This chard and spinach soup gets complex flavor from slowly cooked onions and lemon juice, while a sprinkle of rice gives it body and a velvety texture. Serve with a swirl of fruity, fragrant extra-virgin olive oil for richness.

Anna Thomas
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 cups water and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven; add rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard (save for another use, such as to add to a stir-fry or other soup). Coarsely chop the chard greens and spinach.

  • When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, stir in the chard greens. Return to a simmer; cover and cook for 10 minutes. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the rice along with the spinach, broth and cayenne. Return to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once, until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more.

  • Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until perfectly smooth or in a regular blender in batches (return it to the pot). Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil.


To make ahead: Prepare through Step 4 (omitting the lemon), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Season with lemon just before serving.

Nutrition Facts

95 calories; protein 3g 6% DV; carbohydrates 13.3g 4% DV; exchange other carbs 1; dietary fiber 3.1g 12% DV; sugars 3.4g; fat 3.8g 6% DV; saturated fat 0.6g 3% DV; cholesterolmg; vitamin a iu 7461.9IU 149% DV; vitamin c 32.5mg 54% DV; folate 98mcg 25% DV; calcium 92.7mg 9% DV; iron 2.5mg 14% DV; magnesium 84.3mg 30% DV; potassium 510.1mg 14% DV; sodium 446.7mg 18% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 7% DV.

Reviews (15)

Read More Reviews
15 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
This soup is wonderful!! I added parsley and next time would also throw in some minced garlic. This is a wonderful soup thanks Anna Thomas! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
LOVE this soup! I've been making it on and off for many years and just made another batch today. It's been a while since I last made it and had to look up the recipe and decided to share my changes. I added an extra pound of baby kale and a few carrots. I also used 1/2 cup red bulgar and 1/2 cup barley instead of the 1/4 cup rice. It really made this soup thick and added a meatiness to it. Lots of different flavors and so satisfying- I can't believe it's vegan. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I have a question the recipe calls for 14 cups gently packed spinach (about 12 ounces) any tough stems trimmed but 12 ounces seems much less than 14 cups. Does it really call for 14 cups? Many thanks Read More
Rating: 5 stars
It IS easy being green! I used red chard and got everything going- but held off until the very end to add the vegetable broth. Excellent stuff.You can add all sorts of goodies or just drizzle a swirl of oil as shown in their photo. I used garlic infused oil and three grilled shrimp. Pros: Lovely rich flavor and a great canvas base for others.... Cons: Best if you have an immersion blender. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Actually I have a question. Should the rice be cooked before or not? Read More
Rating: 4 stars
KICK IT UP! My wife and I made this for the first time the other night. Since we already had a bunch of flat leaf parsely and a bunch of cilantro we added those to a mix of fresh kale and baby spinach. We make a spinach tortellini soup that uses a whole bulb of minced garlic and it's awesome so next time we make this green soup we plan to add a whole bulb of minced garlic and add one more onion to boost the flavor. And perhaps another 1/4 cup of rice for a little more thickening. But our first batch of soup was so good we nearly ate it all drizzled with fresh EVOO and a side of toasted Pumpernickel bread. Pros: Easy to modify Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Amazing! This will be a new staple for sure. I was dubious that it would taste great with such few and pungent ingredients; but it really is sweet and savory. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I made this using kale and spinach. I also added some mushrooms to the onion mixture after it had cooked down most of the way. Delicious! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
BEST SOUP EVER! I love this soup. I call it happy soup because it makes my senses soar and my body feel amazing... I actually feel happier during and after eating it. Filling high in fiber and low-calorie to boot! Tastes great cold too so I can still eat it in the summer. I love spicy foods so I add extra cayenne. I have never distributed a recipe as often as I have this one. Thank you Anna Thomas & Eating Well! Pros: Delicious low-calorie smells amazing rich in vitamins Read More
Rating: 4 stars
delicious soup! I agree with the reviewer who said the soup was better next day I did like it the night before but for lunch on Day 2 the flavor was much deeper. I want this to be thicker/creamier so next time I'll use less broth (probably greens can vary in water content too) and may use more rice or a different starch to thicken. Kids liked theirs with shredded cheddar on top. Pros: easy to make healthy kid-friendly Cons: watch the broth/water addition Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Flexible Delicious and Freeze-able I've made this soup several times now usually with variations. The spinach is absolutely necessary for the sweetness. I used kale instead of chard and it made it slightly more bitter. When using greens from our CSA there's a bit of prep time because if you're using something like kale you have to clean and get out the fibrous stems. Making it the first time is the hardest because of the two pots going at the same time but after that it's easy. I use an immersion blender which saves on the cleaning and I highly recommend it instead of a food processor (why make more dishes to clean?). This soup freezes really well especially into numerous small bowls to grab to take to work for lunch to be microwaved. I also highly recommend a swirl of plain yogurt or sour cream. It adds a bit to the calories and fat and makes the soup not vegan but it makes the soup much heartier--a true meal by itself--and gives it a silky texture. Pros: Can Be Frozen Flexible for some Ingredients Cons: Makes a lot of dirty pots and pans; high prep time if you buy loose greens Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Flexible healthy I love how flexible this basic recipe is. I intend to start making this soup every other week or so to inject some greens into our diet! Will experiment with throwing in some garlic in the future. Lemon juice adds a lot. Pros: Flexible healthy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fantastic and versatile recipe My almost-four-year-old and I have made this soup for dinner 3-4 times now always with a different combination of greens and a different starch to thicken it. As members of a farmshare we are constantly getting bunches and bunches of greens -- kale collards bok choi tatsoi endive etc. etc. -- especially this fall. Frankly I was getting REALLY tired of the usual kale chips sauteed greens or stir fries/pastas and the only way that the kid would eat greens was the kale chips. Since he really likes other pureed soups like tomato butternut squash etc. I hoped this one would also be a winner and it has been. The first time I made it I had a bunch of kale and some unidentifiable VERY bitter green but the soup was delicious even without the sweeter spinach touch. That time I followed the directions to the T. Since then I've been making it a bit differently each time... Tonight we had four different greens a skin-on Yukon Gold potato for the starch and a bunch of homemade stock from last night's roast Polyface Farm chicken. Wow. Guess this version isn't appropriate for vegetarians but it sure was good. Thanks for such a fantastic and versatile recipe! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Skeptical at first but... YUM! Light healthy yummy... I was really skeptical the night that I made it. I thought it had a canned spinach flavor to it (hubby disagreed). I cook ahead for the week's lunches and when I had this the following day for lunch I was blown away!!! No canned spinach taste. Light lemony flavor. I can see how the recipe may become addicting. The pinch of cayenne is a necessity. It changes everything! Pros: Easy Cons: Takes awhile for the onions to carmelize Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Wonerful Loved this soup. I accidentally bought parsley instead of kale (not sure how it happened really). But it was still wonderful. I'll definitely make it again. I was surprised by the flavor--initially I thought I would be on the fence but it turned out great. I'll make it with the kale next time. Pros: bright green attractive color earthy-rich flavor Cons: could perhaps be a little thicker Read More