Recipe: Oven-Baked Lentil Soup with Greens

This warming soup is a tasty way to use up seasonal garden greens. 

Extracted from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen   Photos: Andrew Montgomery

My dear friend Linda Smith lives in Memphis, where she has the most wonderful farm filled with hummingbirds. This soup is one of hers, and is just the sort of thing I want to eat in autumn and winter. In fact, I often make myself a big batch and then eat it for lunch throughout the week; the flavours will deepen the longer it is left. It’s simple, delicious and endlessly versatile.

I am always adding different things to it depending on my mood and the season – kale, Swiss chard or perpetual spinach, or even parsley (stems and all) are all great additions. And if I feel that I am really in need of something wholesome and reviving, I will pop in a few skinless chicken thighs too. By the time the soup is cooked the meat will be soft enough to eat with a spoon, and the bones will have added lots of flavour to the soup.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves 6–8


2 litres/3½ pints (8 cups) chicken stock (broth) (or you could use vegetable stock/broth)
225 g/8 oz (1¼ cups) dried yellow split peas
225 g/8 oz (1¼ cups) dried green or brown lentils
4 carrots (about 450 g/1 lb), scrubbed, trimmed and chopped into 2.5-cm/1-inch pieces
4 celery stalks, chopped into 2.5-cm/1-inch pieces
1 leek, trimmed and chopped into 2.5-cm/1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
large bunch seasonal greens (about 250 g/9 oz), stripped away from any large stems, then sliced
chopped herbs, to garnish
crusty bread and butter, to serve (optional)

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Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Put the stock (broth), dried peas and lentils, vegetables, bay leaves, cumin, salt and pepper into a large heavy casserole dish (Dutch oven) and stir to combine. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until the peas and lentils
are tender.

Remove from the oven and fish out and discard the bay leaves. Stir through the seasonal greens until wilted. Just before serving, garnish with chopped herbs, then ladle the soup into warmed soup plates and serve with bread and
butter, if desired.

Extracted from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots: Planting advice & recipes from Great Dixter by Aaron Bertelsen, Phaidon, RRP AUD$49.95. Photography © Andrew Montgomery, 2019

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