The Lebanese lentil and chard soup is a hearty meal that is pantry cooking at its finest. This is simple yet elegant enough to serve to your guest. This stew is gluten-free, vegan, and on your table in 30 minutes! No wonder it's a Mediterranean classic.
Lebanese Lentil and Chard Soup
This one of my family's favourite recipes at this time of the year; there's nothing like a warm hug from a soul-satisfying bowl of earthy lentils. There's something magical about how amazing something so simple to make can taste so good and yet be so healthy for you.
The lentils may be small, but they are mighty!
They pack a powerful punch. They are packed full of fibre, 15.6 grams per cup. So eating two cups of my soup means that you have fulled your recommended amount of daily fibre. Lentils are a great source of protein, calcium, folic acid, magnesium and iron.
Lentils are also full of polyphenols. What are Polyphenols? They're active compounds that fight against harmful agents in the body. Polyphenols fight everything from ultraviolet rays and radiation to heart disease and cancer. That's pretty impressive if you ask me.
This recipe also uses the Palestinian version of pesto called Telkai to finish off this soup's flavour. I'll be honest here; I'm in love with using telkai. I use it in so many recipes. It's one of my favourite condiments. Telkai is just garlic sauteed in olive oil, then diced red jalapeno, cilantro, and lemon juice. OMG! It's so delicious. 🥰
Telkai is also another healing ingredient in this dish, but I'll save that one for another time. 😉
What do you need to make Lebanese Lentil and Chard Soup?
Lentils. For this recipe, it's best to stick with green or brown lentils. Red lentils will break down too much; although the soup will still be delicious, it won't be as beautiful to look at.
Onions. I stuck the trusty brown onion; you could get away with using shallots too. Cut your onion about the size of the lentils for quick cooking.
Potato. Any potato that's good for boiling is great for this soup. Yellow Finn, Yukon Gold, Round Red, Round White, and New Potatoes are often called waxy potatoes. Are the best choices for this recipe since they hold their shape after boiling.
Chard. I'm always surprised when people tell me they never tried chard or don't know what it is. The first question is often, "what does it taste like?" The best way to describe chard is between kale and spinach in the leaves and kind of like bok choy taste for the stems just a little bit grassier. In this stew, I only use the leaves. The stems can be used in this recipe.
Telkai is olive oil, ½ head of garlic, diced red jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and lemon juice. The recipe asks for more than you'll need for this recipe. Don't worry about it; just use it on Hummus, on eggs, in other soup, stews, and on top of steak, fish or chicken. The uses for this condiment are endless. If you hate cilantro, you can substitute with parsley.
How to make Lebenese Lentil and Chard Soup
Wash your Lentils. Lentils will often need to be sorted and washed. It's not uncommon to find little stones, wheat husks, sticks and other goodies. Just pick them out. Add the lentils to a bowl and fill with water. Rub the soaking lentil between your hands to give them a good cleaning. Empty the water and repeat the process until the water is clear.
Add to the Pot. Add the olive oil and onions to your pot sauteed until golden add potatoes, lentils, and stock.
Make the Teklai. In a small skillet, add about ¼ cup olive oil and 5 large cloves of finely chopped garlic, finely chopped red jalapeno and spice. I use a mini food processor to chop the garlic (No one likes smelly fingers, plus it's quicker). Once the garlic started to yellow and the smell is increasing, add the cilantro. Stir. Once the cilantro is cooked, remove from heat and add lemon and salt.
The Finishing Touches. Now, your soup is done, the teklai is done. Fold the chard leaves into the soup and cover the soup for 1-2 minutes. I usually get the table ready at this time. You have two choices to do with the teklai; you can add ½ of it to the soup, or you can spoon some of it on the bowl of stew and set out the extra in a serving dish. I'll let you decide. 😉 Add the lemon and adjust the salt if needed, and now you're ready to serve!
Loved the Lebanese Lentil and Chard soup? Here's more soup inspiration!
Lebanese Lentil and Chard Soup
- ⅔ cups green or brown lentil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 cups of vegetable stock or chicken
- 1 large potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
- ½ bunch of chard leaves removed from the stocks. Stocks finely diced.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 5 garlic clove crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground corianders
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
- Prep your lentils. Wash lentil with cold water and drain. Check for any stone or other dabris in the lentils.
- Saute your onions. In a medium-sized pot (6qt) on medium-low heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the onions, and cumin. Cook until the onion are soft.
- Combine your ingredients. Then add lentils, potatoes, and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to the lentils to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes and remove any foam that comes to the surface.
- Simmer the soup. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and continue cooking for 20-30 mintues or until the lentils are soft but not completely falling a part. Stir occasionally. You may need more water if the soup becomes too thick.
- Prepare the Taklai: While the soup is cooking, it's time to prepare the Teklai: In a frying pan, heat the olive oil, then add garlic, jalapeno, and spices. Once the garlic has started to turn golden, about 2-4 minutes. Add the cilantro. Saute until the cilantro wilts. Add the lemon juice and salt. Set aside.
- Put it all together. Remove the soup from the heat and fold the chopped chard leaves and taklai into the soup and cover for 2-3 minutes to allow the chard to steam. Add ½ the teklai to the stew and serve the other half at the table in case anyone would like extra. Or you can just spoon a bit on each bowl of stew and serve the rest at the table. The choice is yours. 😉
- Final touch. Time for the best part, taste your soup. Adjust the salt if needed. Add the lemon juice just before serving