Ottolenghi’s Red Lentil Soup with Chard, Cilantro, & Lemon

Red lentil soup is definitely one of my cold weather favorites. I have made all sorts of versions but all have been relatively smooth in texture. This version has spoonfuls with different consistencies from caramelized red onions, chopped rainbow chard, and cilantro. Incredible.

This recipe was adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I doubled the recipe below, used ground coriander, and added more fresh lemon juice. The authors declared that the squeeze of fresh lemon juice just prior to eating is essential. We ate it with sourdough baguette slices and a green salad.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups (500 g) split red lentils
  • 2 1/2 quarts (2.5 liters) cold water
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 7 oz (200 g) Swiss chard (I used rainbow chard)
  • 3 cups (50 g) cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 T coriander seeds or 1 T ground coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 1/2 T (50 g) unsalted butter
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sourdough bread, for serving
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Rinse the lentils in cold water.
  2. Place lentils in a saucepan with the water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 35 minutes, until soft. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface during cooking.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove about half the lentils from the cooking liquid and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Add a generous pinch of salt to the lentils and water int he pan and process with an immersion blender (or in a food processor).
  5. Return the reserved lentil to the soup.
  6. Peel the red onions, halve, and thinly slice them.
  7. Place onions in a frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions soften and become translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove the large stems from the Swiss chard and reserve for another use. Wash and rinse the leaves, then chop coarsely.
  9. Remove the large stems from the cilantro and discard. Wash and rinse the leaves, reserve a few leaves for garnish, and coarsely chop the remainder.
  10. Mix the cooked onions, chard leaves, and chopped cilantro into the lentil soup.
  11. Season the soup with the cumin, cinnamon, and some salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the soup and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  12. With a mortar and pestle, or using the flat blade of a large knife, crush the cilantro seeds and garlic together.
  13. Melt the butter gently in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic and coriander seeds, and fry for 2 minutes, until the garlic starts to color slightly.
  14. Stir the butter mixture and the lemon juice into the soup, remove the pot from the stove, and cover with a lid. Leave the soup to infuse for 5 minutes prior to serving.
  15. Serve garnished with lemon zest and cilantro with lemon wedges and sourdough bread on the side. Make sure everybody squeezes the lemon into their soup.

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Orecchiette with Greens, Mozzarella & Crispy Chickpeas

I love a recipe that gobbles up the greens from my CSA share. I have made this dish a couple of times using whatever combination of greens I had available. Recently, I used turnip greens, kale and spinach but I have also used chard and baby collard greens in the past. The classic combination of basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella was a nice complement to the sautéed greens as well.

This quick dish was adapted from a Food and Wine staff favorite recipe, contributed by Marcie Turney. I doubled the recipe, decreased the red pepper flakes, and increased amount of fresh mozzarella. SO delicious.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound greens such as Swiss chard, kale, turnip greens, spinach, stemmed and leaves coarsely chopped (or more, as desired)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 16 large basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium, deep skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the chickpeas and cook over high heat until crisp, 4 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel–lined plate, sprinkle with the cumin and coriander and season with salt and black pepper. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, 3 minutes.
  5. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until wilted, 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring until incorporated.
  7. Add the mozzarella and basil and toss. Add more pasta water, if necessary.
  8. Spoon the pasta into bowls, sprinkle with the chickpeas and serve.

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Greens & Cheese Quesadillas

I have received an exorbitant amount of Swiss chard in my CSA box so far this season. It’s a good thing that I absolutely love it! and… Who doesn’t love chard when it’s combined with fabulous cheese?!?!

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Gabriela Camara. I have made these quesadillas a couple of times with my CSA greens, using both raw milk extra (extra) sharp yellow cheddar (from Trader Joe’s) as well as Cabot extra sharp 3-year aged white cheddar. I have also used combination of greens including Swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, as well as baby bok choy.

I adapted the recipe by increasing the garlic as well as using a red onion, whole wheat flour tortillas, and chipotle salsa, avocados, fresh lime, and sour cream, for serving. I also microwaved the assembled quesadillas for a quick dinner! We ate them with refried beans on the side. Delicious.

