Lentil and Chard Soup

This is a hearty but healthy soup that you can make in just about an hour (and a lot of that time is just letting the soup simmer).  A really good dish for cold fall and winter nights.

This makes four hearty servings.


2 T. olive oil

1 small red onion (you can substitute yellow onion), diced

1 bunch swiss chard, preferably red (but that’s just for the color)

1 medium carrot, cut into ¼” dice

2 large or 3 small cloves of garlic, minced

2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 t. dried thyme

⅔ cup french green lentils (can substitute black lentils or even regular lentils, but the soup will be muddier)

5 cups of low-sodium chicken stock or water

½ t. red pepper flakes (also called crushed red pepper, can substitute hot sauce if needed)

salt and pepper, to taste

4 T. grated parmagian reggiano (or other hard cheese that you like)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-low heat.  Add the diced onion and cook for a minute or two, then add the carrot.  Cook the two together until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes more).
  2. While the onion is cooking, cut the stems from the bottom of the chard leaves.  Trim off the end and cut about half of them (depending on thickness) into 1/4″ thick half moon slices (like you would slice celery).  There should be a little more of the chard stems than of the carrot. Rinse the cut pieces to remove and grit and add the sliced chard stems and the minced garlic to the pot and sauté for a minute or two.  Season with red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste (it will definitely need salt).
  3. While the chard is sautéing, rinse the lentils and remove any stones.
  4. Add the lentils and the 5 cups of stock or water to the pot and increase heat to medium high to bring the soup to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat and simmer covered until the lentils are cooked (15 to 30 minutes depending on the type of lentils).
  5. While the soup is simmering, remove the chard leaves from the stem rib that runs up the middle, roll 3 or 4 leaves together cigar fashion and slice across to create a big chiffonade.  When all the chard has been sliced, wash in a salad spinner or in a bowl with several changes of cold water and drain.
  6. Increase the heat to bring the soup back to a boil
  7. Add the chard and cook for 5 minutes or so until it has wilted and been incorporated into the soup.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and top each bowl with 1 T. of grated parmagian.

Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushrooms with Miso Mirin Glaze

This is a super quick and easy recipe (great for a weeknight and, Sarah, you can leave out the mushrooms if you like or replace them with sautéed red pepper strips) and you can play with the proportions in the glaze until you are happy with the texture and flavor.

This recipe serves 2 generously or 3 as a smaller side dish. It can be doubled easily.


2 small or one large head of bok choy (you can use baby bok choy but will need to increase the number of heads to at least 3)

4-6 shiitake mushroom caps, cut into 4 to 6 slices each

4 t. canola oil

2 heaping T. of white miso (you can substitute red if you want a funkier flavor)

1 1/2 to 2 T. mirin

1/4 cup very low sodium chicken or vegetable stock or dry white wine or water


  1. Bring a small pan or tea kettle of water to a boil.
  2. Cut the bottom from the bok choy to release the individual leaves.  If using one large head, trim the bottom inch or so from the thick stem of any very big leaves.  Wash the bok choy to remove any sand or grit.
  3. Place the bok choy in a heatproof bowl or pan and pour the boiling water over it to wilt it.  In a minute or so drain the bok choy, rinse under cold water to stop any cooking, dry and set aside.
  4. Cut the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and discard (or you can save them in the freezer to add to  a vegetable stock).  Wipe the caps clean and slice them.
  5. Place 2 t. canola oil in a fry pan and place over medium heat.  When hot add the mushroom slices and sauté until they have given up any liquid and are just beginning to brown on the edges.
  6. Remove the mushrooms from the fry pan and the fry pan from the heat (but reserve for final reheating of the dish). Wipe the fry pan with a paper towel to remove any remaining mushroom bits (being careful not to burn yourself.)
  7. In a small sauce pan, add the miso, mirin, and stock/wine or water.   Stir to combine, add black pepper to taste (the miso will have plenty of salt)
  8. Place the sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until it reaches the thickness of a glaze-so that it will stick to the vegetables.   (You can add more liquid if it gets too thick, or simmer a little longer if it seems too thin).  When done, remove from heat.
  9. Add the last 2 t. of canola oil to the fry pan and place over medium heat.  Quickly add the bok choy and mushrooms and stir fry just to heat through.  Turn off the heat and add enough of the miso mirin glaze to coat the bok choy and mushrooms.  Reserve any extra glaze to serve on the side with the dish.