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Smoky Green Lentils with Kale and Quinoa

We are finding gorgeous tomatoes in our CSA farm share box this month. YAY! You could use heirloom tomatoes in this stew-like smoky green lentils with kale, but it would sort of be a waste. Savor the rarity and freshness of the heirlooms in salads, sandwiches, or just plain out of hand with some salt and pepper! What I mean is use canned tomatoes here. 🙂

Smoky Green Lentils with Kale

Quinoa is the bed underneath these smoky green lentils with kale, though rice or other cooked grains, including polenta would be awesome too!

You will want to precook the kale in another saucepan and add it to the lentils at the last minute.

You might also want to try Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup.

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something flavorful and healthful!

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Smoky Green Lentils with Kale
Green Lentils with Kale and Steamed Quinoa
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr

These green lentils with kale and tomatoes get their wonderful flavor from smoked paprika and cumin. The lentils cook right in the skillet, but you par-boil the kale in a second pot and cook the quinoa in another. Start the quinoa first. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 4 servings.
Author: Letty Flatt
  • 1 ¼ cups red or tri-color quinoa
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions , chopped
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup green lentils , sorted and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • 1 bunch Lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale , stems removed and discarded
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Rinse the quinoa well to wash away the saponin coating. (Saponin is a natural pesticide quinoa produces so birds won’t eat it. It doesn’t harm humans; it just makes the quinoa bitter if not rinsed well.)
  2. Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Just as with rice, do not stir—tilt the pan to see if there is any water left. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions and cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the paprika, cumin, and red pepper; cook and stir for several minutes.

  4. Add the lentils, the tomatoes and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat; cook and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed. The lentils should be tender to the bite.
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale leaves and simmer them until the greens are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

  6. Remove the kale from the water and let cool on a cutting board. Chop the leaves—about 1 inch apart with your knife in both directions.
  7. Stir the kale into the lentils. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over the steamed quinoa.

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