Hot Soup in Summer? Of course, especially if it’s rained for two solid weeks.

Lentil Soup with Kohlrabi and Swiss Chard

The weather has been brutal in Vermont. The devastating flooding in our dear little state this week has left most of us is dismay at the massive property and land damage, destroyed buildings and roads, a landscape changed by towers of rushing waters. Anyone who has watched the nightly news of any channel has seen the aftermath of two months of rain that fell in a single day, and more rain is predicted for the rest of the week. We’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop, and counting our blessings if we are fortunate enough to live where there are no streams or rivers to jump their banks. We’ve been safe and dry, and I am thankful for that.

Too much rain, or not enough

The entire month has been crazy. We’ve had muggy, humid weather, thunder storms, a few blue skies, but lots of rain, the worst since Tropical Storm Irene. In some places the flooding was the highest in 100 years. With so many places in drought, one feels guilty complaining about the rain. But the extremes are hard on everyone, especially our farmers.

We still need a hot meal

Yes, it is hot, but with all the damp rain and woeful news, a bowl of soup provides a lot of comfort. With so many wonderful vegetables at the peak right now, a hodgepodge or a soup makes perfect sense. One thing I love about Vermonters, and people everywhere I think, is the quick action to help out in any disaster. We send messages and texts to ensure everyone is safe. We sigh with relief when we get responses. A lot of neighbors have been making a lot of soup to comfort others who are still stranded by the storm. “You can’t get there from here,” feels all too real for many right now.

Soup. A universal offering when someone needs a little lift, or when the drizzle outside, even in summer, chills us.

Let’s try lentil this time

We love a lentil soup. It is hearty and satisfying, and plays nicely with so many vegetables. Use what you love here and what is in season at your local farm stand or farmers market. There are dozens of ways to make a veggie lentil soup, this is just one, a really good one.

Lots of vitamins and minerals

Kohlrabi is a nutritious little cruciferous vegetable. Strange little orbs with satellite-like stems, you can substitute turnips, broccoli, or cauliflower here. The Swiss chard is long a New England favorite; it is very cold resistant, hardy, with few pests save the four-legged mammal type. If you can’t find it, use beet greens, collard, or turnip greens.

Choose wisely

Use a firm lentil such as the French lentils, lentilles du Puy. They are tasty and hold their shape well in cooking. I would not use the yellow lentils here and they break down and get mushy quickly.

Lentil Soup with Kohlrabi and Swiss Chard

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • Stems of a bunch of Swiss chard
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 cups kohlrabi, diced
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into coins
  • 1 Β½ cups fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 cup French or other firm lentil
  • 6 cups veggie stock or water
  • Leaves from a bunch of chard
  • Fennel fronds to garnish
  • 4 scallions

Prep all your veggies. Remove the ribs from the chard and chop those up along with the stems, reserving the leaves for a later addition to the dish.

      Heat olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium high, and add the onion. Once the onion has softened, add the chard stems, the garlic, and the fennel seeds. SautΓ© for a couple of minutes, then add the kohlrabi, carrots, fennel, and lentils. Stir it all up and add the stock or water, along with salt and pepper.

       Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let this cook for 20 minutes, then add the chard leaves. 

     Cook another 10 to 15 minutes, until everything is wilted and the chard soft.

      Serve up, garnished with the scallions and a few fennel fronds, maybe a carrot top or two. Serve with some charred bread to dunk in the exquisite broth.  

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69 Comments Add yours

  1. That looks like a fabulous soup! Wishing you better weather.

    1. Thank you! Fingers crossed!

  2. In Maine, we are watching with dismay all the flooding in Vermont, one of our favorite states. Hope the rain stops SOON. Glad you don’t live near any streams or rivers.

    Wonderful to read how folks are helping each other out. Yes, that happens in communities big and small.

    As for soup…we eat it year round. Soup, beautiful soup. Your lentil soup looks delicious, and I will be tucking the recipe in a folder.

