Curried Red Lentil, Chickpea, and Red Kale Soup

This healthy Indian-inspired red lentil soup is enticingly aromatic and flavorful. Top it with a garnish of toasted coconut and chopped peanuts for a little crunch. 

Makes 4-6 bowls

Soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 bunch red kale, center stalks removed, and finely chopped (about 2 packed cups)
1 cup red lentils
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can light coconut milk
2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
several shakes of salt, to taste

Garnish:
1/4 cup lightly toasted unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped


Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery; sauté until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add kale; boil for 2-3 minutes, then drain. (This will make it more tender). Add drained kale, lentils, chickpeas, and broth to the carrot mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 12-15 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Pour half of the lentil mixture into a blender; let stand for 5 minutes (so the soup will cool and not cause the cover to pop off!). Pour pureed lentil mixture into a bowl, and repeat process with the remaining half. Once the soup is blended, return to the pan; add coconut milk, spices, ginger, and salt; stir well. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Remove from heat; season to taste with salt. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toasted coconut and peanuts.