This soup is so unbelievably good! We eat it almost every week around here. Not only is it cheap, it’s a great source of vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, and the all-powerful dark leafy greens. In addition, although legumes are notorious for their noxious after-effects, these lentils will surprise you. Red lentils are the easiest of all lentils to digest, and the cinnamon and cumin help make them even more tummy (and roommate) friendly.
The recipe below is my adaption of a Lebanese recipe I found while I was searching for ways to use collard greens.
Red Lentil and Collard Green Soup
2 tablespoons virgin, unrefined coconut oil (or another cooking oil)
2 large onions, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped, fresh garlic (I simply chop up the cloves with a chef’s knife; no need for a garlic press)
Saute the onion and garlic in the oil in a dutch oven or other soup pot over medium to medium-high heat until soft and transclucent. Be careful not to brown the garlic, as doing so will make it bitter. Then add the following to the pan:
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt (ideally, Real Salt or Celtic Sea Salt)
Stir until the spices are fragrant, only about 30-60 seconds. Add
2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
10 cups water
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, until the lentils are very soft. Then, add
2 bunches of collard greens, rinsed and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (or more, if you like)
Simmer only 3-5 more minutes–just long enough to wilt the greens and make them tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings. I sometimes add extra cinnamon and cumin.
It is essential to use red lentils. Only this variety will give the soup the right texture. When they seem to disintegrate while simmering, don’t panic. They’re supposed to do that.
Also, depending on how large your bunches of collard greens are, you may need to adjust the amount. Just add as much as you wish. To make slicing them easier, place 7 or 8 leaves flat on top of each other, roll lengthwise (as though you’re rolling a cigarette), then thinly slice the roll crosswise.