This cozy lentil and kale soup recipe is so tasty, you’ll immediately want seconds! It’s healthy, easy, and full of big Italian flavor.

Tuscan lentil soup with artichokes and tomatoes

This Tuscan lentil and kale soup came together by chance: and my, was it a happy accident! Ever have those moments where your spouse or partner is really passionate about something, and you’re not so sure about it? Alex had a vision of creating an Italian lentil soup recipe with artichokes, tomatoes, and lentils. I was dubious it would all work together (though now I don’t even remember why). Even he was surprised at how well it came together! This Mediterranean-style lentil and kale soup pairs earthy and tangy flavors in a way that draws you in bite after bite. Keep reading for how to make it!

What to know about this lentil and kale soup

This Tuscan lentil and kale soup comes together in under an hour and requires very little skill to make. The Italian seasonings and tangy fire-roasted tomatoes make it totally irresistible. My extended family loves it so much that we make it every Christmas Eve! Here are a few keys to the flavor in this lentil soup recipe:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are a must. Fire roasted tomatoes are a must in this lentil soup. The tomatoes add a subtly sweet flavor that you won’t get if you use regular canned tomatoes. If you can’t find them, use the highest quality tomatoes you can find.
  • Season as needed throughout the cooking process. Depending on tomato and artichoke brands, you may need to add a different amount of salt to this Tuscan lentil soup. Make sure to taste and add enough salt until the flavor pops.
  • Don’t overcook the lentils. Red lentils need about 20 minutes to cook through fully. If you overcook them, they’ll lose their shape and will become incredibly soft. Your lentil and kale soup may get too thick if the lentils become too soft, so watch closely during the end of the cook time.
Tuscan lentil stew

All about red lentils!

Red lentils named for their beautiful orange-pink color, though they turn yellow when cooked. Of any of the lentil varieties, the texture of red lentils breaks down the quickest. Because they cook faster than regular brown and green lentils, we love adding them into our soups and stews like this lentil stew.

If your store doesn’t carry red lentils, what to substitute? This lentil and kale soup also works with green or brown lentils. Just keep in mind that using different types of lentils affects the cook time! You may need to cook brown and green lentils a tad longer than the red variety. Red lentils break down very quickly, so make sure not to overcook them.

More red lentil recipes? Masoor Dal is cozy and nuanced, Mediterranean-style Creamy Red Lentil Soup is spiced with cumin and paprika. Or, check out more of our Best Lentil Recipes.

What are lentils
Uncooked red lentils have a vibrant orange-pink color

Cooking with Tuscan kale

Try to find Tuscan kale for this recipe! Tuscan kale is an Italian variety with a dark green color and mild flavor. It may also be labeled as Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, black kale, or cavolo nero (black cabbage in Italian). The leaves are very dark green and flat, compared to curly kale which has frilly, brighter green leaves. If you can’t find Tuscan kale by any of these names, you can substitute curly kale, or even other leafy greens like spinach or chard.

Why is it best to use in this lentil and kale soup? Well, it’s an Italian-style soup so it’s only fitting to use Italian-style kale! But the flavor is also important. The flavor of Tuscan kale is milder and sweeter than curly kale, which can taste bitter and spicy.

Tuscan kale
Look for Tuscan kale: also called Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale or cavolo nero

How to serve this lentil and kale soup

To serve this Tuscan lentil and kale soup recipe as a meal, we suggest a side salad or bread to go along with it. Here are a few suggestions:

tomato artichoke lentil stew

Let us know what you’d serve it with in the comments below!

This lentil and kale soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based and dairy free (without the Parmesan cheese garnish).

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Tuscan Lentil & Kale Soup


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This cozy lentil and kale soup recipe is so tasty, you’ll immediately want seconds! It’s healthy, easy, and full of big Italian flavor.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 15-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts
  • ½ bunch Tuscan kale (also labeled as Lacinato, dinosaur kale or cavolo nero)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 28-ounce cans fire roasted whole tomatoes
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional), for garnish

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic. Drain the artichoke hearts, and chop them into bite sized pieces. Wash and thinly slice the kale into ribbons.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil. Saute for another minute.
  3. Add the red lentils, water, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and 1 bay leaf and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the kale, artichokes, and the liquid from the whole tomatoes. Then chop the whole tomatoes into bite sized pieces, and add them to the pot.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Be careful not to overcook the lentils, or they will become too soft.
  6. Taste, and additional kosher salt as necessary. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved Parmesan cheese.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Lentil Stew, Kale, Stew with Kale, Kale Stew, Tomato Artichoke, Artichoke Stew, Healthy, Dinner, Vegetarian, Vegan, Stew

Looking for more vegetarian recipes? 

