When it’s cold and dreary outside, I tend to gravitate towards warm, hearty soup dishes. My Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens is a perfectly comforting bowl of soup to curl up with on such a day. It’s easy to make, inexpensive and filling enough to be eaten for dinner. It’s also packed with nutritious ingredients and can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken sausage.
The base of this soup is made with brown lentils. Lentils are legumes and come in hundreds of varieties ranging in color from red to orange, yellow, green, brown and black. Lentils are eaten all over the world, and are a staple in many cuisines especially in India, Europe and the Middle East. Lentils are quick cooking and extremely versatile. They are low in calories, fat and sodium, and also have several other health benefits. Lentils are one of the best plant-based sources of protein, which makes them a great addition to vegetarian diets. In addition, they are high in fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease. They also are a good source of B vitamins (especially folate), iron, and several other minerals.
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 package (12 ounces) cooked chicken sausage, sliced (I used Applegate Organics chicken & apple sausage)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 8 oz. brown lentils (1 ¼ cups), rinsed
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cups roughly chopped Swiss Chard, kale, spinach or other leafy green
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese
- In a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage slices and brown them on both sides. Transfer the sausage to a bowl.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot along with the onion, carrot and celery. Cook until slightly softened, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils, broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer with the lid slightly ajar until lentils are tender, 25-30 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, puree some of the soup to thicken it. Alternatively, remove about a quarter of the soup, puree it in a blender and then return it to the pot. Stir in the greens, vinegar and sausage and cook until the greens are wilted and the sausage is heated through, 3-4 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese on top before serving.
What’s your favorite soup? How do you like to prepare lentils? Leave a comment below and let me know!