1 cup green lentils
36 oz. fat-free, reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, trimmed and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves
canola oil spray
1 fuji apple, peeled and diced
salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 to 4 large pretzels, broken into small pieces for garnish (optional)
1. Place lentils, broth, carrot, garlic, onion, leek, thyme and bay leaf in a medium Dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.
2. Stir in Swiss chard, and simmer 20 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, spray a medium non-stick skillet with canola oil and heat on medium-high. Add apple and saute until golden on all sides, about three to four minutes.
4. When lentils are tender, stir in apple and remove bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. For a creamy soup, puree half in a blender and combine with remaining soup. Serve garnishe'd with crushed pretzels, if desired.