Although greens and lentils both play a major role in the Greek vegetarian diet, the combination of the two is unusual in Greece. This is a thick and hearty soup, perfect for a cold winter’s day. Try stirring a little Kalamata olive paste or Greek balsamic into the soup to add depth of flavor.
Makes 4-6 servings
1/2 cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups small lentils, rinsed and drained
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (500 gr.) fresh chard, trimmed, washed, drained, and finely chopped
1 cup chopped, peeled tomatoes, with juice
6-8 cups water
1/4 cup red wine, sherry vinegar, or balsamic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot and cook onions, stirring frequently, until wilted, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add lentils and toss to coat.
2. Pour in tomatoes, and stir in the spinach or chard. Add six cups water, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes to one hour, until lentils are very tender. Add additional water during cooking to thin the soup to desired consistency.
3. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Five minutes before removing soup from heat, add vinegar, and just before serving, add remaining olive oil to the pot. Serve hot.