French Lentil Soup with Kale + Bacon (Gluten-Free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes: 4 generous servings
  • 4 oz good bacon, chopped
  • 2 large (or 3 small) carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup leeks, white and light green parts, washed and thinly sliced (or about 1 small yellow onion diced)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp dried Turkish oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 T red wine vinegar, plus (optionally) more for serving
  • 1 cup French green lentils, picked over for odd little bits
  • 6 cups beef stock (when I don't have liquid stock on hand, I always use this)
  • 5 oz (about 4-5 handfuls) kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper
  • good olive oil and parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
  1. Add bacon to a cold Dutch oven or soup pot and turn flame to med-high. Cook until bacon renders about half its fat and pan begins to take on color, about 5 mins.
  2. Add carrots, leeks, pepper flakes, thyme and oregano and cook until veggies begin to give off liquid. Add vinegar. Deglaze pan, scraping up all brown bits from bacon.
  3. Add lentils and beef stock and bring to a boil; then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 30 mins or until lentils are tender.
  4. Add kale, pushing down to submerge in broth, and cook for another 5 mins or so, until leaves have wilted substantially but kale remains green. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, if necessary.
  5. Serve soup piping hot in big bowls with a scant drizzle of vinegar, olive oil and a scattering of parm, if desired. Enjoy!
If it seems odd that I show the leek measurement in cups here, it's because I inevitably end up freezing about a ton of trimmed, cleaned leeks in the spring and using them all winter long, so I just scoop them out a cup (or so) at a time as needed. (Highly recommended if you're a leek freak, like me!)

Serving this soup with the indulgent scamorza sandwiches here is always a treat, but it's also great with your favorite crusty bread or croutons. And, as I will always recommend when making soups: make a full recipe, even if you don't need it. It reheats wonderfully. :)
Recipe by the pig & quill at