Are you looking for vegetarian dinner recipes? Here are a few of our favorite simple dinner vegetarian dinner recipes outside of this Tuscan lentil soup:

Last updated: October 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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87 Comments

  1. Tomatoes and artichokes and lentils are some of my favorite foods. Healthy or not I love them, so this soup looks so good!!

    Love the photos if the snow and your house! Plus, your dream house is beautiful as well!

  2. i’m always looking for new ways to use artichokes, this is such a great idea for soup!

    the pictures of the snow are so beautiful, I wish DC was snow-pretty long enough during the day during the vortex…

    1. Thanks! We had a perfect afternoon of fluffy snow and moderate freezing before the vortex fully hit. It was so fun to tromp around in the neighborhood!

  3. All the yummiest of things in one heavenly sounding, hearty soup. LOVE.
    And what a magical looking house – it looks like something out of a fairytale!

    1. Haha! Thanks. And yes, it does seem like it is out of a fairy tale–Sonja tries to move in every time we walk by (though I maintain that all those beautiful trees would kill the light for photo’ing our food…).

  4. We cling to soup in the winter, too. It’s my belief that the harsh winter elements are easier to tolerate when there’s a hearty pot of soup hanging out on the stove, waiting to warm one’s innards. One of my favorite winter feelings, I think.

    Also, do I spy Bill’s house next door? {{{HI, B!}}}
    Also also, your house is a beaut.

  5. This might be a silly question, but since you have to chop up the whole tomatoes, why can’t you just use diced?

    1. Not a silly question! I experimented with diced and crushed, but just like the size and texture of the chopped whole tomatoes better than the diced. If you aren’t feeling messy, don’t think it won’t detract too much to substitute diced with their liquid :)

  6. Yummm! Looks incredible! I can’t wait to try it! I am noticing the delicious looking bread! I was wondering if you have a recipe for the bread as well!?

  7. I’m thinking about making this (hey, hell did freeze over!/it’s a new year), but I have an aversion to the artichoke hearts…just leave out or substitute with something else?

    1. Hmm. I can’t think of a good substitute. You should really just try them, it’s a new year! They don’t add a ton to the overall flavor of the dish, but they are a great texture for it… I think just leave them out if anything.

  8. Mmmm.. Looks great! Making this week and can’t wait… Question, did you use whole red lentils or split? I could only find split in store and I’m wondering if cooking time should be altered…

    1. Hi! Our package says red lentils, but looking closely at them it appears they are split… perhaps most red lentils are split? I think the cooking time should be the same… you want to cook them until they have just a slightly chewy texture. The a little bite is nice for this stew, and the alternative is the lentils going to mush very quickly!

  9. I made this last night and it worked so well!! So full of flavour and quick to make. I look forward to trying another one of your recipes

  10. This soup is awesome! I messed up the recipe so I was a bit worried, but it tastes SO delicious. This was my first time cooking with lentils, also.

    I accidentally put in too many lentils. (The entire bag.) I also couldn’t find enough fire-roasted tomatoes. (I used stewed and diced.)

    I added some extra water, more canned tomatoes and parmesan rind.

    It still tastes AMAZING! I will be definitely making this again. THANK YOU!

  11. I want to try this recipe and have a question … approximately how much kale do you consider to be a bunch (or half-bunch, in this case)?

    I know it probably varies, but I’m never sure how much “a bunch” is supposed to imply since I can only find curly kale chopped and bagged in the store closest to me, and would appreciate any estimation!

    I’ve seen 4-5 cups mentioned online. Does that sound correct? That would indicate 2-3 cups for this soup.

    (Also, my husband and I plan to start house-shopping this year and yours is absolutely gorgeous! The real estate pictures I’ve seen online are somewhat terrifying. Lol. I’m jealous.)

    1. Good question! I think greens are really hard to measure in cups because that totally depends on how tight you pack the measuring cup… for the Tuscan kale (aka lacinato or dinosaur kale) in this recipe, I’d call about 6 stems worth a half-bunch. The quantity doesn’t matter too much for this recipe :) And thanks! We love our 1920’s neighborhood :)

  12. Thanks for another excellent recipe. Great stew for these cold snowy days. However, I do have a couple of suggestions.

