I found the soup below here, and although I made a few small tweaks, it’s pretty close to the original. I considered swapping out or adding to the only spice used, cumin, but I am so glad I didn’t. Cumin and Swiss chard is now one of my favorite flavor combinations! It might not sound like they go together well but you really should try it.
I love the combination here of barley and lentils as it provides substance and protein. It’s really a one pot meal. If you don’t have any of the vegetables listed below, try it with whatever you have on hand. This is a soup that can be altered in so many ways. Check out our Essential Steps to Vegetable Based Soups for inspiration!
Barley and Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard
makes about 6 servings
Recipes notes: the amount of time it takes to cook both the barley and lentils is close to the same but it really depends on the age of the lentils. Older beans take longer to cook. Start with fresh lentils for best results.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 5 small carrots, cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced 1/2″ thick
- 12 large Swiss chard leaves, leaves and stems separated with the leaves cut into rough 1″ pieces and the stems sliced 1/2″ thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2/3 cup pearled barley
- 2/3 cup French lentils or other lentils that hold their shape
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/2 to 1 cup roughly chopped drained whole canned tomatoes (substitute canned diced tomatoes)
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, and Swiss chard stems. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Add broth, barley, lentils, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley and lentils are tender, about 40 minutes (start checking after 30 minutes). Add the Swiss chard leaves and tomatoes and cook until the greens have wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately or cool and store in an air-tight container for up to 7 days.
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