Lentils seem to go well with just about anything, and here they play well with a collection of greens and some cumin and coriander to add a gentle spicy note to this soup recipe. The result is a hearty winter soup with layers of flavor. Both French green lentils (available in natural-foods stores and specialty markets) and more commonly available brown lentils are delicious in this soup. The French green lentils hold their shape better when cooked, while brown lentils will start to break down a bit. Source: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook

Anna Thomas


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 35 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, rinse lentils and pick out any small stones; combine the lentils with the remaining 4 cups water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard; chop the greens and slice the ribs (keep in separate piles). Cut potato into 1/2 -inch dice. Chop spinach; set aside.

  • When the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the chard ribs, potato, scallions, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

  • Stir in the chard leaves, broccoli, cumin and coriander. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the reserved spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeno and pepper; return to a simmer, cover and cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or pepper, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.


Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Grind to a fine powder in a spice mill, blender or clean coffee grinder.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

181 calories; total fat 4.2g 6% DV; saturated fat 0.6g; cholesterolmg; sodium 535mg 21% DV; potassium 793mg 22% DV; carbohydrates 28.5g 9% DV; fiber 9.4g 37% DV; sugar 5g; protein 9.3g 19% DV; exchange other carbs 2; vitamin a iu 5008IU; vitamin c 28mg; folate 206mcg; calcium 119mg; iron 5mg; magnesium 91mg; thiaminmg.

Reviews (16)

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16 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
used Kale and beans instead.. very nice Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I have love Anna Thomas's recipes since I first got her Vegetarian Epicure books decades ago. Always extraordinary. I would not change a thing about this recipe- followed it down to the grinding of the cumin- what a difference that made. I am always surprised at the endless tinkering of the recipes before trying a recipe and the sometimes odd suggestions afterward. Maybe we should all have our own cooking column. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I had never made a soup from scratch before and I'm glad I had such a success for my first time! This soup has so much flavour and nutrients and tastes amazing. I also added tumeric (cause why not) and dried mint because fresh wasn't available still great! This is going to be a winter favourite. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Deeply flavorful and healthy! This is a great soup. Besides caramelizing the onions it isn't really that much work--just some chopping. I used cayenne pepper instead of a jalapeno. Easy to add some protein if desired. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious and healthy. I took this soup to my book club soup and salad meeting. They all enjoy eating and I didn't think most of my book club friends would be very impressed with such a healthy soup. But they all asked for the recipe! Pros: Delicious and healthy. Cons: Takes a lot of different ingredients and time. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I have made this twice. I doubled the amount of lentils the second time as suggested and it was awesome. I also used two jalepenos and added more lemon juice. It makes a lot but it freezes well. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious but very time consuming Best soup ever! This soup is tasty healthy and hardy. The one draw back is that it's very time consuming to make. Lots of chopping and lots of steps in the cooking but I like cooking and don't mind the process if I plan to make this one night. Plus the recipe yields a good amount of soup so I think it's worth the effort. Pros: delicious uber healthy filling freeze for great leftovers Cons: extremely time consuming Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Pretty good but very time-consuming Next time I make this I will use more lentils and greens cut back on the cilantro and leave out the broccoli. The soup was wonderful the first night but the broccoli over-powered the other flavours after sitting in the fridge over-night. I didn't bother toasting and grinding the cumin - I'll leave that to the passionate foodies who have time for such nonsense.:) Pros: Healthy Cons: Time-consuming Read More
Rating: 4 stars
yummy healthy winter soup! This was surprisingly good..and loaded with flavor! We are not fans of lentils but the whole family enjoyed this. I think the key is in the green lentil..they really do hold their shape and do not have the same mushy consistency that the brown lentils have. I caramelized the onions removed them to a bowl then added the lentils and water. Added a bit to my time but was one less dish! I did not have any chard and only had a 7 oz bag of spinich. Not sure I would have enjoyed it as much with both leafy greens..too much leaf! I used ground cumin and that worked just fine and left out the mint...all worked well. Delicious soup! Pros: full of flavor Cons: time Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This soup does take a while to make but is really good. I used dino kale instead of chard. I topped it with a little goat cheese and avocado...so good! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Yes it takes time but...... Yes this takes time but totally worth it if you are looking for an uber healthy winter green soup. Plus we are so conditioned to super easy that we forget that if we want to eat healthy it is work! Other than the broth there is nothing prepackaged in this. I was worried hat it wouldn't have a lot of flavor but worried for nothing. Awesome with the fetta! I used regular cumin powder and I don't think it hurt the taste. Highly recommend! Pros: Healthy delicious Read More
Rating: 3 stars
a lot of work! This soup was delicious but it was a lot of work--lots of ingredients and lots of steps. Pros: Delicious! (And very healthy) Cons: A lot of work! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Worth the wait This soup is worth the wait in prep and cooking; complex flavor as soups go and give you a warm and satisfying veggie meal. Pros: Carmelized onions helathy soup Cons: Time-intensive Read More
Rating: 3 stars
A little fussy Lots of ingredients to chop and prep and some rather fussy steps such as toasting and grinding the cumin seeds. If I make this again I will use twice the recommended amount of lentils. This is more like a leafy green vegetable stew with lentils. See the simpler but also healthy and tasty cumin-scented wheat-berry lentil soup. Pros: Very healthy Cons: time consuming needs more lentils Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Fresh tasting and delicious twist on lentil soup! This may be my new favorite lentil soup! It's absolutely delicious and so fresh tasting -- the layers of flavor add depth to what is usually a one-note soup. While there are a lot of ingredients you can adjust the method to make it simpler (I cooked the lentils in the 4 cups of water while I cooked the onions down in a stock pot then added the lentils and greens to the onions and followed the steps from that point). The fresh lemon juice really pulls the whole soup together so don't leave it out! Delicious. Pros: Fresh tasting layers of flavor healthy healing Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Tasty The soup was fairly tasty AND your colon will thank you. It required quite a bit of baby sitting; add this wait 20 mins then add that then wait...you get the point. It is not a simmer and forget about it meal. It also needed a bit more heat so I added red pepper flakes. I might make it again. Pros: Healthy Cons: Time consuming Read More