I made up this recipe one chilly weeknight to stave off a cold. I was surprised at how delicious the soup was! The file powder makes it nice and thick, but it may be left out. A warm loaf of sourdough bread is all you need to complete your meal!

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
45 mins
total:
1 hr
Servings:
12
Yield:
12 servings
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery. Cook until tender. Mix in the potatoes, carrot, and garlic. Continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are well coated with butter. Season the mixture with allspice, cumin, cayenne pepper, cloves, and pepper.

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  • Pour in the vegetable broth, and mix in the lentils. Add water, increasing the amount as necessary to cover all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and stir in the kale. Cook, stirring occasionally, 35 to 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Mix in the cilantro and file powder. Continue cooking about 5 minutes, or to desired thickness.

Nutrition Facts

164 calories; protein 7.4g; carbohydrates 29g; fat 2.5g; cholesterol 5.1mg; sodium 171.9mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (98)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
03/08/2004
I brought this to a potluck tonight and everyone loved it. I had made these changes: 1 tsp of cumin instead of 1/4 tsp 1/2 package of frozen spinach instead of kale added about 1 tsp of garam masala. I didn't have any cilantro but I think that would have been good. Also I thought the vegetable would get too mushy cooked the way the recipe said so I cooked the lentils with the broth and spices (only took about 15 minutes) and then added the sauted onions through garlic and cooked until done. Read More
(331)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
01/24/2012
I'm starting to hope I did something wrong here because I thought this soup even with the seasonings was bland bland bland. Even adding a few shakes of salt did not give this soup any real flavor. Only changes I made were normal onion instead of a sweet onion no file powder and regular lentils instead of red but I don't see that throwing off the flavor that much. Read More
(11)
126 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 82
  • 4 star values: 35
  • 3 star values: 5
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
03/07/2004
I brought this to a potluck tonight and everyone loved it. I had made these changes: 1 tsp of cumin instead of 1/4 tsp 1/2 package of frozen spinach instead of kale added about 1 tsp of garam masala. I didn't have any cilantro but I think that would have been good. Also I thought the vegetable would get too mushy cooked the way the recipe said so I cooked the lentils with the broth and spices (only took about 15 minutes) and then added the sauted onions through garlic and cooked until done. Read More
(331)
Rating: 5 stars
09/24/2010
Delicious! This soup has a very hearty and delightfully unique taste. The fact that it is vegetarian and could easily be made vegan by subbing olive for the butter is an added bonus. My lentils were tender in only 25 minutes; lentil cooking times vary greatly depending on how long they have been stored, so I would advise checking them to make sure that you do not end up with mush. I used 1 teaspoon of cumin and did adjust the seasoning at the end by adding some Himalayan sea salt, which I thought was sorely needed, perhaps because I used low sodium vegetable broth. File powder is ground sassafras leaves used for both flavoring and thickening. I don’t think it was necessary to thicken this soup but the file powder in addition to the other spices added a wonderful complexity to the flavor. It can be ordered from Penzeys.com if your grocery does not carry it. I will definitely make this soup again! Read More
(331)
Rating: 5 stars
02/14/2007
I love this! I whipped this up on the snowiest day of the year and am thrilled with the results. I did not have all of the ingredients, so here are my modifications: Did not use file powder. I don't think it's needed as the soup is just the right consistency in my opinion. No allspice, so increased the amount of cumin and added garam masala as first reviewer did. Added a little bit of dried ginger (sorry, i didn't measure). No Kale on hand - used frozen spinach instead, with great results. I used a little more butter than what was called for and once soup was done and had cooled ever so slightly, I added some nonfat sour cream which I think made it extra delightful! I normally don't use salt when cooking anyway, but did add some garlic salt at the end as I am a garlic lover. I also used dried cilantro as I didn't have fresh. Play around with this one; it's very versatile! Thank you for the recipe! Read More
(250)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/19/2006
I was shocked! This is really good and there is no salt in it! Definitely a keeper (I didn't add file powder. I don't even know what it is.) Read More
(42)
Rating: 4 stars
03/02/2009
I enjoyed this recipe. Like another reviewer said I used 1 tsp of cumin. In addition I did not use any potatoes because where soup is concerned I am trying to get everyone to eat more veggies. So I used more carrots (about 3 large) and a whole bunch of kale. It was very tasty and nutritious. The spices make a variation from the normal soups I make. Read More
(36)
Rating: 5 stars
11/18/2004
This is one of the best lentil soups I have tried. Read More
(25)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/20/2007
Very good and I will make it again. I might even add more Kale as it is so nutritious (and adds nice color to the soup). I used chicken broth. Celine Read More
(15)
Rating: 5 stars
11/22/2010
This soup was surprisingly good. As one reviewer advised I kept a close eye on the lentils only cooking them for 20 minutes or less before they were done. Next time I make it I will add a lot more cilantro and kale (I expected the kale to be weird but it was great) and I will double the spices--except maybe the cayenne pepper. Read More
(14)
Rating: 4 stars
01/23/2012
I was cleaning out the fridge and wanted to use up some kale celery parsey and potatoes. This soup is full-bodied and delicious. What a great recipe. Read More
(14)
Rating: 2 stars
01/24/2012
I'm starting to hope I did something wrong here because I thought this soup even with the seasonings was bland bland bland. Even adding a few shakes of salt did not give this soup any real flavor. Only changes I made were normal onion instead of a sweet onion no file powder and regular lentils instead of red but I don't see that throwing off the flavor that much. Read More
(11)
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