French Lentil Soup with Spices and Chard

It’s June in Nashville and I’m making French lentil soup. It may seem counterintuitive, I know, but here we are in the hottest season of the year in America and Tim and I are still scooping ladles of this creamy, spicy mixture to our bowls.

Close up of a French Lentil Soup made with chard, tumeric, and other spices.

What can I say? It’s economical, it’s easy, it’s a good way to use up the chard showing up in your farm share every week but, mostly, we like this sort of soup because it tastes good.

A white porcelain bowl filled with a French lentil soup made with chard and spiced with turmeric.

In the world of soups, it is the closest thing to Asian takeout you can achieve fast and furious (and with all real food) without leaving your front door.

The arm and hand of man eating a bowl of French and Lentil Soup.

By that, I don’t mean it tastes Asian exactly but rather that those same feelings you get from Asian takeout—I’m talking Indian or Chinese or, oh man, pad Thai—where what you’re eating is so richly spiced and flavorful that you feel like you’re escaping, like your eating from someplace entirely Other and not your hometown?

A bowl of french lentil soup set on dark wooden table.

That’s how I feel when we have this soup.

It uses pantry staples like lentils and onions and garlic, too, and I’m always a fan of quick throw-together meals like that.

A close up, top view of a white, ceramic bowl full of tumeric flavored French lentil soup.

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A close up of a white porcelain bowl filled with turmeric infused French lentil soup made with chard.

French Lentil Soup with Spices and Chard

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 30 mintues
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 1x


A simple recipe for French lentil soup made with turmeric and curry-esque spices, creamy, warm and comforting which only cost a few pennies per serving to make.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated (or minced or pressed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole milk (or full-fat coconut milk)
  • 2 cups cooked French lentils
  • a few handfuls fresh spinach, chard or kale, washed, tough stems discarded and cut into ribbons
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a stockpot over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and butter together, adding the turmeric and letting it toast in the pan. Add the diced onion and stir often for about 10 to 15 minutes, until all the onions are soft and wilted, with caramelized sections in parts.
  2. Add the garlic, cardamom and cinnamon, and stir together until just mixed, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the lentils, milk and greens, and bring the entire mixture back to a gentle boil, letting it cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until all the flavors have melted and the greens and soft.
  4. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minuts
  • Category: Legumes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: French, lentils, soup, cardamom, turmeric, chard

Did you make this and love it like we did? Let us know in the comments below and please rate the recipe!

And for more tasty lentil recipes, some these should tantalize the tummy:

Photos by Shanna Mallon, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 27th, 2014. Last updated: December 29, 2019 at 9:15 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home,, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

17 thoughts on “French Lentil Soup with Spices and Chard”

  1. Perfect timing. I was just looking for more recipes with turmeric and cinnamon in them in a desperate (grasping? naive?) attempt to get Brad some relief from his inflammation symptoms. So this recipe at this moment is a gift from you to me. Or really, from Him to you to me.

    • I love turmeric for its anti-inflammation properties. I hate inflammation. Thinking of you guys all the time. Praying for comfort and healing and hope.

  2. What a wonderful bowl of soup! It has been an unusually cold June here in Scandinavia with temperatures way under 60ºF (jut craaazy) so a lentil soup would definitely be welcomed at my dinner table. Hope you have a warmer weekend than I. xoxo

    • Sini, Hands down one of my favorite parts of blogs/social media is witnessing the weather on other sides of the world. I hope it never stops amazing me. I hope people like you never stop telling people like me how it’s under 60 over there and so soup sounds good. I reminds me how big the world is and how small I am in it! xo back.

  3. This sounds delicious. How’s the shelf life? This is the kind of thing I’d like to make one and reheat for a few lunches. A good possibility? I feel like lentils can go either way sometimes. Also hi. 🙂

      • You can probably already guess I bought the bowl at Goodwill, hahaha. : ) I love that it’s shallow. Now as for shelf life, good question, we haven’t been able to keep the soup long enough to find out but (!) I will say that when you cook a big batch of lentils at the beginning of the week, whipping up this soup is easy and fast. If you try leftovers, lemme know what you think!

  4. It’s COLD here in San Francisco – like cloudy and 60 degrees. And the soup looks delicious!

    Lentil soups always remind me of dal (that Indian – lentil soup thing) so it’s not that far of a more, more healthy version of Indian take-out 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

    • Ha! Would you believe, the day after this posted, I was wearing a sweatshirt because it was a chilly, rainy day here, too? No worries, though. The heat wave’s back now. : )

  5. I often have soup for lunch during the summer, not least because I work in an overly air-conditioned office, but I also think this kind of food makes a perfect evening meal, preferably eaten outside as the heat gently slips away from the day.

    • Right? What is it with indoor spaces being way overly air-conditioned to compensate for hot weather! I have to dress for two climates everywhere I go, haha. : )


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