Arab Table Lentil and Chard Stew

Lentil. Chard. Stew. Three words that tend to induce reactions varying from mild disgust to gagging, and I threw them all together in the title of this recipe. But please give lentils and chard another chance, because this stuff is really, really good.

I think the reason people hate lentils (or think they do) is because they usually eat them when they aren’t cooked enough (and there’s not much worse than chalky lentils). That was definitely my problem for a few years. Here, they’re nice and tender, with chunks of potato, and great flavor from the cilantro, cumin, garlic, and lemon. The chard is also completely benign here because it just blends right into the background of the soup, so no in-your-face chard flavor, which I always used to hate.

When you have a crowd to feed or want leftovers for days, and don’t want to spend a ton of money but still feel satisfied, give this stew a try! I found the recipe in a book from the library called The Arab Table and I’m definitely excited to sample more of the recipes in it.

Recipe:
(adapted from The Arab Table by May S. Bsisu)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups brown lentils
8 cups water
2 tsp salt
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 pound rainbow chard, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
thin slices of lemon, for garnish

Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in a large soup pan over medium-high. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the lentils and the water, bring to a boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and salt and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chard and cook for about 10 minutes. The chard should wilt and the potatoes should be tender.

Heat the 3 tbsp of olive oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic, cilantro, cumin, and coriander and saute for about 5 minutes. Stir into the stew along with the lemon juice, adding water if it seems too thick. Stir well, then taste and add more salt and lemon juice if necessary. Serve garnished with thin slices of lemon.

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13 Responses to “Arab Table Lentil and Chard Stew”


  1. 1 Tasha September 16, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I must be strange then, because I read the title and thought mmm, yum! I love lentils and think this recipe sounds wonderful.

  2. 2 MIchelle September 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Well, we actually really like lentils so this sounds great to me!

  3. 3 Cherine September 17, 2010 at 10:59 am

    This is my favorite stew. I love it!

  4. 4 Michelle September 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

    This sounds really great – I’m not a huge fan of chard, but may use kale instead. Love the addition of lemon!

  5. 5 jocelyn September 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Found this on tastespotting or the like and made it for dinner tonight. It is the best lentil soup I have every had. My husband agreed with me that it is good enough to make for company. Even my 4 year old likes it! Thanks for this fantastic recipe.

  6. 6 Peggy September 21, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I love these flavors as well! I’ll be making this plenty of times this fall! It’s definitely getting ready to be great soup weather!

  7. 7 Sarah S. September 23, 2010 at 7:35 am

    The new design looks great, and this stew does too. I will agree that chard is a gag inducing word, who came up with that?

  8. 8 Ammie September 23, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I love lentils and have been looking for a way to use the chard from my garden. I can’t wait to try this!

  9. 9 Emily September 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I just made this soup and it’s delicious. I, too, love lentils and chard. Together they are amazing.

  10. 10 mitjak October 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks so much! This stew was absolutely fantastic. The wilted chard added superb colour and sweetness to the entire dish. It tasted so good that I simply couldn’t resist drinking the liquid poured out of the stew like a soup.

  11. 11 Abby April 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    We made this tonight and it was great! Thanks for sharing!!

  12. 12 Peter May 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

    This is also really good cold or at room temperature with some greek yogurt on top!


  1. 1 Roasted Tomato and Lentil Salad with a Caramelized Sherry Vinaigrette « the taste space – steam, bake, boil, shake! Trackback on October 7, 2010 at 3:17 am

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