    1. Thanks Laurie! You are so kind.
      People pull together when the chips are down, and somehow that makes things easier all around.

  3. Maggie says:

    Dorothy, the videos on the news are devastating and heartbreaking. I am glad you are faring well, but understand even that is hard knowing others are suffering so much. I am holding you and the entire state in my thoughts. Vermont holds a special place in my heart. Enjoy your soup. It sounds amazing.

    1. Thank you Maggie. Yesterday, I drove to the market to grab a few things, the sun was finally out, everything looked lush and green, yet I knew that just miles away, people were waiting for the Winooski River to crest and wondering what was next. It was hard.

      1. Maggie says:

        Hopefully, the rain. Will stop and things will dry out soon. Flood waters are so destructive. 😒

      2. There are a lot of folks dealing with mud right now!

      3. Maggie says:

        I can only imagine. πŸ˜”

  4. I am sorry that so many there are suffering from the rains and flooding there. That soup looks like the comfort many would be needing. πŸ’ž

    1. Thank you! The biggest blessing, no one has lost their life in all this devastation.

      1. That is a blessing. πŸ’—

      2. We are truly thankful.

    2. Everyone is pulling together, young and old, and that takes some of the sting away.

  5. Chef Mimi says:

    I’m so sorry. What a mess. But you made a fabulous soup!

    1. There’s always a silver lining somewhere, and no one died in this devastation remarkably. I think people are ready for whatever comes the rest of the week when it starts raining again.

  6. Suzassippi says:

    I just this morning read about the flooding in Vermont and thought of you. I’m sure the soup was welcomed.

    1. It made the day a little brighter, thank you my friend!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I am glad that you were out of the flooding. I grieved when I saw towns I know well devastated. A cousin used to pastor the church in Hardwick, for instance. I am glad to understand why the lentils in our last soup didn’t get soft. They were a different kind than I was used to. Tonight I am using summer squash and kale (separately prepared) along with salmon. We are delighting in our first CSA bag.

    1. That supper sounds delicious and colorful! Enjoy the season’s bounty!

  8. Soup is a welcome dish no matter the time of year and this one looks delicious. so happy to hear that you are all well where you are in Vermont πŸ™πŸ» stay safe Dorothy ❀️

    1. Thank you Kalpana! Miraculously, no one lost their life in this one, so we are all thankful.

  9. Angela says:

    My heart is breaking for Vermont, which we love so very much, but I am glad that you and your family are safe on high ground. I was worried about you! We have been hoping for a visit in October and will do whatever we can then to support your beautiful state.

    1. Thank you Angela! If you are my way, give me a call and we can meet up!

  10. Ronit Penso says:

    I’ve lived through quite a few floods in Vermont, and in NY as well (including the infamous Sandy) so I definitely empathize. Hope everyone will be able to recover and rebuild soon.
    Your fennel based soup is one I’d eat even on a hot day! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Ronit! I make and eat soup all year long, and this one is always a good base for whatever else I find at the market!

  11. Gail says:

    Comfort food is extremely important in times like these. Keep a cool head and keep calm. β€œThis, too, shall pass.” πŸ’¦

    1. Yes, wise words!

  12. NativeNM says:

    Soup is good anytime and good for the soul. I am so sorry for your state dealing with so much rain and flooding. It feels like the climate is crazy everywhere. Stay safe Dorothy!

    1. It has been crazy. We had a long dry spell, then rain, rain, rain. Something in the middle would be nice just about now.

  13. Defin itely!

    1. Yes! Hot or cold, soup is always welcome.

  14. lisinmayenne says:

    My goodness, what terrible weather! I’m sorry to hear of the suffering (especially as we could do with more rain here, but that’s the way it seems to be in these uncertain times). It’s good that there is that wonderful sense of community, concern and support . . . and there is nothing like a seasonal soup made with love in any weather to nurture everyone through difficult times. I sincerely hope that things will improve for you very soon. 😊

    1. Thank you Lis! It’s always touch and go in these situations, but folks are pulling together and the fixing up begins!

  15. We’ve been watching and hoping the rain stops soon so Vermonters can evaluate, repair, and get back to their normal routine. I’m glad to hear you and yours are well. Prayers to all our neighbors to the west.

