After hearing Diana rave about this soup for months, I finally decided that I needed to make it...now. In a cruel and unusual twist of fate, I got sick again last weekend and so I decided to make this soup for the second time to help cure me. The first time I made it, I didn't realize until I was halfway through that I was out of fire-roasted tomatoes. I decided to be crafty and use a little of the Ghanian fresh pepper I had made a few days prior. It turned out well, but it didn't quite go well with the saffron yogurt. I knew I had to try the soup again staying a bit closer to the original recipe. For being such a simple recipe, it's surprisingly full of flavor. The fire-roasted tomatoes I used also had a few jalapenos mixed in so this had a nice, gentle heat and the yogurt cooled it down. This soup is quite filling and also strangely addictive. Although, it's hard to say that being addicted to lentils, tomatoes, and kale is a bad thing. The soup is just as good with the saffron yogurt as without and I love Heidi's suggestions for changing it up by adding a poached egg, or crispy shallots, or a whole grain to the dish. The spices can also be played with as another way to change things up. Since it cooks in practically no time, this soup will definitely be on regular rotation in my winter meals.
Lentil Soup with Tomatoes, Kale, and Saffron Yogurt (aka Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup)
(Ever so slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
Makes about 4 servings
For the saffron yogurt:
Small pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
Pinch coarse sea salt
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
For the soup:
1 cup green lentils
7 cups water, divided
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cups rinsed and chopped kale
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
Coarse sea salt to taste
To make the yogurt:
Add the saffron threads to the boiling water in a small cup or bowl. Let the saffron steep for about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and yogurt. Set aside while making the soup.
To make the soup:
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add and big pinch of salt. Add the lentils and cook until tender, but still firm, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion sprinkle with a bit of salt. You want the onions to soften, but not brown. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onions have softened. Add the lentils and kale to the pot. Add the water and stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook until the kale has wilted, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Taste and add salt as necessary.
Serve the soup warm with a dollop of the saffron yogurt.