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Lemony Red Lentil Soup with Chard

Lentils are little culinary superstars, amazingly versatile and incredibly nutritious. Here they add a creamy, toothy texture to a light yet satisfying soup with savory aromatics and flavorful greens. Lemon brightens all the flavors and ties the dish together beautifully. 

Don’t let those cute little lentils fool you; there’s powerful nutrition in this dish. Lentils are packed with fiber and protein, along with folate, iron, and other key minerals. Like spinach, chard is a Mediterranean favorite and an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus minerals like magnesium and potassium.

This soup is hearty enough to anchor a meal with or without meat—or scoop it up with a fresh, warm pita for a light Mediterranean-style lunch.

Serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, washed well and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 cups red lentils, washed
1 small strip kombu, about 1x3 inches (see note)
1 bunch (about 12oz) red or Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves cut into ribbons
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges (for garnish)

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks, garlic, and celery, and cook for 5 minutes or until leeks are clear. Add broth, water, bay leaves, lentils, and kombu, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Add chard, lemon juice, and zest, and continue simmering 10 minutes more, or until the greens are wilted and tender.

Before serving, remove bay leaves and kombu. Stir in parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into bowls or mugs and garnish with lemon wedges, if you like.

Note:  Kombu is a sea vegetable, a variety of kelp, that’s dried in sheets. It brings a savory umami flavor, along with nutrients and minerals, to a range of dishes. You can find it in the Asian section of most well-stocked supermarkets, or from many vendors online.

PER SERVING (1 cup): 216 calories, 3g fat (2g monounsaturated, 1g polyunsaturated, 0g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 187mg sodium, 37g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 7g fiber.


Photo, recipe, and nutritional information courtesy of our friends at; you’ll find their original recipe—and lots more—here.


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