Lentil and silverbeet soup

Lentil soup is served all around the middle-east. We have had tasty variations in Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. This recipe comes from the excellent Ottolenghi cookbook. Ottolenghi in Angel, London, was one of our favourite cafes when we were living there.

I like the addition of the silverbeet (Swiss chard to most people). The earthly flavours go very well with the earthy lentils, earthly spices. All this hot earthiness warms you up on a cold day. It is not all earthy though, as there are sweet onions and zesty lemon to add balance and excitement.


  • 500g split red lentils
  • 2.5l cold water
  • 2 onions (red or white)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g silverbeet (Swiss chard) de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds roughly ground in a pestle and mortar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Lemon quartered for squeezing over
  • A few cubes of feta.


  • Rinse the lentils, then place in a large pot with the cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for 35 minutes, skimming any scum off the top.
  • Meanwhile, slice the onion and slowly cook them with the oil in a separate pan.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, place half the lentils in a blender and smooth, or use a wand in the pot. Leave some lentils to add texture, while the rest are blended to thicken the soup.
  • Return the lentils to the heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the spices to the onions, then the silverbeet and turn through.
  • Add the silverbeat mixture to the lentils, and mix through.
  • Serve into bowls, and top with the lemon zest, a sqeeze of lemon juice and some cubes of feta.

Take 500g of lentils, rinse and place in a pot with 2.5L of cold water and bring to the boil for 35 minutes

Meanwhile, dice the onions and cook slowly

Add the spices and silverbeet to the onions, and turn through

Add the silverbeet mixture to the pureed lentils

Serve with lemon zest and juice

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