I developed this soup out of a desire to create a healing dish that is packed with minerals, deeply nourishing and relaxing; supportive of both the kidneys and liver. I am thrilled with the result. Enjoy!
Black lentils are a little more contracted than other lentils, given their tiny shape, and the black color is a characteristic of the Water Element (which governs the kidneys and bladder). I buy ones from a favorite semi-local company, Hummingbird. They were so fresh they cooked up in what felt like an instant.
Mushrooms have a relaxing quality and also help pull salt out of the body. Too much salt, especially poor quality salt, can impact the kidneys and cause them to become tight and sluggish.
Long cooked onions lend a lovely sweetness that relaxes the whole body and helps pull all the flavors together.
Fresh greens of any kind nourish the liver/gall bladder, governed by the Tree Element, and are full of minerals. Feel free to choose a variety of greens, excluding the ones high in oxalic acid like spinach, chard and beet greens. Leave some stem in your greens. The stems have the most concentration of minerals. Broccoli is a nutrient powerhouse. Watercress would be a lovely addition to this soup. Add right at the end because they will cook instantly in the hot broth.
Miso is particularly nourishing to the kidneys and helps make the whole soup come together in a rich broth. The kombu adds minerals and aids in breaking down the legumes and increasing digestibility. The tahini adds even more minerals and a little fat necessary to deepen mineral absorption.
Adding a bit of oil in the beginning of a soup like this, while sautéeing the onions, is a pretty typical way to add richness and increase mineral absorption. I wanted an oil-free soup, so I added the tahini at the end to help those fat soluble minerals go deeper in the body. The sour taste from the lemon adds some brightness to the dish and further activates the liver.
1 yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
pinch of sea salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1/2 cup black (beluga) lentils, rinsed
postage stamp size piece of kombu
8 cups of water, divided
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced, not super thin
6 cups chopped kale
4 cups chopped collard greens
1 head broccoli, cut into medium size florets, stems peeled and diced
2 Tbsp brown rice miso
1 tsp tahini
2 handfuls coarsely chopped parsley or cilantro
1. Heat 8 cups of water on the stove in a large pot. Let simmer while you start the soup.
2. Heat a heavy bottom soup pot on the stove. When medium hot, add the onions and dry saute until they start to get soft and translucent. Add small amounts of water if necessary to keep them from sticking and browning. When translucent, add the sea salt and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Add 4 cups of hot water (from the pot), lentils and kombu to the lentils. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
4. At 15 minutes add 4 more cups of hot water, the mushrooms, kale, collard greens and broccoli. Simmer gently until the broccoli is barely tender, about 5 minutes.
5. Measure the miso into a bowl. Add some of the soup broth and mix well taking care to dissolve any clumps. Reduce the heat so the soup is on a really low simmer. Stir in the miso. Let simmer for a few minutes to activate the miso. Taste and adjust flavors, adding a little more miso if desired.
6. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in the tahini and parsley.
7. Serve with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!