Recipe: Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

Soup is one of the best and most nutritious all-purpose dishes you can make. And it’s usually easy to do. In fact, creating a basic soup is often a test of a good chef.

I’ve been looking for more recipes designed to increase my consumption of beans, at the recommendation of my doctor. There’s always been just a little resistance to beans. My father insisted on having beans at nearly every meal. And there’s the… ahem, gas issues. But I promised I would try.

So, I had this nice bag of dried lentils that I wanted to use. I’ve had some wonderful lentil dishes over the years, especially Ethiopian style. Then I found this recipe for a lentil soup using Italian sausage. Compared to the amount of soup created, the sausage turns out to be more of a flavoring and mostly disappears into the soup. This is low in fat, high in fiber and protein. It’s also a bit high in carbohydrates, so you might want to skip the bread with this.

Don’t be put off by the lengthy ingredient list. All these wonderful herbs are part of the delicious flavor. I found this soup to be very filling. It’s even better with a touch of hot sauce and a light sprinkling of shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese. This recipe is designed for a stove top method, but it’s easily adapted to the slow cooker, one of my favorite cooking appliances. Feel free to make changes to improve the taste for you.

Lentil and Italian Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 finely chopped carrot
  • 8 cups water
  • 3-1/2 cups (2 cans) chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tablespoon powdered garlic
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup low sodium Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  1. Brown sausage in a large pot over medium heat. A dash of olive oil may be required if sausage is lean. Add onion, celery, garlic and carrot and sauté until vegetables are tender and translucent. Stir in water, chicken broth, lentils and tomatoes. When well mixed, add the rest of the seasonings. Taste before adding salt.
  2. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Then cover and turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for 3 hours until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.

That’s it. Very easy once you get all the ingredients in the pot. Soup is a great, easy meal even in summer.

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