The crisp, cool days of autumn have arrived. This delicious lentil and Swiss chard soup is a lovely welcome to the first days of autumn; season with toasted cumin seeds, toasted coriander seeds, toasted fennel seeds lemon, and serve with feta. Hands-down the best brown lentil soup I've ever had.
I used 1 cup of dry lentils, rinsed, and simmered with onions, garlic, and carrots. And chickpeas for a little extra protein and nuttiness.
Earthy Swiss chard perfectly complements the lentils and chickpeas in this soup, and I especially love sneaking in the char stems while the lentils are simmering. See the little pieces in the soup that look like celery? It's actually chard stems! Since the chard leaves are relatively tender, I add them once the lentils are almost cooked.
What make this soup extra special, is the freshly toasted and ground spices. I toasted whole cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds until fragrant and then ground to a powder in a mortal and pestle. You can add the seasoning to taste to the soup and finish with fresh lemon juice.
Swiss chard lentil soup
1 cup green or brown lentils
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems sliced into 1/4" pieces and leaves coarsely chopped, separated
1 15oz can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green chili, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 cups broth
3-4 cups water
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
fresh lemon juice
optional: good feta and olive oil for garnish
In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, saute for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of water and cover, let cook for another 3 minutes. Add carrots and green chili, stir to coat well, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add lentils and stir for another minute. Add the vegetable broth and 3 cups of water, bring to a boil. Add chick peas and chard stems, and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and let simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Add 1 cup of water if needed.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool. In a mortal and pestle or other grinder, grind whole spices to a powder.
Add half of Swiss chard, stir in until wilted, then repeat with remaining chard. Add ground spices, sea salt, and pepper to taste. Add fresh lemon juice to taste.
Serve hot, garnished with good feta and olive oil if you like.