I have a lentil soup recipe that sounds delicious, but it calls for swiss chard and I can't find chard of any type in the grocery stores in my town (small town Oklahoma) this week. Would baby spinach work?

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Blissful Baker
Blissful Baker January 31, 2011

Spinach is a good substitute, but doesn't need to be cooked as long as chard. I'd add it at the very end of the recipe -- stir it into the soup & cook it just 1 minute.

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cookbookchick
cookbookchick January 31, 2011

Check this food52 recipe out for a lentil soup with spinach in it:
http://www.food52.com/recipes...

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mainecook61
mainecook61 January 31, 2011

Frozen spinach (thaw it first) would be perfectly acceptable and perhaps a sturdier substitute than baby spinach.

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nutcakes
nutcakes January 31, 2011

Yes spinach with lentils is delicious too. I make one with curry powder and tomato and lemon.

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hobbybaker
hobbybaker January 31, 2011

Thank you for the quick responses!

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Sam1148
Sam1148 January 31, 2011

I'd probably go for something more substantial than spinach for a winter dish.

Kale, or mustard greens would be a substitute. Cook it a bit before adding to the soup. With those be aware they need to be cleaned very well, as with leeks, they can have sand on them. Some stores sell them pre-washed in bags. Still you'll need to prep them by trimming off some of the tough stems..and chopping the large leafs into shreds. Some Nappa cabbage would work also.

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Nora
Nora January 31, 2011

Terrible not find chard! Try another store.

I suggest collards rather than kale or mustard. Collards are sweeter and milder. I would cook them separately until done, simmer with the lentils for a few minutes.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 January 31, 2011

Collards were my first thought also Nora.
Good call.

But they can sometimes be hard to find outside of the south.
I do like Collards, white beans and ham in soup.

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ksvoter
ksvoter February 1, 2011

Grow chard in your garden, if you have one. It's easy and foolproof. Full of vitamins and delish in soups and sauteed in butter with a little bit of lemon juice.

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innoabrd
innoabrd February 1, 2011

Collards just take so much longer to cook than chard. I think the napa cabbage suggestion is a good one, or more mature spinach.

Side note: here in South Africa, Swiss Chard is widely called Spinach. Only recently that I've been able to reliably find actual spinach, labeled here as 'baby' spinach. I'm really not wild about Swiss chard, makes my tongue go funny...

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pierino
pierino February 1, 2011

In Europe Swiss chard goes under the name "bletes."

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casa-giardino
casa-giardino February 1, 2011

Pierino - The Italian word of swisschard is "bietola". We grow it in our garden right here in NJ

http://casa-giardino.blogspot.com/2010/07/swiss-chard-on-steroids.html

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casa-giardino
casa-giardino February 1, 2011

hobbybaker - Another choice would be escarole.

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KaffeeAndKuchen
KaffeeAndKuchen February 1, 2011

You could always substitute beet greens if you have them. They are in the same family as chard.

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casa-giardino
casa-giardino February 3, 2011

Another good substitute for swisschard is fresh celery stalks and leaves.

http://casa-giardino.blogspot.com/2010/12/sustainable-eating-lentil-soup-with.html

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hobbybaker
hobbybaker February 3, 2011

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I used baby spinach, as we were snowed in and had spinach on hand. It was delicious!

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