Dipping your toes into the meatless meals pool? This Lentil Swiss Chard Soup with Orange Zest is a great place to start.
Thanks to Hillary Davis, I finally know what my lentil soup has been missing all of these years – orange zest!
Hillary, author of the new book Cuisine Niçoise: Sun-Kissed Cooking from the French Riviera (affiliate link) and creator of Marché Dimanche, creates a lovely vegetarian protein-packed soup using lentils and Swiss chard but gives it a punch of citrus. I’ve made lentil soup many times (e.g. Turkey Lentil Soup), but I love the brightness that the orange flavor provides in this lentil Swiss chard soup. I also like the nutritional boost of the greens.
“There is no doubt that Swiss chard reigns supreme in Niçoise cooking,” Hillary said. “It is enjoyed in soups, gratins, gnocchi, omelets, salads and tarts.”
Note to self: Add Nice to travel bucket list.
Changes I Made to Hillary’s Lentil Swiss Chard Soup Recipe
This soup is hearty, but bright and citrusy. Here are a few minor changes I made to the recipe:
- Used a combination of brown and green lentils because that’s what I had in the pantry. They were kind of old, so I soaked them in water overnight, then rinsed and drained them before I added them to the soup. Du Puy lentils, dubbed the “caviar of lentils,” are grown in the le Puy region of south central France. Use them if you can find them (and if you don’t have a ton of other types of lentils in the pantry begging to be used).
- Opted for Swiss chard with red stalks and I used vegetable stock instead of chicken.
- Reduced the amount of olive oil to 2 tablespoons.
- Used the zest of one orange – half was added with the lentils and half was added as a garnish.
Other Recipes from Cuisine Niçoise
If you haven’t noticed, I adore Hillary and her book. Her style of cooking reminds me so much of Patricia Wells – simple, flavorful and healthy.
A few of my friends have been cooking from Cuisine Niçoise as well. Check out Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine’s version of Pasta Salad with Olive Pistou and Swiss Chard Omelet plus Cookistry’s Angel Hair Pasta with Friday Sauce. And if you haven’t tried the Broccoli Polenta with Tomato Sauce that I posted last week, you must add it to your to-cook list immediately.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Cuisine Niçoise: Sun-Kissed Cooking from the French Riviera by Hillary Davis from Gibbs Smith plus a second copy to give away. All opinions are my own. This post contains at least one affiliate link. See my disclosures page for more information.
Lentil Swiss Chard Soup with Orange Zest
- 1 1/4 cups lentils du Puy
- 1 stalk Swiss chard washed and patted dry
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves only
- 2 strips orange rind finely minced, plus zest of 1/2 orange
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 1 small hunk Parmesan cheese
Place the lentils in a fine sieve and rinse under running water.
Slice the leaves from the Swiss chard, then slice the stalk into 1/4-inch pieces. Roll the leaves tightly, slice them, then finely chop.
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the lentils, stock, thyme, minced orange rind, Swiss chard stalk (reserve the leaves), salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the Swiss chard leaves and grated carrot, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add water if the soup is getting too thick. Taste and adjust salt.
Ladle into a soup tureen or individual bowls, and sprinkle with the orange zest. Serve Parmesan cheese on a small plate with a grater on the side.
The nutritional information was calculated using vegetable stock and 1/2 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese per serving.
Watching sodium? Cut back or eliminate the added salt and/or use less Parmesan cheese.
Watching fat? The nutritional information assumes you used the full 3 tablespoons of olive oil. If you reduce that to 2 tablespoons like I did, you’ll save yourself 4g of fat.
Vegan? Use vegetable stock and skip the Parmesan.
Too many carbs? Reduce your portion size and add a big salad on the side.