Garlicky Kale, Lentils, and Tempeh Bacon over Quinoa

Try to contain yourself. I’m actually posting twice in a month, and I’ve actually written a recipe, if you can call it that. I’d been dreaming about something smokey, with tempeh, some sort of bean or lentil, and greens over a grain, and since I generally always have greens, beans, grains, and some sort of tempeh in my pantry and refrigerator. This dish comes together really quickly; dinner was on the table in about 45 minutes, which is great if you’re like me, and can’t decide what to make some evenings until you’re ravenous.

When I make this again, I’ll add lemon zest to the quinoa, and some toasted pine nuts to the greens mixture.  It’s very tasty as is, but I think the extra elements would take it over the top.

Kale with Lentils and Tempeh Bacon

Garlicky Kale, Lentils, and Tempeh Bacon over Quinoa

serves 4-6

Kale and Lentils:

2 tsp olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup chopped onion

1 package Tempeh Bacon Strips

1/4 cup white wine or water

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used French Green Lentils, but really, any lentils that hold their shape well after being cooked would work)

1 large bunch of kale (I used Dino Kale), rinsed very well, and chopped or torn into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup golden raisins (optional, if you simply must leave them out)

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1 cup uncooked quinoa

generous pinch of salt

scant 2 cups water

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat for a few minutes, then add the tempeh bacon and sautè for about 5 minutes, until the tempeh is nicely browned. Add the garlic and onion, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5-10 minutes until the onion is just lightly browned and fragrant. Add the wine or water, and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the lentils, stir, then add kale on top of the mixture, reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot while you prepare the quinoa.

Heat the uncooked quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until just lightly toasted. I learned this method from bazu over at Where’s The Revolution. It is much, much easier than rinsing, and works just as well. Add the water and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and the “little tails” appear. If you’ve never made quinoa before, you’ll see what I mean when it is fully cooked.

Add raisins to pot containing kale and lentils, and gently fold in the kale and raisins. Add the balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and stir again to combine. Cover the pot and let simmer for about 20 minutes, checking occassionally and adding additional liquid if the pot becomes too dry. I usually need to add about 1/4 cup of extra liquid, depending on how much water is clinging to the leaves of the greens.

When the quinoa is done, pile some on a plate with a generous helping of the greens mixture, and enjoy.

5 Responses to “Garlicky Kale, Lentils, and Tempeh Bacon over Quinoa”
  1. celine says:

    holy crap, you’re actually posting. I just fell off my chair.

    • lucianaskitchen says:

      I know, it’s crazy, I almost can’t believe it myself. I’m hoping I gain some momentum, and that it lasts!

  2. chefsteven says:

    I had leftover lentils and added fresh swiss chard and peas, then roasted fresh corn, and a little red poblano and the the tempeh. Enjoyed your recipes. Keep on cooking

  3. I grow the most amazing kale in my organic garden every year — it loves the soil that I have! I’m always looking for new recipes for it and this one looks real yummy. I think that the toasted pine nuts will add to the flavor – great idea! (I could put pine nuts in everything I make! 😉 !)

  4. Dad says:

    Okay, I have to admit that it is kinda strange that I am getting recipes from my daughter who would help me divise strategies for eating the most at Fisherman’s Wharf buffets. However, with all of my allergies but love for all good, I will now become the vegan parent in training and download to my delight.
    I love your food and the guys at the Pentagon did too. They always knew when you were home on college breaks because I would rush home to eat.
    Have a Great Birthday Meal for me. We will transfer smells over the phone like the old days.

    Love YOU More,


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