2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 (16 ounce) package dry lentils
1 (24 ounce) jar chunky-style salsa
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, washed and chopped
Pick over the lentils, removing any foreign matter.
Rubbing the lentils between your hands, wash in repeated changes of water (maybe 5-6) until the water is clear.
Drain and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Cook and stir shredded carrot, chopped onion and minced garlic in the hot oil until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. (I add the garlic the last 2 minutes so it won't burn.)
Pour vegetable broth into the pot.
Stir lentils and salsa into the broth mixture.
Bring to a boil, place a cover on the pot, lower the heat and cook at a simmer until the lentils are softened, about 45 minutes.
Season the lentil mixture with cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Stir kale into the lentil mixture.
Replace the cover onto the pot and cook just until the kale is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.
Variations as per one reviewer:
(1) Add adobo sauce, cumin and cilantro for a more southwestern flavor
(2) Add turmeric, curry powder and paste (?) and ginger for a Mid-Eastern vibe
(3) Squeeze the juice from one lemon into the soup just before serving