Lentil and Greens Soup

comments (8) January 15th, 2012

Pin It

cookinwithherbs susan belsinger, contributor
thumbs up 1 user recommends

This hearty soup is even better the next day after you make it.  Use any greens that you want, or a combination of them. I like a little grated Parmigniano for garnish.Click To Enlarge

This hearty soup is even better the next day after you make it.  Use any greens that you want, or a combination of them. I like a little grated Parmigniano for garnish.

Photo: Susan Belsinger

Serves 6 to 8

2 to 6 cups loosely-packed, shredded green leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound lentils
3 bay leaves
8 to 10 cups warm vegetable stock or water
6 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
2 to 3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
Few pinches cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Lemon juice or sumac, optional

My maternal grandmother, Mema Ella, who was Irish and married to a German used to make Lentil Soup on New Year’s Eve for good luck in the new year. Hers was more like a vegetable soup with potatoes, carrots and celery. Lentil soup is a traditional dish served in Israel, Syria and Lebanon, as well as North Africa, though it comes in many guises. I often add a few tablespoons of Za’atar, when I want that exotic spice flavor. Both green and red lentils are popular, onions and garlic are often added, along with various spices and herbs, and sometimes rice, potatoes or bulgur; greens like spinach or chard are a vitamin-rich addition.

You can use any greens in this recipe from the milder spinach, tat-soi or chard to the heartier kale, broccoli rabe, dandelion or collards. With the stronger greens, heftier greens, remove the tough ribs and use 2 to 4 cups of shredded leaves; with the milder greens you can use 4 to 6 cups of shredded leaves. Also note that thicker greens take longer to cook and soften whereas spinach and tat-soi wilt quickly.

Wash the greens, remove the stems if big or tough, stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into chiffonade (wide shreds). In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lentils and bay leaves and stir for a minute. Carefully add 1 cup of stock and stir, then add another 7 cups of stock. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic, oregano, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, stir to combine and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes until lentils are tender. Add the heartier greens like kale, collards, broccoli rabe or dandelion at this time as they take longer to cook than spinach or tat-soi leaves; they will need a good 15 to 20 minutes. Or, add the milder shredded greens, stir, cover and cook 5 minutes more.

Taste for seasoning and adjust with more salt, pepper, or cayenne. Add another cup or two of stock if need be. Just before serving, add a generous squeeze of lemon or about 1/2 teaspoon of sumac, if desired. Serve hot; the soup can be made ahead and gently reheated. Garnish with grated parmesan if desired; or sometimes I stir in a spoonful of Greek yogurt.


posted in: greens, lentils, winter greens, lentil and greens soup

Comments (8)

harjotsingh25 writes: I like this.
Posted: 6:05 am on August 18th
rickyfletcher writes: wow nice soup
Posted: 5:40 am on February 16th
DimJone writes: nice share ...
Posted: 4:39 am on February 16th
roberto15 writes: awesome tast
Posted: 3:41 am on February 16th
preston10 writes: very Yummy
Posted: 1:53 am on February 16th
bobbyevans6 writes: Interesting
Posted: 1:45 am on January 2nd
cookinwithherbs writes: you go girl! was it good? i love lentil soup and use both the green and the red. any greens will do.
Posted: 8:07 pm on January 30th
gertcoleman writes: My German-Hungarian father used to make lentil soup for New Year's Eve, too. The first spoonful would tell how prosperous you would be in the new year. We'd all try to take a huge spoonful with as many lentils as possible, for each lentil represented each dollar you'd make in the coming year. I have red lentils, some Za’atar from Pat Crocker, spinach and lots of potatoes. I will make this soup for dinner tonight. Thanks, Susan!
Posted: 8:29 am on January 24th
Log in or create a free account to post a comment.