Hearty Kale and Lentil Soup

This is a very versatile soup. Don’t have kale? Use collards or chard. Not a big fan of lentils? Add beans or quinoa instead. Pancetta not your thing? Substitute bacon or a good quality sausage (Brown Boar Farm in my favorite). You get the idea! Parmesan cheese rinds are a delicious addition to almost any soup. I freeze leftover rinds so I always have them on hand.


4 thick slices of pancetta, diced
2 onions, medium dice
4 carrots, medium dice
4 medium celery stalks, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups of kale, stems trimmed, leaves roughly chopped
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
10 cups of chicken stock (or 8 cups stock/2 cups water)
1 fresh rosemary sprig
Parmesan cheese rind (can purchase at the Fruit Center or Whole Foods)
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a large, heavy pot, sauté the pancetta over medium heat until it renders most of its fat, about 10 minutes. Remove pancetta from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. Discard most of the fat in the pan.

2. Drizzle the pot with olive oil and add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale and cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the chicken stock  (or chicken stock and water), lentils and sprig of rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add the Parmesan cheese rind and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig and parmesan rind and season to taste with salt and pepper. Off heat, add 1 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar.

4. I like to serve this soup topped with some grated Parmesan cheese.