Chase away the cold weather with a bowl of my hearty Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens.
I recently wrote a blog post about reducing food waste at home and one of the tips I gave was to plan out your meals for the week. One of my favorite things to make on the weekend is a big old pot of soup, especially when I know I have a busy work week coming up. There’s just something so comforting about tucking into a piping hot bowl of soup after a long day, especially when it’s cold outside. Plus, I love the way it makes my kitchen smell as it simmers away on the stove. I usually make enough soup to enjoy for a few days and then freeze the rest. That way I always have a hearty and nutritious meal that I can heat up when I’m short on time.
My Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens is packed with lentils, chicken sausage, and vegetables like carrots, celery and hearty greens. It’s easy to make, inexpensive and filling enough to be eaten for dinner. It can also easily be made vegetarian by omitting the sausage. I made the base of the soup with French green lentils. I like using them in this soup recipe because they hold their shape better than traditional brown lentils and don’t get mushy.
Lentils actually come in hundreds of varieties ranging in color from red to orange, yellow, green, brown and black. I love using all kinds of lentils in my cooking because they have so many health benefits. They 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.
For my Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens, I like to stir in some fresh greens at the very end. You can use Swiss chard, kale, spinach or whatever you have on hand. A touch of vinegar at the end adds a pop of flavor. I like to serve the soup with some grated Parmesan cheese and crusty whole grain bread for dipping.
Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 package (12 ounces) cooked chicken sausage, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons) French green lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 4 cups roughly chopped Swiss chard, kale, spinach or other leafy green
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Optional: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for topping
- In a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, heat ½ tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage slices and brown them on both sides. Transfer the sausage to a bowl.
- Add the remaining tablespoon 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, stock and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer with the lid slightly ajar until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the greens, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sausage and cook until the greens are wilted and the sausage is heated through, 3-4 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired.
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