bland with the peppers.

    Sue and I were discussing the ravioli today we are going to make roasted butternut and spinach and "cheese". There will be a third variety if we have time before cooking class.


  7. Always looking for more ways to use greens! This sounds terrific.

  8. Ricki,

    Thanks! I am always looking for more ways to get greens into our diet too. They are so packed with nutrition I would love to eat them everyday. We have been eating a lot of kale chips lately. My latest kale chip with curry powder is my favorite at the moment.


  9. Wow, what a powerhouse of a soup! I'm sooo super sick right now, how I wish I could just wish a bowl into my hands right now :)

  10. Ordinary,

    Sorry you aren't felling well. I try to make miso soup when I don't feel well. It always seems to make me feel better. A little green tea with ginger and vitamin C also seems to help.

    feel better soon,


Related Posts with Thumbnails