Bursting with fresh herbs, spices, and citrus, this is a simple and satisfying lentil kale stew with coconut and peppers to make on those days when you are tired and need a warm home-cooked bowl.
I was really surprised by the final result of this lentil kale stew. Everything added to this stew allowed for a full body of flavor. You get an earthy, hearty dish, and you'll get that needed umami and spice level to round it all out. There is also the citrus kick that makes it taste so fresh. Every bite is robust in flavor.
Are you craving more stew ideas? Check out my other lentil soup, Curry Lentil Turkey Stew. For a more Caribbean vibe, try:
- Curry Chicken Gnocchi Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms,
- Pumpkin Gnocchi Chicken Soup, and
- Spicy Red Bean Stew with Dumplings and Smoked Turkey.
- Or try the popular Chicken Meatballs & Israeli Couscous Vegetable Soup.
Ingredients and Instructions
The mirepoix is the onion, carrots, and celery mix in classic French cooking. This is the base for a flavorful stock. Instead of using bay leaf, I used a sprig of dried thyme, traditional in Haitian cuisine. Use pre-cut kale to save time. Green lentils are great for soups and stews since they will still hold their shape through the cooking process. The zhug sauce provides that fresh and spicy kick; try my quick zhug sauce recipe.
I will repeat: the more spices and herbs you use, the less salt you need. This recipe uses paprika, cumin, onion, and garlic powder. But it doesn’t stop there; you will make a flavorful concoction to add at the end. This will be the golden ticket to a robust soup!
Add some umami to make it complete. So you’ll need soy sauce, lemon juice, fresh herbs, bell pepper, and fresh garlic to achieve that fabulous taste.
See the lentil kale stew recipe card for quantities.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there.
Video Quick Tips
- Zhug - Check your local market for Zhug/ Zhoug/ Schug paste if you don't have time to make the Zhug sauce. It's not the same, but you can try ½ jalapeno and ½ cup cilantro chopped finely diced or chopped in the food processor.
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce - Try ½ teaspoon of liquid aminos to every tablespoon of soy sauce.
Change Heat Level - Modify the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Ground Meat - This will go very well with ground turkey, chicken, or beef.
- Red Instead of Green - Substitute the zhug sauce for harissa.
Soup Pot / Dutch Oven - For this recipe, it's essential to use a well-insulated Dutch oven to prevent food from sticking to the bottom. But if you do not have one, keep an eye and stir more frequently. I recently purchased the Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, and it's been a great experience. It retains heat very well, is clean, and still looks brand new; it's now my favorite pot to make soup and stews. Plus, it can go in the oven. I'm so excited. I can't wait to braise in it!
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, you can place the stew in a shallow 2-inch container to cool down quickly. Then, store in an air-tight sealing container. The meal will last up to four days.
- Storage: Freezer - First, follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Note the kale will be softer when reheated after being frozen. Then you can place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Zhug is a hot, spicy condiment from the Middle Eastern country of Yemen.
A chunky green paste made up of a perfect blend of garlic, cilantro, chili peppers, and spices. Zhug, aka Zhough (Arabic) and S’hug (Hebrew), has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its versatility and bold flavor.
On the Scoville scale, zhug typically scores between 3,000. - 10,000. SHU (Scoville Heat Units). Zhug can vary slightly in ingredients and heat level depending on the region where it's prepared.
Popular recipes for zhug include adding freshly chopped jalapeno or serrano peppers for extra spiciness and lemon juice for tartness. My recipe includes lemon zest to enhance aromatics! It’s super easy to make, and a little bit of zhug goes a long way! Trust me. It will be the best thing you have in your refrigerator.
Looking for other stew recipes like this lentil kale stew? Try these:
Looking for other vegetarian recipes like this lentil kale stew? Try these:
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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