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Lentil-and-Pancetta Soup

Yield 9 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Pancetta (pan-CHEH-tuh), an Italian bacon that's cured with salt and other spices, contributes a unique flavor to this soup. Regular bacon can be substituted, although it has a smokier taste. Unprocessed kernels of wheat, or wheat berries, are sold in health food stores with other hot cereals.


  • 1 cup uncooked wheat berries
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 3/4 cup chopped pancetta (about 3 ounces) or 3 bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 216
  • caloriesfromfat 29 %
  • fat 7 g
  • satfat 2.2 g
  • monofat 3.3 g
  • polyfat 0.9 g
  • protein 10.5 g
  • carbohydrate 29.9 g
  • fiber 4.2 g
  • cholesterol 6 mg
  • iron 3.1 mg
  • sodium 247 mg
  • calcium 30 mg

How to Make It

  1. Place wheat berries in a large saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above wheat berries. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover; let stand 1 hour. Drain well; return wheat berries to pan.

  2. Cover with water to 2 inches above wheat berries. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and cook over medium-low heat, partially covered, 45 minutes or until tender. Drain; set aside.

  3. Combine 7 cups water and lentils in pan. Bring to a boil; partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add pancetta, and simmer 10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain the lentil mixture in a colander over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid.

  4. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; sauté 8 minutes. Add Swiss chard, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add reserved cooking liquid, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Stir in wheat berries and lentil mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

  5. Note: Each serving provides 99 micrograms of folate.