Hearty Vegetable Soup

On Friday, I ate, for lack of a better term, like crap. For lunch I had penne and meatballs with extra pesto and parm. For dinner I ate an order of spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips along with several Yuenglings for my birthday happy hour. It was delicious, a lot of fun, and I think all those carbs really helped me not have a hangover Saturday morning. But by the time dinner rolled around Saturday night, I just wanted something really yummy and full of veggies. And bacon. Because you can never go wrong with bacon.

What makes this soup so delicious is adding all the spices and garlic to a store bought vegetable stock. You could actually just drink the broth and be completely satisfied. But it might not be very filling, so I recommend sticking to the recipe. There’s also a lot of protein from the lentils and all kinds of awesome things like iron from the kale.

Nick is of the opinion that the soup could have used some chicken or other meat in it. I’m of the opinion that it would have been a great vegetarian soup if only I didn’t have bacon in the fridge that needed to be used. In fact, most of these ingredients were already found in my kitchen, just waiting to be used. As such, this is a really affordable and easy meal.

At this point, I would like to go back to talking about my birthday. January birthdays are awesome, and some of the best people I know also have birthdays this month. January babies are really smart too, and one of them recently pointed out to me that I had a typo in one of my blog headings. Capricorns are good at picking up on things like that, but mostly in other people’s writing. Consider it fixed.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

  • 5 slices bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 head fennel, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 qt veggie stock
  • 15 oz canned diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 cup red or green lentils
  • 3 cups kale, chopped with thick ribs removed
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

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In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, saute the bacon until it is nice and crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain the excess fat. Drain all but roughly 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.

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Toss in the onion and fennel; season with salt and pepper and saute over medium-high heat until they just start to brown. At this point, add in the garlic and spices. Stir everything together until it becomes fragrant and then deglaze the pot with about a half cup of the stock. Scrape up all the brown bits of flavor from the bottom so that they don’t go to waste.

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Add in the remaining stock and the tomatoes and bring your soup up to a simmer. Add the lentils and allow the soup to simmer for another 15 minutes until they are cooked through. When the lentils are ready, wilt the kale into the soup about a cup at a time.

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Finish the soup off with the lime juice and zest, scallions, and cilantro. Return the bacon back into the soup and then serve.

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