Yield: Serves 4 for dinner or up to 8 as an appetizer

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola
  • ½ medium white or red onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 10 ounces Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, or a combination of greens including beet, turnip, or bok choy, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • coarse salt
  • 6 ounces Toma cheese or sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 8 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Salsa Roja, Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa Verde, or Trader Joe’s Chipotle Salsa, for serving
  • avocado slices and lime wedges, for serving, optional
  • sour cream, for serving, optional
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes.
  2. Add greens a handful at a time, letting wilt slightly before adding more. Pour in ½ cup water and cook, tossing occasionally, until greens are tender, 6–8 minutes.
  3. Add lime juice; season with salt. Transfer to a plate; let cool.
  4. Assemble the quesadillas: Place on tortilla on a large plate. Mound grated cheddar on top and spread evenly. Top with sautéed greens and another tortilla.
  5. Microwave for 1 minute, 35 seconds on high.
  6. Remove and slice into pieces. Repeat until all filling is used.
  7. Serve immediately with sliced avocado, prepared salsa, and sour cream, as desired.

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Greek Pie with Mixed Greens

I love all of the greens that I receive in my CSA share. Mixing different greens in the filling of this adaptation of Greek spinach pie, Spanakopita, made it incredibly flavorful.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. I used one-half pound of spinach in addition to approximately one pound of mixed CSA greens including red chard, beet greens, and kohlrabi greens in the filling. I sautéed the greens instead of boiling them as well. I doubled garlic and the onions, and used one yellow onion and one red onion.

Years ago, I made a “low-fat” savory pie with a phyllo pastry crust. The reduced-fat technique was using cooking oil spray between the layers of pastry instead of brushing them with butter or oil. I love it! I used this method when making this pie as well. Great.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, or mixed greens, stemmed and washed thoroughly
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of dill and parsley
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 12 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
  • cooking oil spray or 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or 2 tablespoons each melted butter and extra-virgin olive oil, combined, for brushing/spraying the phyllo pastry

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  1. Stem and slice the greens into ribbons, about 2-inches wide for more tender greens, and 1/2-inch wide for heartier greens. Wash them in 2 changes of water, lifting them from the water so that the dirt stays behind.
  2. Thinly slice the chard stems and soak in a bowl of water. Lift from the water like the greens.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF, preferably on convection. Oil or butter a 10-inch tart or cake pan (I used cooking spray and a 9-inch ceramic deep pie dish).
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions and rinsed chard stems. Cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds to a minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
  6. Stir in the damp greens. Sauté until wilted, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the herbs and adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat.
  8. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Crumble in the feta.
  9. Add egg-cheese mixture to the greens, mix to combine.
  10. Line the pie dish with 7 pieces of phyllo, spraying between each layer with cooking oil spray or lightly brushing each piece with butter or oil and turning the dish after each addition so that the edges of the phyllo drape evenly over the pan.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, fill with the greens mixture. IMG_4913
  12. Fold the draped edges in over the filling, lightly brushing the folded in sheets of phyllo, then layer the remaining 5 pieces on top, brushing each piece with cooking spray, butter or olive oil.
  13. Trim the edges and then stuff into the sides of the pan. Make a few slashes in the top crust so that steam can escape as the pie bakes. 
  14. Bake 40 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is golden. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature. 

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If you like this you may also like:

Light Italian Wedding Soup

This is a lighter version of this classic soup. It has turkey instead of pork meatballs. The meatballs are also cooked in the liquid instead of being fried. This soup is also loaded with greens.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I increased the garlic and used a combination of escarole and organic Tuscan kale instead of escarole alone. Swiss chard, beet greens, or broccoli rabe would also work well. It was very flavorful and hearty. Add some warm, crusty bread and it’s a perfect meal for the cold weather. 🙂

  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark-meat (93 percent lean)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 heads escarole (2 pounds total), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped or 1 head escarole (about 11 oz) and 1 bunch (about 12 oz) Tuscan kale, ribs removed
  1. In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using 1 tablespoon for each, roll mixture into balls. (I used a cookie scoop.)
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add broth and tomatoes (with juice); bring to a simmer.
  4. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to surface, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add as many greens to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining greens, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
  6. Thin soup with water if desired; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.

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Greens & Chayote Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

These wonderful, vegetarian, no-bake enchiladas claimed to be light and satisfying- a pretty accurate description! Perfect warm weather Mexican fare. Fresh and fabulous. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman.

Inspired by my food blog friends who have made their own birthday cakes, etc., I made this dish for my own birthday dinner!! I prepared the filling a day in advance (no work on the big day!) and we ate them after a relaxing day in the sunshine. My husband made my favorite Huevos Rancheros for breakfast (I am obviously a Mexican-food lover), and I was greeted with a surprise birthday cake from my girlfriend when I got home! ❤ What a great day! Maybe getting older isn’t so awful….