    1. We’re all holding our breath Judy! More rain in the forecast, but folks are as prepared as they can be.

  16. gabychops says:

    Thank you, Dorothy, this is my kind of soup!


    1. Thank you Joanna! It’s great any time of year.

  17. Mary says:

    We have suffered extreme floods down here in NZ so know the devastation they can bring. Very glad you and yours are safe from the horrors of the flood. Dreadful weather happening all over the world.
    A nice hearty bowl of vegetable soup is worth it’s weight in gold on a cold wet day.

    1. Climate change at its cruelest!

  18. We could use some of your rain here in North Central Texas! The hearty soup looks very inviting!

    1. Thank you! We’d gladly send done right about now!

  19. Nancy says:

    Prayers for better weather for you. We are getting lots of rain now after a long dry spell.

    Soup always heals the soul.
    My son once posted on Facebook.
    β€œI have a real problem. I’m addicted to soup. I love it and can’t stop making it.” My sweet man then commented… it’s hereditary. Your Mom has the same problem.

    1. Yes, I do believe there is a gene Nancy!

  20. Butterfly says:

    Yummy πŸ˜‹

    1. Thank you Butterfly!

      1. Butterfly says:

        πŸ˜„have a great day Dorothy!

  21. nancyc says:

    I’ve heard about all the rain up your way! πŸ™ This soup looks really good and healthy and sounds very comforting to have on a damp, rainy day!

    1. Thanks Nancy, Everyone’ s working hard to get things shored up and cleaned up, more rain is forecast, so we’re all holding our breath!

  22. Carolyn Page says:

    Here in Australia, Dorothy, the evening news (for the past few days) has been full of vision from your little part of the globe. Horrendous, for some, just plain awful for others. Here’s hoping you’re over the worst of it.
    As for this soup – yum, as usual. As you will know we here ‘down under’ are currently experiencing winter, though, a rather mild one to date. That being said we, K and I, are enjoying all those comfort meals such as can be made in the oven, or one pot glories on the stove top!

    1. It has certainly been a challenge this week, so many folks are out of their homes and businesses, and now dealing with tons of mud. I do feel fortunate.

      1. Carolyn Page says:

        We are in a similar position. We are so fortunate to live in an area that has not been subject to the fires and floods of the past few years. We are close to such areas, indeed surrounded by them, however to date, not been subject to them personally. Counting our blessings, for sure.

      2. Counting blessings.

  23. Bernadette says:

    We like a good lentil soup and Swiss chard is one of my favorite add to the soup greens. I will add your recipe to the comfort food rotation.

    1. Thanks Bernie! Good soup always helps.

  24. Lentils are a favorite and this soup looks fabulous!

    1. We love them too!

  25. Jenna says:

    I’m so glad to hear you are okay Dorothy, I have been so worried about you and all the people in Vermont, such terrible flooding! A comforting soup like this is perfect ro you right now, it sounds wonderful! Sending prayers…

    1. Thank you Jenna! Folks are pulling together and we’re thankful there was no loss of life. Sun is out right now, but more rain in the forecast!

  26. Glad you’re safe!

  27. This looks so delicious, I want a bowl right now … with a lovely slice of Swiss and bacon quiche!

    1. Quiche. One of my favorite dishes!

      1. Me too! I’ll never pass up quiche!

  28. Christy B says:

    Ah yes, soup! I never tire of soup. But 2 weeks of rain… Yes, I might tire of that!

    1. Yes, it is getting old quickly.

  29. Oh yes! Soup any day of the year. Not only is this healthy but it looks delicious too!

  30. I’m sorry for what is going on and I hope no more damages, as was really enough! I’m glad you are ok! This soup is perfect in such conditions! I eat hot soup in summer too πŸ˜‰

    1. Year round it is comfort all the way!

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