Smoky Chickpea, Cabbage & Lentil Soup with Kale

Created by Laura Wright
4.93 from 28 votes

Smoky chickpea, cabbage, and lentil soup with kale is hearty, deep and rich with flavour, rich in plant-based protein, and easy to prepare!


I love posting a hearty stew for you all on the first week of the year. Something to reset the body and mind, and to nourish the soul as well. If you have the time and space, lingering over a slow-simmering pot of goodness as it cooks is a very soothing activity. New year soups from the archives: seven spice chickpea stew with tomatoes and coconut, deep green lentil stew with tahini, and creamy white bean soup with lemon.

This time of year is pretty intense on an energetic level. A new year presents the opportunity to take stock and look forward with intention. I generally take every day as it comes, but we could all probably use a grounding meal to keep us in the moment right now.

With the indulgence and perhaps excess of the holidays behind us, a simple and flavourful pot of vegetables and beans feels like a wave of relief. Big batches of stew like this one can also conveniently feed you for a few days as well. I’m not a big leftovers person, but soups and stews are different. This one has lots of greens and a deeply satisfying hint of smokiness. I love finishing this stew with tamari for that extra layer of depth. This is a trick that I employ with a lot of my recipes!

Today is also the start of Veganuary! The mission of Veganuary is to inspire and support people abstaining from animal products for the month of January. It’s an incredible opportunity to try something new with a large community of people! There are lots of great reasons to participate: new cooking adventures, a mega-dose of vegetables after the holidays, positive climate impact, as well as a sense of peace, compassion & kindness. Lots of people try Veganuary and never go back, just sayin! I did a whole Q & A about Veganuary on Instagram and saved it to my story highlights if you’d like some further guidance or information!

Whatever goals, ambitions, or guiding ideas you have in mind for 2020, I hope to support you with wholesome food inspiration through it all. Happy new year! Make some soup :)


Smoky Chickpea, Lentil & Cabbage Stew with Kale

Smoky chickpea, cabbage, and lentil soup with kale is hearty, deep and rich with flavour, rich in plant-based protein, and easy to prepare!
4.93 from 28 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6


  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup French OR brown lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups finely chopped green cabbage (about ½ small savoy/green cabbage)
  • 1 15- oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed (or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 28- oz can crushed tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped kale, lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 3-4 drops liquid smoke (optional)


  • I realize that I am a broken record about vegetable stock, but I always recommend making your own! I have a great, simple recipe here. I’ve also made this slightly more involved one from Bon Appetit and it’s delicious.
  • I used Savoy cabbage, but regular green cabbage is great too.
  • This recipe freezes well minus the kale. Just stir in chopped kale as you reheat portions of it!
  • Optional, delicious things to add to this soup: chili flakes to taste, chopped rosemary (1 teaspoon), 1 chopped leek, chopped new potatoes (2 medium), chopped fennel (1 bulb)


  • Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once heated, pour in the oil. Add the onions and carrots to the pot and stir. The vegetables should sizzle, but just barely. Continue to saute until the onions are very soft and starting to break down, about 5 minutes. If vegetables begin to brown too fast, lower the heat a bit.
  • Add the paprika, thyme, and garlic to the pot and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste to the pot and continue to stir until the raw/tin-y flavour of the tomato paste is cooked out, about 1 minute. Season everything with salt and pepper.
  • Add the lentils, cabbage, and chickpeas to the pot and stir to coat in the spices and oil. Season everything again with salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pot and stir.
  • Place a lid on the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer, remove the lid, and cook uncovered until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.
  • Once the lentils are tender, stir in the chopped kale and bring the soup back up to a boil. Cook until kale is bright green and tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the tamari and liquid smoke (if using). Check the soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve the smoky chickpea, lentil, and cabbage soup hot!

01/01/2020 (Last Updated 18/03/2024)
Posted in: autumn, carrots, chickpeas, earthy, gluten free, kale, lentils, main course, nut free, refined sugar-free, salty, smoky, soup, sour, spring, tomatoes, umami, vegan, winter


4.93 from 28 votes (19 ratings without comment)

Recipe Rating

  • Jt

    Any nutritional info for this recipe? It’s delish

  • Alexandre

    5 stars
    Very good!

