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Rishta, Lentils and Swiss Chard Soup

Recipe for the Ultimate Vegetarian Soup

Rishta, Lentils and Swiss Chard Soup
Hearty, comforting and tasty, Rishta is the only soup recipe you need to know.

Rishta is my go to vegetarian dish when I’m craving something hearty and nutritious. The cooked lentils, and the starch from the pasta, make the soup rich and satisfying. The addition of chopped swiss chard complete the dish, and give it even more depth of flavor. Rishta is very similar to a ‘minestrone’ soup (minus the pancetta and tomato base) and, depending on who you ask, it’s of Lebanese, Turkish, or Iranian, origin. Like all good soups should be, Rishta’s healthy, and has all the elements of a complete meal. My recipe is pretty easy, and while the traditional Rishta calls for homemade noodles of sorts, I’m following my mother’s footsteps and using store-bought pasta instead.

Rishta Soup

Prep: Easy

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Serves 6


  • 4 Tablespoons EVOO

  • 4 garlic cloves minced

  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of chopped cilantro

  • 1 cup small whole green lentils

  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO

  • ½ chicken (or vegetable) bullion

  • 1 big onion finely chopped

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons cumin

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • ½ teaspoon all spice

  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • 11 cups of hot water or low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 5 fettuccine (nests)

How To:

In a large pot add the 4 tablespoons of olive oil and pressed garlic. Over medium heat stir the garlic and cilantro for a couple of minutes being careful not to brown the garlic. Remove the garlic/cilantro oil and set aside. In a separate pot heat the water or broth. In the pot used for the garlic, and on medium heat, add the rest of the EVOO and all the rest of the spices/seasoning to bloom for 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion and stir continuously with the spices for another 5 minutes. Add the lentils to the onion spice mixture and stir some more till the lentils are well coated with the spices. Add the heated water, or broth, to the lentils and lower the heat slightly when the lentil water begins to boil. Cover the pot and let the lentils cook, about 45 minutes. Uncover the pot (taste the lentils to check if they’re fully cooked) and add the pasta and allow it to cook with the lentils, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, add the swiss chard and garlic/cilantro oil and cook on low heat for another couple of minutes. Serve with a good squeeze of lemon juice and some (shatta) chili paste.

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