Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Cumin and Lemon

Adapted from Anna Thomas, Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The Vegetarian Epicure

This soup goes well served with your grain of choice (brown rice, barley, or farro) and beans can be added at the end of cooking for a heartier meal.


2 large leeks
1 large onion
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt, more to taste
1 medium sweet potato
1 small Yukon gold or white potato
1 bunch of kale (any kale is fine, but Red Russian is particularly good)
3-4 green onions, sliced
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2- 3 cups vegetable broth
fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs. cumin seed
1-2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
a pinch of hot pepper
optional garnish: additional fruity green olive oil, crumbled feta cheese


Thoroughly wash and coarsely chop the leeks, and chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and start sautéing the onions, with a sprinkle of salt. When they are translucent and soft, add the leeks and keep cooking, stirring often, until all the vegetables are golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and cut both potatoes in 1/2 inch dice. Chop kale coarsely. Combine the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and kale in a soup pot with 5 cups water and a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

Add the sautéed leeks and onions to the pot, along with the sliced green onions, cilantro, and a lot of fresh ground black pepper. Add as much of the vegetable broth as you need to give the soup a nice consistency - this is a hearty soup, but not a stew, and it should pour easily from a ladle. Simmer the soup gently, covered, for about ten more minutes.

Lightly toast the cumin seed in a dry pan, just until it is fragrant, and grind it in a mortar or spice grinder. Stir the cumin seed and a spoonful of lemon juice into the soup, and taste. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice as needed, and finish with a pinch of cayenne or any red pepper.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls. If interested, garnish with olive oil, a heaping spoonful of tangy crumbled feta cheese, or homemade croutons. This soup goes well served with brown rice, barley, or farro.