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I’m bringing my special dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #74 (belatedly, again…), co-hosted by Loretta @Safari of the Mind and Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking. As another surprise birthday gift, my dish from Fiesta Friday #73 was featured this week! Yay!! Check it out & Enjoy! 🙂

Yield: Serves 8

  • 1 pound Swiss or rainbow chard, or a combination
  • 2 medium-size chayote or summer squash (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut in small dice (4 cups diced)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 jalapeño or 2 to 3 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • ½ white onion, coarsely chopped
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 4 large peeled garlic cloves; 2 whole and 2 minced
  • 12 cilantro sprigs, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
  • 2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta

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  1. Peel and dice the chayote squash.
  2. Strip chard leaves from stems and wash in 2 changes of water. Keep leaves whole.
  3. Rinse chard stems and cut in small dice if wide, or, if thin, slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. (I cut my wide stems into thin strips and then sliced all of them crosswise 1/4 inch thick.) Set aside stems with chayote in one bowl and leaves in another.
  4. Make the salsa verde: Combine tomatillos, jalapeños and onion in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until tomatillos have gone from pale green to olive and have softened. Using a slotted spoon or a Chinese strainer, transfer tomatillos, onion and one of the jalapeños to a blender. (I used a Vitamix!) Do not drain water from pot. Let vegetables cool in the blender while you blanch greens and chayote.
  5. Add more water to the pot so it is about 2/3 full. Return to a boil, salt generously, and add the chard leaves. Blanch until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer leaves to a bowl of cold (ice) water to quickly shock, then drain and dry. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  6. Return water to a simmer and add chayote and chard stems. Simmer 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain through a colander and again on paper towels.
  7. Add whole garlic cloves and cilantro sprigs to ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste for heat and add remaining jalapeño if desired. (I only used one jalapeño- and the salsa had quite a kick!)
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add tomatillo purée and partly cover to protect from splattering. Cook, stirring often, until it thickens and begins to stick to the pan, about 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in stock, add salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often, until sauce is thick and coats the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic. When fragrant, after about 30 seconds, stir in oregano, blanched and chopped leaves, stems, and chayote. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until tender, fragrant and coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup salsa verde and set aside.
  11. Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel and cover with warmer lid, or with plastic wrap if using a plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute. (Alternatively: Prepare the tortillas: Heat 1/3 cup canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, until oil bubbles around the edges of a tortilla when you dip it into the pan. Place a platter covered with paper towels next to pan. Using tongs, slide tortillas, one at a time, into hot oil. As soon as tortilla begins to puff, about 10 to 15 seconds, flip over and leave another 10 to 15 seconds. Immediately remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Cover with foil to keep warm.)
  12. One by one, quickly dip tortillas into the remaining warm salsa verde, lay on serving platter, and top with about 1/4 cup filling. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down on platter. When all tortillas have been filled, pour remaining salsa verde on top, sprinkle with cilantro and queso fresco (or feta) and serve.

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Spinach, Swiss Chard, & Sweet Potato Gratin

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My husband’s side of the family does not support a sweet potato side dish on the Thanksgiving table, but who can resist sweet potatoes covered in cheese and greens? It was pretty too. In my opinion, gratins have it all. 🙂 This one had a nice balance between the indulgence (béchamel sauce and cheese), sweetness (sweet potatoes), and healthiness (greens). The sweet potatoes were thinly sliced, so they cooked relatively quickly as well. Nice. This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Yield: Serves 12

  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • coarse salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds (I used a mandolin)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pounds spinach (I used pre-washed small leaf but not baby spinach)
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, about 1 pound, leaves and stems separated, stems reserved for another use and leaves cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
  1. Prep greens: Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Increase heat to moderately high and add nutmeg followed by large handfuls of greens, stirring, until all are wilted. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a large colander (over a large bowl) to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.
  2. Make sauce: Combine cream, milk, and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil and continue to cook roux, whisking, one minute. Then, slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, for one additional minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. Assemble gratin:Preheat oven to 400°F (on convection). Butter deep 9×13 baking dish (or spray with cooking spray).
    • Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a 1/4 cup of the cheese.
    • Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese over it.
    • Pour half of bechamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs, and another 1/4 cup of cheese.
    • Top with the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs.
    • Pour the remaining béchamel sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese.
  4. Bake gratin for about 35 minutes, until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: You can make the entire gratin but not bake it up to a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. You can also make and bake the gratin and reheat it. Gratins reheat well, but they take almost as much time to gently heat through as they do to bake in the first place, especially deep ones like this.

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