- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons plus 4 cups water, divided
- 1 cup French green (Le Puy) or brown lentils
- 8 large green chard leaves
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
- 12 cups gently packed spinach (about 10 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
- 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
- 2 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground (see Tip)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- Crumbled feta cheese for garnish
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse lentils and pick out any small stones; combine the lentils with the remaining 4 cups water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard; chop the greens and slice the ribs (keep in separate piles). Cut potato into 1/2 -inch dice. Chop spinach; set aside.
When the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the chard ribs, potato, scallions, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the chard leaves, broccoli, cumin and coriander. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the reserved spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeno and pepper; return to a simmer, cover and cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or pepper, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.
To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Grind to a fine powder in a spice mill, blender or clean coffee grinder.
Makes 8 servings, about 1 2/3 cups each.
Per serving: 191 calories; 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 24 percent calories from fat); 30 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 735 mg sodium; 10 g protein; 9 g fiber.
75 minutes to make