The Healthy $1 Menu: Peasant Lentil & Kale Soup

My computer crashed when loading all of my pretty pictures of this soup. Therefore, you only get a boring picture of dry lentils. Sorry!
This simple “peasant” soup is packed full of lentils, rice, kale, and simple flavorings to make a yummy and easy soup that costs less than a dollar per serving. It was the perfect warming lunch for us twice this last week! Joel has been taking the leftovers with him to school/work in a thermo. Yummy!

I have a whole list of meal ideas for this new series, but when I threw together this simple soup and realized how frugal it was, I couldn’t help share it!

I didn’t spare quality at all in this dish, using organic everything. It would be even a lot more inexpensive if you, for example, didn’t use organic vinegar (which cost a whole 76 cents to use), or if you got the kale for cheaper. I’ve said it here before, but I don’t try to eat a king’s diet on a peasant’s budget, because if I were to try, I would end up buying poor quality food. Instead I try to concentrate on frugal and nourishing peasant food. This is an example of high quality peasant food!

Here’s the cost analysis:

    1 small organic onion $.23
    2 tablespoons grassfed ghee $.32
    1 cup of organic dry lentils, $.50
    1 cup of organic rice $.50
    1 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme and three cloves of garlic $.30
    Local and organic kale $2.50
    2 tablespoons organic balsamic vinegar $.76
    Coarse, unrefined sea salt $.16

Grand Total: $5.49- $.91 per serving

To up the protein and the nutrition, I served it with fried eggs as well (one per person). I ate mine in the soup, and Elena just ate her on the side. This would add, on average for organic eggs, . 37 cents per serving.


Peasant Lentil & Kale Soup Serves 6
I have been having problems with my beans not cooking all the way after soaking with an acidic addition, as recommended by Sally Fallon. So I have been soaking until I see both the rice and the lentils just starting to sprout. To make this GAPS friendly, use another cup of lentils instead of the rice (which is actually cheaper!)

    1 small onion, peeled and chopped
    2 tablespoons ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil
    1 cup of lentils
    1 cup of brown rice
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    One bunch of kale, washed and stems cut out (fold in half, and cut the stem right out). Cut into bite sized pieces.
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Salt to taste

1-The night before, soak the lentils and rice in plenty of water at room temperature. Drain and rinse.

2-In a large pot, heat the oil/ghee until hot. Add the onion and cook for about five minutes, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.

3-Add 8 cups of water, the lentils and rice, and the thyme and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the rice and lentils are tender and cooked all the way. Add the kale, vinegar and salt to taste. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the kale is cooked to your preference. I like mine to be soft, but not too mushy.

Serve and enjoy.

The following two tabs change content below.
I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Latest posts by KimiHarris (see all)


  1. Kimberly says

    We love lentils and I make a lentil dish at least once or twice a week. My favorite is a simple lentil soup using Indian spices like cumin and coriander. This one looks really good too. I can’t wait to try it!

    • says

      We love lentils too. I don’t know why they get a bad name! I like to make Indian spiced lentils soups too-such a natural combo. 🙂 My persian lentil soup is a favorite!

  2. says

    This is perfect timing! I am 8 1/2 weeks pregnant with my first baby and am struggling to get in the recommended servings of “green leafies” each week. I’m adding this to the menu plan for next week, thanks!!

  3. says

    This looks easy healthful and delicious – and timely to boot! I just bought a bag of lentils yesterday – haven’t had them in a long while . . . this is going on the menu for next week. Thanks!

  4. says

    That looks really good and easy. I love soup in the fall/winter. I’ve got a whole bunch of kale still growing strong in my garden and not enough good kale recipes to help me use it all up. This will be on the menu next week. Thanks, and hope you enjoyed that wedding! 🙂

  5. Lynne says

    I love soup any time of year, and like recipes that I can take to work so that I am eating healthily instead of buying less nutritious food from the cafe there. This fits the bill nicely – and inexpensively too, which is a big plus for me at the moment. I also liked someone’s suggestion of trying leeks in it instead of kale as another option. Thanks, Kimi.

