This simple lentil soup recipe has easily become one of mine and my clients favorite soups. It is hearty and comforting with surprising flavor that comes from spices, lemon zest and the burst of fresh lemon juice.

Lentil soup recipe, Spiced Lentil & Swiss Chard Soup with Lemon, SpicyFig
Spiced Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard & Lemon


In my last post I mentioned the God we call Ottolenghi. If you aren’t familiar with Ottolenghi, don’t worry, I’m not going to delve into religion. He is a god but only in the kitchen. Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli-English chef, restaurant owner and cookbook author. If you are in the mood to buy a new cookbook I can’t say enough about his. I only have 3 but they are 3 of the most reached for books in my enormous cookbook collection.

The cookbooks I have are OTTOLENGHI, PLENTY and JERUSALEM. If you are going to start with one go for OTTOLENGHI as it has a nice, varied selection of dishes. (PLENTY is just vegetables, perfect if you are vegetarian.)

The recipe…

This lentil soup recipe is from OTTOLENGHI with only a couple of changes to make it easier and a bit healthier. This soup is so satisfying on a winter’s day that I actually ate it for lunch and dinner today. It’s thick and filling and sticks to your ribs – of which one of mine is cracked, so comfort food is a priority right now!! And this ticks that box. Plus it’s really easy to make. Win, win, win. My only complaint would be that, as an amateur photographer, it’s a hard soup to make look pretty. But trust me, it may not be pretty but it is delicious.

Lentil soup recipe, Spiced Lentil & Swiss Chard Soup with Lemon, SpicyFig

Lentil & Swiss Chard Soup with Lemon

This lentil soup recipe also fits perfectly into my January reboot plan. I normally try to post primarily my own recipes but with this January challenge I’ve given myself (and which others are joining in on) I am posting what I am eating and this is one of my favorite winter soups. It’s a perfect healthy January meal. Lentils are high in protein and fiber. Swiss chard is a power house of vitamins and minerals and the squeeze of lemon at the end not only lifts the flavor of the soup but gives it that extra shot of vitamin C – crucial during cold/flu season.

So whip up a batch of this comfort in a bowl. You’ll have a full belly and a smile of satisfaction for your healthy efforts! And if you fall in love with lentil soup this is my other favorite Spiced Carrot, Lentil and Coconut Soup.


1) If you don’t want to stray from the gospel of Ottolenghi than use 3 tablespoons of butter to saute the garlic and coriander instead of the glug of olive oil in the recipe below.

2) You won’t use the whole head of Swiss chard for this soup. Use the rest of it in your next meal by chopping it (stems removed) and steaming it for a lovely, healthy side to meat or fish.


Spiced Lentil & Swiss Chard Soup with Lemon

Lentil soup recipe, Spiced Lentil & Swiss Chard Soup with Lemon, SpicyFig

Comfort in a bowl, a filling and delicious soup.

  • Author: Jessica (Ottolenghi)
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


  • 500g red lentils
  • 2.5 liters/ 10.5 cups of water
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 56 leaves of Swiss chard (see note above)
  • 1 bunch of coriander (cilantro), coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (or ground if that’s all you have)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Glug of olive oil (or 3 tablespoons/50g butter, see above note)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 large lemon wedges


  1. Place the lentils in a large bowl and cover with tap water to wash. Drain and repeat 1-2 more times until the water runs more clear.
  2. Place the drained lentils in a large soup pot and pour in the 2.5 liters (10.5 cups) of water. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft, about 20-30 minutes depending on your stove.
  3. With a slotted spoon remove half of the lentils from the pot and reserve in a medium bowl. With an immersion blender purée the remaining lentils and water in the pot until smooth. Return the reserved lentils back to the pot.
  4. In a medium frying pan heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onions until soft and golden.
  5. Remove the bottom white stems of the chard and coarsely chop the green parts of the leaves.
  6. Add the sautéed onions, Swiss chard, coriander (cilantro), cumin, cinnamon and salt and pepper to the pot with the lentils. Reheat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. With a pestle and mortar or the back of a knife or with the mill blade of a Nutribullet crush the coriander seeds together with the garlic.
  8. Heat the olive oil or butter in a small fry pan and saute the garlic and coriander 1-2 minutes until fragrant and the garlic is just starting to change color.
  9. Stir the garlic and coriander in to the soup and allow flavors to infuse 5 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon zest.
  10. Serve each bowl with a wedge of lemon for squeezing in to the soup.