    I found that 1 TBS of oregano overwhelms all of the other wonderful flavors of this dish, so next time I’ll cut back to 1 tsp or a little more.

    Also our local Whole Foods did not have anything called Tuscan Kale, only something called Lacinato and a few others. When I got home I googled Tuscan Kale only to find out it is the same as Lacinato, or Dinosaur, or Italian, or Black Kale (who knew?). I had assumed that you mentioned a specific type of kale because the particular variety is important to the recipe (degree of bitterness, cooking time, etc). So I ended up using another variety of kale – “Chou Vert Frise” – mostly because it was organic, but it never seemed to fully cook. I noticed that you mentioned the other names for Tuscan Kale in a reply above, but not in the original recipe. That would have been helpful.

    I do enjoy your blog and I always look forward to new recipes.

  13. I made this last night and it was absolutely wonderful. Looking at the list of ingredients, both my wife and I were expecting something much less than what came out of the pot.

    Thank you again for this absolutely beautiful recipe!

  14. I was lucky enough that my friend made this last night. I had already eaten all of my pathetic attempt at indian daal, so I didn’t appreciate the soup when I took a bite last night. She sent me home with a container that I brought with me to work…

    DIVINE! SO GOOD! Licking bowl…
    P.S. – she doubled the artichoke and I wouldn’t make it any other way.

  15. Made this for dinner tonight and it’s delicious! We love artichokes so I might double them next time + add some more heat with the red pepper flakes but it’s definitely going into rotation at our house. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I made this for dinner last night and we loved it! My husband was wary when I told him the name, he said it sounded “granola-y”, but was a convert from his first bite. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch!

  17. This sounds so yummy! But hubby doesn’t like artichokes and he does the shopping…I have to figure out a way to get him to buy the ingredients… I’ll figure out a way…it sounds too good to not try!

  18. Such a delicious sounding recipe. Artichokes aren’t a common cooking ingredient in the U.K but I’m going to find some and make this. Are fire roasted tomatoes just roasted tomatoes? If using plum tomatoes would adding a touch of smoked paprika produce a similar taste? Your house is just gorgeous, a dream house also, especially in the snow.

    1. Thanks so much for your nice comments! You can definitely substitute “normal” tomatoes for fire-roasted here; the fire roasting just adds some sweetness and depth of flavor. I wouldn’t think you’d need to add smoked paprika since that is such a distinctive smoked flavor (which fire roasted tomatoes do not have), but it definitely would add a nice kick! Let us know how it turns out.

  19. I found your recipe at Oh My Veggies. I’m a critical care nurse at Vandy. I made this today. It was easy peasy, and delicious! I had a bowl at 5 p.m., plan on another bowl at 2 a.m. and more the next 2 nights I work. Thank you for saving me from fried chicken tenders offered by the hospital at 2 a.m. :)

  20. Made this last night for my family and everyone loved it. We had prepared steak for my picky brothers, but they both went back for seconds of the stew and could not stop eating it! This was so easy and quick to pull together and definitely hit all the right notes of warmth and comfort during this time of subzero temperatures. Thanks for such a delicious, healthy, and hearty recipe that the whole family loved!! This will definitely be put on repeat in my house.

    1. This is so wonderful to hear! This is one of our favorite recipes for the winter, and it is so great to hear from another family who enjoys it too! We actually made it for Christmas Eve this year – it was a hit! Thanks so much for writing and letting us know :)

  21. Thanks for a great recipe that I will make again! Just as Alex above asked, I used crushed fire-roasted tomatoes b/c that’s all my grocery store had (either that or regular whole tomatoes, but I wanted to get the flavor from the fire-roasted ones). The broth is definitely thicker, more tomatoe-y, not sure I would use crushed again–but was still great! (I’ll have to try it with regular and see which way I like better!)

  22. Made this today, w/o the cheese. I was feeling lazy so I used a 12 oz. bag of pre-washed and chopped baby kale, and two 14-oz cans of diced fire-roasted tomatoes. Absolutely fantastic, will definitely be making again. I served it with brown rice that I had around.

  23. This recipe looks delicious! Do you by any chance have the nutrition info along with calories per serving available anywhere?

