Everyday Creamy Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale

January 26, 2017
Everyday Creamy Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale - Nutrition meet indulgence: This bowl of creamy lentils with mushrooms and kale. Just a bowl and a spoon - it’s comfort food at its finest

“What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick!  It’s a sure thing!

It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.”   ~ Nora Ephron | Heartburn

Photo Credit – Pinterest – “I will call him George, and I will love him and pet him and squeeze him and squeeze him.”

(This post may contain affiliate links)

Jump to Recipe

We're in the middle of winter in our pocket of the world.  It's been on the mild side, so there haven't yet been snow people in scarves dotting the neighborhood.  Although, as I drive through campus, everybody's still all bundled up, and their funny hats often make me smile.

Lately, the days have been London-fog grey, and I've been doing everything I can to fight the winter blahs.  Trips to the co-op for pretty fruit to make salads have helped, but honestly, I've been reaching for my soup pot more often than not.  It's comforting.  Just a bowl and a spoon.  No stabbing bits of lettuce or cutting with a knife;

just simple eating

Right around the beginning of the year, my husband was traveling more than usual, and most nights, I found myself foraging for dinner and wishing I'd taken the time to stop by the grocery.  Our usually well-stocked fridge was looking a bit naked, and after a stent of tidying-up, the cabinets weren't faring any better.

Digging deep into the pantry, I brushed past the jars of beans and rice, along with the random spices we're keeping around for “just the right recipe.”  I reached for the french lentils, a purchase from our local ethnic grocery one fall afternoon, while Sally and I were out for our walk.

Tonight, lentil soup

Everyday Creamy Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale - Nutrition meet indulgence: This bowl of creamy lentils with mushrooms and kale. Just a bowl and a spoon - it’s comfort food at its finest

Luckily we'd hosted a dinner party the weekend prior, a few stalks of kale were still in the crisper, along with a partial container of mushrooms

While the dark green lentils danced in the simmering stock, I busied myself elsewhere, discarding the contents of several containers of left-overs from said party.  Clearing out even more space in our already barren fridge.

I slowly sip a glass of bubbly while hunting for the rest of the ingredients.  The kitchen is a place of solace for me, somewhere to be creative, to give to others, to appreciate the small things, to refresh, or be pointed towards something in myself that I haven't taken the time to recognize

The onions and mushrooms sizzle and glisten at the buttery bottom of the pot.  The familiar smell of garlic after it's been toasted just so.  I pet the kitty cat who's come to visit, after a few sniffs, she turns on her heels and heads off in search of a napping spot

With every addition of stock, dinner, as I envisioned, is starting to take shape.  Now let's see, “I think I stashed a few pieces of homemade bread?  Yes, right here, in the back of the freezer.”

Everyday Creamy Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale - Nutrition meet indulgence: This bowl of creamy lentils with mushrooms and kale. Just a bowl and a spoon - it’s comfort food at its finest

The creamy lentils simmer idly while I find myself distracted for a bit with work.  When I finally bring a bowl with me into my office, I'm not certain if I'm still hungry, and slowly nibble as the night wears on.

At first taste, I wondered aloud if the spices didn't marry, but after a bit of sitting in their own goodness, my mouth was filled with warmth, flavor, and lentils just tender to the tooth.  My bowl garnished with some shaved parmesan because I'm a sucker for a hint of garnish

The recipe makes a moderate portion of soup, which is perfect for a household of two.  Not only because it's better the next day, but it won't be staring at you two or three days from now.

Whether you find yourself home alone in January starting into a naked fridge, or in shorts and flip-flops somewhere warm and sunny

creamy lentils are never a bad idea

A few notes about the recipe

 I'd encourage you to think of these lentils in broad strokes.  There are dozens of ways to make subtle changes to the recipe, depending on what you have on hand

A few thoughts around why I like this soup nutritionally (I know this is where many of you nod off).  In addition to a nice amount of vegetable-based protein in this soup (from the lentils), the recipe also incorporates a touch of dairy, vitamin-rich greens, veggies, and good fats.

A fried egg on top will often hit the spot.  As will a 1/4 of a ripe avocado, cut into a small dice and sprinkled across the top. With a bit of whole-grain toast (or croutons) rubbed with garlic, a dusting of parmesan, the whole thing comes together

You can use either green lentils or green split peas here.  Both are delicious, but the green split peas will lend a brighter green color to the soup



~ Adapted from Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez

Everyday Creamy Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale


  • 1 cup green French lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth ( homemade is best )
  • 12 oz. assorted mushrooms, chopped, cleaned, de-stemmed (cremini, shiitake, and oyster are all great)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 small onion, cut into ½-inch dice (~ ½ cup)
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • ½ cup dry white wine (or sake or sherry)
  • ½ cup half-and-half (or coconut milk if avoiding dairy)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, optional
  • 4 large eggs, optional
  • 8 oz kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped


