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Lemon Lentils Recipe with Kale, Cumin and Turmeric

Updated on June 1, 2008
lemon lentils with kale, cumin, and turmeric over rice
lemon lentils with kale, cumin, and turmeric over rice

I love cooking with dried lentils because they are inexpensive like dried beans but cook much faster. As a bonus, they are extremely healthy and make a complete protein when paired with a grain like rice or cous cous. This particular lentil dish surprised us all with its rich, tangy flavor from the lemon and spices; it made a wonderfully filling and delicious meal.

This recipe is vegetarian and vegan.

Lemon Lentils with Kale, Cumin, and Turmeric

serves four


  • Serve over rice of your choice.

  • 1/4 medium-sized sweet onion
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup dried lentils du Puy (French Green Lentils)*
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 5-6 large leaves of kale
  • 1 fresh lemon

* You can substitute green or brown lentils if you cannot find these, but the du Puy variety hold their shape better and have a more distinct taste. If using a different variety, you will probably not need quite as long of a simmering time, because du Puy lentils do take longer to cook.

Preparation Instructions:

1. Take into account cooking times below and the cooking times of the variety of rice that you plan to serve with this dish. Start your rice at the appropriate time to have it done at the same time as the lentils. Follow the directions for whatever variety of rice that you decide to use.

2. Dice the onion finely. Skin the garlic cloves, press them with the flat of the knife, and then slice them thinly.

3. In a soup pot over medium heat, fry the onions and garlic in olive oil, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to turn translucent.

4. Wash and strain the lentils. Add the lentils, 2 cups water, and red wine vinegar to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a good simmer, add the cumin, turmeric, salt, and paprika. Stir well, then cover.

5. Meanwhile, wash the kale leaves and tear off bite-sized pieces of them, discarding the thick parts of the stems. Add these leaf pieces to the pot, stir in, return to a simmer, then cover. Let cook until lentils and kale are soft and easy to chew. Stir occasionally, and keep an eye on it to make sure it does not get too dry (add some water if necessary). Cooking usually takes about an hour.

6. Serve the lentils over the rice, perhaps with a vegetable side. Squeeze a quarter lemon over each serving. Enjoy!


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    • tastiger04 profile image

      tastiger04 4 years ago

      This sounds fantastic, I am always looking for new lentil recipes....I will make this dish this week. Thank you so much for sharing! Voted up and useful :)

    • profile image

      Betsy 4 years ago

      Loved it!! And so did my 2 year old (who is a huge lentil fan). The lemon juice added a nice touch.

    • profile image

      AW 6 years ago

      Really good! I cooked my wild rice with a vegetable bullion, which added a nice flavor to the rice. I realized too late that I didn't have turmeric, but added a little extra cumin and paprika, and it tasted great. I really enjoyed the acidity of the vinegar and lemon juice. I'm so excited for my leftovers!

    • profile image

      shannon 8 years ago

      I added cayenne, ginger, a little coriander and black pepper. It was very tasty - thank you.

    • Decrescendo profile image

      Decrescendo 9 years ago

      Some yummy food here.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

      This looks great - I love finding new lentil recipes.

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

      fishskinfreak2008 9 years ago from Fremont CA

      Nice dish