Lentil Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Arborio Rice

Lentil Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Arborio Rice

Sometimes only lentils will do, and they shine in all their seemingly humble glory in soups. Puy lentils (also known as French lentils) are a favorite of mine because of their unique earthy flavor and also because, unlike many other lentils, they hold their shape well, so providing a chewy texture to that which they feature in.

Here the lentils feature in a hearty minestrone with earthy Swiss chard and Arborio rice, which I have used instead of the more traditional inclusion of pasta. The rice adds additional chewiness, and proves an ideal vehicle for the fragrant and rich flavors of the other components of the soup.

The soup can also be made ahead of time, and as it will thicken over time, especially if made the day before, simply add water to thin it out when reheating or serve spread over some toasted crusty bread to make a thoroughly enjoyable bruschetta.

Lentil Minestrone

I made this soup as part of an intimate Mediterranean-themed meal for two, which also featured roasted dggplant involtini and a homemade crusty bread with olives and herbs that I will be sharing soon. In the meantime, if you want to make a bread to go along with this soup, you may want to consider this rustic sun-dried tomato bread, which would also proudly complement the meal, as does a nice glass of robust red wine.

Lentil Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Arborio RiceLentil Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Arborio Rice
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on April 6, 2019

Hearty and savory Italian lentil minestrone with Swiss chard and rice — a complete nourishing meal in one bowl

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 14 oz (400 mL) can diced tomatoes (preferably salt-free)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 1/2 cups French (Puy) lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice or small pasta (shells or macaroni)
  • 1/2 lb (250 g or 2 cups, packed) Swiss chard, stalks removed and leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, divided
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • vegan Parmesan for garnish
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and carrot and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, oregano, paprika, chili powder and cayenne. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the tomatoes are thickened. Stir in the lentils, water and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the red wine vinegar and a teaspoon of the salt, and simmer for another 15 minutes until the lentils are tender and the broth has thickened somewhat.

  • Stir in the rice or pasta, Swiss chard and about 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and cover. Simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked. If necessary, add more water to achieve your desired consistency.

  • Stir in half of the chopped parsley, the remaining teaspoon of salt, and more black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

  • Serve hot garnished with the remaining fresh chopped parsley and vegan Parmesan (or fresh grated Parmesan cheese).

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Lentil Minestrone with Swiss Chard

Other lentil soups to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Puy Lentil and Tomato Soup
French Lentil Soup with Mushrooms, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kale
French-Style Lentil Soup with Goat Cheese
Beet, Lentil and Vegetable Soup
Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Lentil Soup with Dates and Lime

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