  24. Saw this recipe on a 2016 cooking calendar my friends received as a Christmas gift. Made it tonight and wasn’t impressed- it was a good base recipe, but needed twice the lentils (and maybe green instead?) and a Parmesan rind while stewing for more flavor. Overall, it was so tomato-heavy that it resembled a thick marinara sauce dotted with lentils. Hoping it’ll taste more complex tomorrow after it sits overnight.

  25. My husband is not very fond of Kale…what are your thoughts for a substitute. I was thinking Spinach or Bok choy.

    Thanks for all the great recipes have forwarded your blog to my friends

  26. Thank you for this delicious recipe! Made it this evening with shavings of parmesan and some thick seeded wholemeal bread. Fire-roasted tomatoes are very difficult to come by in the UK – I don’t think they are sold here at all, in fact – so I had to use tinned plum tomatoes and lost some of the smokiness/depth to the stew, but it was still super delicious and so easy!

    Thank you for a wonderful share!

    1. So glad you enjoyed this! Sorry to hear about the fire-roasted tomatoes — I wish they were available everywhere! We’re kind of obsessed with them :) Thanks for writing!

  27. Heard you mention this on your podcast the other day (which I love, by the way)…sounds delicious! I have a frozen bag of artichoke hearts in my freezer that I’d love to use up. I can’t even remember why I bought them in the first place! Think I could use them in the stew, in place of jarred artichokes? Thanks for all of the great recipes and ideas, Sonja & Alex :)

    1. Thank you for the kind words about the podcast! So glad you’re enjoying it — we love connecting with listeners who are experiencing it along with us! For me it’s almost more fun than having a blog, haha! Anyway, in terms of frozen artichoke hearts…I would think they would work? I’ve never tried it, but I can’t see why not. Let us know if you try it out! Thanks again for listening :)

  28. I linked to this recipe after your post about staying warm this winter. I made it last night and loved it, but it was even better the second day! I used diced fire-roasted tomatoes and substituted veggie stock for the water, using a bit more because it was kind of thick with just 2 cups. So delicious!

    1. Oh, we’re so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for letting us know and thank you for linking to the recipe!

  29. This is the first recipe I’ve made off your site (previously used your pizza posts for inspiration) and it was absolutely lovely. I even made it with kale I had previously chopped and frozen and it was still perfect. My partner and I are not vegetarian but are moving towards a predominantly veggie diet and recipes like this make it so easy! Loved the artichoke flavor and how tomato-y it was! Will definitely make it again.

    1. Hi Natalia! We would recommend making this on the stovetop so that the flavors are bright — making it in a slow cooker would probably make the lentils disintegrate! It’s fairly quick to put together, so hopefully it works for you! Let us know if you try!

  30. Long time follower here but rare commenter – just had to share that I made this over the weekend after finding a can of artichokes in the bottom of the pantry. Based on other reviewer comments I cut down the tomatoes to just one 28oz can and it was superb! I made your pretty simple popovers as well, and fed this to both my husband and brother who looked at each other and in surprise my husband goes, “huh, this tastes better than I was expecting!” Huge win! And then he ate 6 popovers….maybe effectively canceling out the lentils? Haha I’ll still take it :) thank you guys!

    1. HAHA, I love it! I’m SO glad this was a hit with your husband and brother — it’s the best when it works for the whole family. THANK YOU for your comment!

  31. Made this tonight and it was SUCH a hit for the whole family! My 4 year old ate his whole bowl (not always the case with new recipes!) and so did my husband- huge win!

  32. This so easy and delicious. It’s very thick so will add a little additional water next time. This is a keeper.

  33. I made this today, for work lunches all week, it is delicious! I added chopped carrots just to make it more filling. Thank you for a tasty week of lunches!

  34. This is a wonderful recipe! The combination of roasted tomatoes and artichokes is fabulous. I decided to add a couple drops of “liquid smoke” (similar to smoked paprika). This was a flavour that my kids and guests enjoyed. I highly recommend this recipe to all… so flavourful!! (and folks who are not fans of lentils will not notice this hearty ingredient.) Thanks for sharing!

  35. This is a delicious recipe and came together quickly and easily! I used fire roasted diced tomatoes and added some cannellini beans for extra protein. I did not add any salt because my diced tomatoes added plenty to the dish. SO DELICIOUS. This will be on repeat at our house!

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