By Gail Gordon Oliver



Photo by Gail Gordon Oliver

I love to make and eat soup at any time of year. When local spinach, arugula, mustard greens and sprouts, along with radishes, start appearing in my garden, favourite grocery store or farmers’ market in the spring, the perfect dinner at my house is often a big bowl of soup accompanied by a fresh tossed salad and some crusty whole-grain bread.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper or ground cayenne
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large leek (white and light green part only), halved and thinly sliced
4 carrots. sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
8 cups broth or water, or any combination
1 cup brown or green lentils
1/4 cup split red lentils
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
2 cups shredded kale
1 can (14 oz) navy beans or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

In a small bowl, combine the Aleppo pepper, black pepper, ginger, smoked paprika (if using), coriander, salt, thyme, turmeric, cumin, and garlic; set this seasoning mixture aside. In a medium stockpot or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in the seasoning mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Stir in the broth, brown lentils, red lentils, sweet potato and kale. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans. Partially cover the pot and simmer until the brown lentils are soft and the broth has thickened up, 15 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.