  • Cook the Lentils
  • Rinse the lentils thoroughly.
  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the lentils, along with the broth, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a low and simmer (the liquid should be barely bubbling) for 20-25 minutes. You'll know they're ready when they've swelled, absorbed most of the liquid, and are barely tender, but intact and not mushy

  • Creamy Lentils with Mushroom and Kale
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until it's lightly brown (~ 3 - 5 minutes)
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring, for another minute, until it has just started to turn tender
  • In an even layer, add the mushrooms and sprinkle them with a pinch of sea salt. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes, or until the bottom layer is deeply browned
  • Stir them few times, distribute them again into an even layer, and cook undisturbed for another 2 minutes, or until the bottom layer has browned
  • Repeat another time or two, until all the mushrooms are deeply caramelized and have shrunk significantly in size (~ 7 to 9 minutes total)
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute, then pour in the wine.
  • Cook until the wine has been reduced, deglazing the pan as you go by scraping all of the flavorful brown bits from the bottom.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half (or coconut milk if using). Let it bubble gently for 2 minutes until it has reduced slightly and thickened
  • Add the cooked lentils, along with their liquid, stirring to combine. Cover the pan and let it cook at barely a bubble for ~ 5 minutes
  • Add the kale to the lentils, cover and cook until it is tender, but still bright green (~ 2 to 3 minutes)
  • Taste, and adjust the seasonings, adding additional sea salt or freshly ground black pepper, if necessary
  • Divide the lentils among serving bowls and top each with an egg (optional)
  • Serve hot.
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 385
Total Fat 13.8g
Saturated Fat 7.7g
Carbohydrates 43.8g
Fiber 10.6g
Sugars 8.8g
Protein 17.1g
Print This Recipe

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Kathy January 26, 2017 at 6:50 am

    5 stars
    Living in South Texas we need a good lentils soup, especially on Fridays. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply Saidah January 26, 2017 at 11:20 am

    This sounds so delicious and it has some of my favorite vegetables in it. I just bought a large bag of kale so I’m definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Sarah January 26, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I admit. I have never made anything with lentils. I think it is about time I did!

  • Reply Kristen January 26, 2017 at 11:36 am

    5 stars
    this sounds like a dream. I can just picture your quiet cozy night enjoying this soup. your story along with the recipe is convincing enough. I cannot wait to try.

  • Reply Belle January 26, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Oh! That looks so good! I must try this!

  • Reply Maggie January 26, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I have to make more lentils. This looks so delicious.

  • Reply Ana January 26, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I love creamy lentils they are so delicious, this looks amazing. I bet this would taste amazing.

  • Reply Heydave January 26, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    5 stars
    I need to experiment with different lentil varieties for creaminess and texture while toying with different mushrooms for taste. Awesome recipe!

  • Reply Natalie January 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    This sounds so good, I’m obsessed with lentils and mushrooms! I am vegan and love that I can make this.

  • Reply Elizabeth O. January 26, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    That is exactly how I would have it, everyday! This looks really good, it’s perfect with a slice of bread. It’s nice that you’ve added kale as well. This a overall a lovely and healthy dish to eat!

  • Reply Lily January 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    That actually looks lovely! I’m definitely not a health bunny, but this recipe/meal looks like something I’d actually want to try.

  • Reply Keith January 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    That looks amazing. I will have to give this a try. I just discovered Kale about a year ago and I am looking for more ways to incorporate it into more dishes.

  • Reply Jennifer L January 28, 2017 at 1:59 am

    5 stars
    Wow what a great combo with the lentils, mushroom, and kale. I have so many lentils that I def want to find ways to cook and prepare them. Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  • Reply Sainab January 28, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I love lentils! I can eat them with anything. And lately kale has become my new obsession so this recipe is something I’ll definitely be coming back for!

  • Reply Leslie January 30, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    ok I’m making the recipe this week! I would love this for dinner and lunch leftovers.

  • Reply Angie January 30, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    This looks so yummy and healthy! I’ve been looking for recipes that incorporate kale, so this is perfect!

  • Reply Anton February 2, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Looks fantastic, Alison! Can’t wait to try this. Love lentils and mushrooms. My excuse is that they’re super health foods 🙂

  • Reply Katie Kinsley May 25, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I’m not a super big fan of eating mushrooms, but I do love kale and lentils! I would try to just add in a different herb instead.

  • Reply Nikka Shae May 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I love eating mushrooms and this dish looks amazing!!!

  • Reply Natasha May 25, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    This is just too good not to try soon. Even when it’s summertime by date not by feel in Chicago! I just bought lentils a couple of days ago and was wondering how I would end up making them. Now I have a great recipe with ingredients that I love immensely.

  • Reply Scott April 6, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    5 stars
    I made this vegan style and it was incredibly good. I used portobello mushrooms.

  • Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating