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Soba Noodles with Chard and French Green Lentils

These soba noodles with chard and French green lentils might be my very favorite recipe using chard. It’s a variation on one from my very favorite cookbook authors–Deborah Madison, from her The Greens Cookbook.

French green lentils are the little dark green ones. They hold their shape compared to the larger brown lentils that make up old-fashioned lentil soup, the soup your Mom flavored with the ham bone leftovers.

To further differentiate, there is a specialty appellation-controlled French green lentil named Lentilles de Puy. Those fancier green lentils show up as “lentil caviar ”on menus of high end restaurants.

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Soba Noodles with Chard and French Green Lentils
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
  • 1/2 cup French green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch red or green chard
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 carrots cut into 1/4-inch squares
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon parsley , chopped
  • 5 ounces goat cheese , optional
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Rinse the lentils, checking them over for little rocks masquerading as lentils. Put them in another pot with water to cover plus 2 inches, along with the bay leaf and salt.
  3. Cook until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Drain the lentils, saving the liquid for stock.
  5. Toss the lentils with a tablespoon of the oil.
  6. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
  7. Wash the chard well. Cut the leaves away from the stems. Cut the stems in 1/4-inch pieces and set aside. Chop the leaves into 1-inch pieces.
  8. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet on low heat.
  9. Cook the garlic about a minute. Add the carrots and the chard stems. Cook and stir over medium heat another minute.
  10. Add the vegetable stock, the chard leaves, and the cooked lentils. Cook until the carrots are tender.
  11. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until they are just tender.
  12. Drain and add them to the chard. Toss in the parsley and season freshly ground pepper.
  13. If you are using the goat cheese, crumble it into the pasta and vegetables at the very last minute.

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