Very Green Lentil Soup

Very Green Lentil Soup

16 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook

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.

Ingredients 8 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup French green (Le Puy) or brown lentils
  • 8 large green chard leaves
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
  • 12 cups gently packed spinach (about 10 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground (see Tip)
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Crumbled feta cheese for garnish


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and ¼ 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.
  2. 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 ½ -inch dice. Chop spinach; set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 information

  • Serving size: about 1⅔ cups
  • Per serving: 181 calories; 4 g fat(1 g sat); 9 g fiber; 29 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 206 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 5,008 IU vitamin A; 28 mg vitamin C; 119 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 535 mg sodium; 793 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (100% daily value), Folate (52% dv), Vitamin C (47% dv), Iron (28% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 1½ vegetable, 1 lean protein, 1 starch, ½ fat

Reviews 16

February 04, 2018
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By: Cranky Frankie
used Kale and beans instead.. very nice
April 12, 2017
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By: Sharon
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.
February 16, 2017
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By: Teagan Sidsworth
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.
January 03, 2017
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By: Rebecca
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.
January 09, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
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.
March 11, 2014
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By: abner232
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.
January 03, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
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
May 19, 2012
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By: Lilly
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
February 20, 2012
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By: smtsidmore
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
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