Chard Soup with Cumin, Cilantro and Lime

A sophisticated soup! That's what this is exclaimed my husband. What!!! Who is this person I thought to myself. I guess that means he likes this..... Well turns out He loved it and so will you.

This recipe is from Deborah Madison’s new book, "Vegetable Literacy" I have already made a few other dishes from this book like this Braised Fennel Wedges with Saffron and Tomato dish and it was amazing. Madison divides her cookbook into chapters based on plant families. She believes that because of their shared characteristics, vegetables within the same family can be used interchangeably. The book begins with the carrot family, which includes celery, cilantro, dill, parsley and parsnips, then moves on to other botanical families.

The recipe today is in the goosefoot and amaranth families: Edible weeds, leaves and seeds. This family is composed of amaranth, beets, chard, epazote, fourwing saltbush, Good King Henry, huauzontle, lamb's-quarters, magenta spreen, orach, quinoa and spinach. Most of these plants are new to me but after tasting this soup I've realized that come summer time I will have some new plant varieties growing in my garden.


8 cups packed trimmed chard leaves (about 1 pound or 20 leaves)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (sliced)
1 small potato, (scrubbed and sliced)
1 carrot, (scrubbed and sliced)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Cilantro stems and leaves (finely cut to make 1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or Kosher
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt (I used 1/4 cup)(leave out for vegan)
Freshly ground pepper
Grated zest and Juice of 1 lime

To prepare:

Rinse the chard, chop it coarsely, and set aside in a colander to drain.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, potato and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, smashing it into the vegetables, then add the cumin, coriander, cilantro and chard leaves. Sprinkle over 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, cover the pan, and allow the leaves to cook down substantially before adding 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover partially, and simmer until the potato has softened.

Cool slightly, then add the sour cream and puree in a blender until smooth. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and stir in the lime zest and juice. Ladle into bowls and serve. Enjoy!


  1. Mmmm I love how much chard you packed in there!! SO healthy and delish.

  2. Your chard soup looks fabulous and the list of ingredients sounds very intriguing - wonderful spices and lots of healthy veg! Perfect for this time of year!

    1. Hi Andrea, Thanks, next time I will not add any sour cream, the flavors alone were really good.

  3. What a bowl of healthy soup! It looks delicious, too - a great way to get your vitamins in the winter!

    1. Thanks Amy, the two of us finished this off in one day, it was that good.

  4. LOVE deborah madison and that cookbook!! Every time I open it, I feel like I find something new to love. Can't wait to try this soup!

    1. Hi Joanne, now I have to try her recipe with the chard stems.


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