Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post
This comforting soup is flecked with Swiss chard, tomato and whole-wheat elbow pasta and seasoned with a deeply flavorful but mellow mix of Middle Eastern spices. It is a one-pot wonder that is easy to make on a weekend so you have a nourishing meal to reheat during the week.
Make Ahead: The soup thickens upon standing, so add a little more broth or water when you reheat it. It can be frozen, without the pasta, for up to 3 months.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 bunch Swiss chard (6 ounces) leaves and stems separated, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1 1/4 cups brown or green lentils, picked over thoroughly and rinsed
8 cups no-salt-added chicken broth (may substitute vegetable broth)
One 28-ounce can no-salt-added whole peeled tomatoes, plus their juices
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 cup dried whole-wheat elbow macaroni
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chopped chard stems, the garlic, cumin, coriander and crushed red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the lentils and the broth.
Add the tomatoes, one at a time, crushing them with your hands over the pot, plus any juice that’s remaining in the can. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper; once the mixture is bubbling at the edges, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook for 25 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender; check the tomatoes during this time and break them down further with a spoon.
Increase the heat to medium-high; stir in the macaroni. Once the liquids come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook for about 10 minutes, at which point the pasta should be nearly done.
Discard the bay leaf, then stir in the Swiss chard leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, then taste and season with more salt and/or pepper, as needed.
Makes 6 servings
Serving size: 2 Cups
Per serving: Calories 290; Total Fat 6g; (Sat Fat 1g); Protein 14g; Carb 45g; Fiber 10g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 370mg; Total Sugar 11g (Including 0 g added sugars)