Syrian Lentil and Chard Soup

26 Jan
Alayna: Swiss chard tastes like everything I love about the jungle when it rains (don’t post that on the blog)

Soupsters, meet our new friend Mr. Swiss Chard. What’s one of my favorite things about Monday’s Soups you ask? It’s getting to know new vegetables that I used to be scared of and would avoid in the market. And then getting to know them so well I start to call them by names (think Ernst the Eggplant).

Last week, somewhat impulsively, I was meandering around Whole Foods when I noticed they had big leafy bunches of swiss chard. Even though it was a Saturday (aka not Monday) I bought it and immediately texted Alayna. You see Alayna and I have been occasionally swapping in kale for chard because sometimes it’s difficult to find chard. I think deep down inside we both knew we were sort of avoiding chard because we are both creatures who do not like change (not “change” as in living in a different cultures/meeting new people, but “change” as in not eating an apple at exactly 11am every morning. We’re Virgos, it’s a weakness.). Regardless, I should have tried chard earlier. I am hyper aware that it’s so freaking healthy for you. So why on earth was I scared of a leafy vegetable that tastes like our natural habitat, it’s way up my alley… I am proud to say that today my friends, we are no longer chard virgins.

Last night, as Alayna and I very happily enjoyed this WONDERFUL soup and said how much we love chard we mused how last time this year we met Ms. Kale. To think a year ago I didn’t cook with kale. Ah. Mazing. How did I eat kale chips? What did I add to stews? I have no idea.

I sense Swiss (and Rainbow) chard will enter my life with the same sustainability and joy– yes, joy– as kale has. Man, do I love leaves.

Lastly, enjoy rainbow chard’s red stems! I might have had a little freak when Alayna added them to the soup and I thought Red = Poison. But yeah, I’m a neurotic nutbag and we’re both still ticking today.

Syrian Lentil and Chard Soup

*Little known fact, although I have measuring cups, I mostly just measure things in mugs. Not sure why, but it’s true. Also: still don’t have measuring spoons… don’t find it impedes baking at all
** This soup apparently is supposed to be served cold, although it was delicious warm

  • in a smaller pot, put two mugs of green lentils in with 2 mugs of water and one mug of chicken broth (or all water if your vegan/veg), cover and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more broth or water as necessary to keep it pretty liquid
  • after about twenty minutes of pot one cooking, chop up about 6 cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil, adding one chopped yellow onion and 4 chopped celery sticks when the garlic gets fragrant (about 5 minutes)
  • tear two bunches of rainbow (or regular) swiss chard into pieces and chop up the stems, rinsing before you put them into the pot
  • when the onion and celery are getting translucent, add the chard to the big pot and cook covered for about 5-7 minutes until wilted
  • add in the lentils and stir in the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste and more chicken broth or water to get it to a soupy consistency
  • Let it all simmer together a few more minutes and enjoy!
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