  • Neil

    4 stars
    I think you need to deglaze between steps 2 and 3. Very hard to release the fond with the cabbage in there.

  • Melody

    I only have green and red lentils…will either of these work or are the cook times for these varieties an issue??

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Melody,
      Green lentils will be good here! They might take a bit longer to cook though.

  • Deborah Timlin

    5 stars
    This soup was delicious. I did not use the liquid smoke but it didn’t even need it. Such a rich, full bodied soup.

  • Marissa

    4 stars
    Really enjoyed this recipe! Flavors are amazing. I have one small gripe and it’s just about the serving size. It says 6-8, and I know it’s subjective, but it only fed 4 adults. I’ll definitely be increasing the broth and veggies next time!

  • Mona

    How much paprika?

    • Laura

      Hi Mona,
      It’s 1/2 of a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Is the recipe not loading for you?

  • Rachel

    5 stars
    Im loving this recipe and very intrigued! Is there a specific need for that “particular” soy sauce? I need to know if it’s a make or break ingredient. TIA!

    • Laura

      Hi Rachel,
      Use whichever one you have! :)

  • Catharine

    5 stars
    This recipe freezes well ! I had it in a sealed Pyrex bowl in a freezer bag …for 1 year ~ not kidding ! Defrosted it thoroughly and heated ~ still amazing ~ Fresh & Flavourful 

  • Lauren

    I completely confused savoy with Napa when I went o the store… d’you think Napa cabbage will be alright? Whoops!

    • Laura

      Hey Lauren!
      Napa cabbage will be great here :)

  • Jana

    5 stars
    Made this for lunch for my parents today and we all really enjoyed it. I left out the kale and added about 1 teaspoon of caraway seed (a spice us Germans tend to pair with any kind of dish that contains cabbage, ha), and it was very delicious. Thank you for all your recipes, they’re always spot on! :) 

  • Monica

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I had many items on hand and was perfect protein kick for hubby. A quick yet super flavorful meal, thank you! 

  • Catharine

    5 stars
    Amazing !!! A big hit with the Fam. I actually had all of the ingredients on hand :)
     I added precooked lentils and fresh kalettes (yum) at #4 so was ready in no time. Also used apple cider vinegar instead of soy. 
    This recipe makes a huge portion – I will 1/2 next time 

  • Markys

    I’ve made this like 15 times since the beginning of the year and I love it and so does my family! Thanks a lot! 

  • Claudia

    If you are using a leek, at what point would you add it? Thanks!

    • Laura

      Hi Claudia,
      I would add it just before the paprika, thyme and garlic.

  • Hollie

    Do you think it would be a mistake to use red cabbage?

    • Laura

      Hi Hollie,
      It will still be delicious and hearty, but the colour might be a bit off. If that doesn’t bother you, I say go ahead and use it! :)

  • Sara

    I’ve made this soup twice now and no doubt will make it several more times while the cold weather lasts. So hearty and wholesome! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Rebecca McKenna

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious, always looking for hearty wholesome dishes like this especially in the winter months. I find kale such a difficult green to cook right and I will be recommending this to friends!

  • Thera

    I just made this. It is so tasty! I added a few more drops of liquid smoke and stirred in some apple cider vinegar at the end. In so excited to be eating this all week and pulling some more out of the freezer in weeks to come!

  • Jill

    Made this last night and it was spot on…only modification was an extra can of chickpeas

  • Charlene

    Made this tonight and was amazed! So DELICIOUS! The liquid smoke is a must. So much flavour and so many veggie options to include. Thank you for this recipe!!!

  • Deborah

    I made this stew yesterday and it was amazing!!! Thank you so much :)

  • Eydie Desser

    Oh my goodness! This looks so delicious. I make a cabbage soup with mustard…very light. This is perfect for the winter time. Thank you for your recipe!

    PS: I’m a big fan.

    • Use

      Would you be so kind as to email your cabbage soup with mustard recipe to me ?
      I’m just a grandma wanting to pass on my cooking passion to my grands as part of their life skills training.

  • Amy Jarboe

    Where are the bowls from? Also happy new year! Thanks for all your amazing recipes. They got me through the holidays!

    • Laura

      Hi Amy,
      Thank you so much. The bowls were a random Home Goods find from a few years ago!