  6. Shannon says

    I have tried lentals before but they never seem to work out. I soak them and there is like a shell that sorta comes off the bean and it makes everything have a weird texture. Any suggestions?

    • KimiHarris says

      How long did you soak them for? Did you use an acidic addition? Sometimes that seems to make my lentils harden. If you don’t like the texture you could puree them, like an Indian Dahl. 🙂

  7. says

    We make a lentil soup that always surprises me with how good it tastes, when it’s so simple it is surely peasant food. It’s very similar to your recipe, but it’s just lentils, 2 onions (so a lot of onion), 10 oz. of spinach (added in the last 5 minutes), water or broth and salt/pepper to taste. You can squeeze a little lemon on it just before serving. It is so good we serve it to guests even and they love it, too. We got it out of an old Betty Crocker “meatless meals” cookbook when we were vegetarians.

  8. says

    what kind of lentils did you use? It sounds yummy, I’ll have to try it.

    Also, SF says in the next addition she’ll change that, because you can’t cook beans in acid, they toughen up or seize. Its great to soak them in a little baking soda in your water, because it alkalizes your water in case your water is acidic, so that your beans don’t seize.

    • KimiHarris says


      I used regular old brown lentils. 🙂

      That’s so interesting about not having the acidic addition. Makes me feel better because it rarely worked for me! 🙂 Thankfully my water is quite alkaline, but it’s good to know about the baking soda. Thanks for sharing!

      • Rachelle says

        I’ve never had my beans harden soaking them in water and lemon juice, and rinsing them well before cooking and cooking in fresh water. If they aren’t becoming hard, are they ok (nutritionally)?

  9. says

    I’m still harvesting swiss chard from the garden so I’ll add this to my lentils. I also make my brown rice separately to serve as a topping or on the bottom of a pool of lentils. I add tomatoes and curry to my lentils for extra lycopene for the hubs. My favorite way to serve is with a dollop of plain yogurt, but my college aged daugther loves feta or sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

    Thanks for the suggested menu item this week.

  10. says

    Ooh, I hope this is a long-running series! Now that I’ve gotten the basics of traditional, nourishing foods down… I need to work on frugality!

  11. Rayelle says

    My health food store ordered in kale last week at my request, so I felt beholden to buy 2 bunches instead of the 1 that I needed for my recipe. The same day, you posted this recipe! This is a great simple soup that I almost always have the ingredients on hand for, so I’ll be making this again. I didn’t have brown lentils but managed to cobble together 3/4 cup of green French and 1/4 cup of red. Also, I had a small amount of chorizo that needed a home so I added it to the pot. I bit into a caraway seed in a piece of chorizo and realized that it would make a great alternative seasoning to this soup-worth experimenting!
    Thanks a million, can’t wait to see what else you come up with for the $1 meal series!

  12. Freda says

    Hi, Kimi,

    Thanks for all your info on this website. I discovered your site when a friend recommended it to me as I was trying to stretch our grocery budget super far and learn how to cook gluten-free food for my husband. While it’s been hard, I’m now at the point that I am thankful for the difficulty as now I can comfort others and help them in a similar transition. We were really struggling at first when we didn’t know why he was always so sick. I am beginning to write a book and wanted to include some gluten-free recipes. Your Lentil-Kale soup was a recipe I started with and then modified some for my kitchen. Since I began with your recipe, I don’t want to claim it as my original work. I thought I’d include my version with a note that it’s based on your recipe and include your website address for people to reference. Would that be an appropriate way to include the recipe while giving you credit for the original? Or is there a better way?
    Thanks again for your blog!

  13. George burnett says

    Refried Lentils:——Ingredient list>>>Red lentils,finely diced onion,ghee or real,yes real unsalted butter,cajun seasoning,or red curry paste,shredded Mexican cheese,sea salt,flour or corn tortillas. To cook: Cook red lentils in simmering water with sea salt added.Red lentils cook VERY quickly.Drain well.Heat tortillas in a toaster oven on 350 to warm them.Cook diced onions in ghee or butter until soft and translucent.Add drained lentils and cook to a dry texture.Season with cajun seasoning or red curry paste.Add Mexican cheese and allow to slightly melt.Serve in warm tortillas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *