Recipe: Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Vegetables

This post is by Sarah Powers, Happiest Home contributor and Managing Editor, and blogger at Powers of Mine.

Lentil Soup, Italian Sausage, recipe

I love to make soup, but I have a hard time following soup recipes for some reason. They often seem more complicated than they really are (lots of ingredients broken out into many steps, but really in the end it’s just meat, veggies and liquid hanging out in a pot for a long time, right?).

In my quest for soup recipes that I can commit to memory, I’ve come up with this one for lentil soup with Italian sausage and vegetables. I use sweet Italian chicken sausage and red split lentils, but other variations would be great too (including spicy Italian sausage – I just go for the sweet because the kids like it better).

The best part of this recipe for me, as a soup-from-scratch novice, is that the sausage is already seasoned, which takes the pressure off of me to boost the soup’s flavor with a lot of different herbs and spices. I also love lentils because they have the heartiness and health benefits of beans, but don’t take nearly as long to prep and cook (no overnight soaking and all-day simmering). So if you like hearty stews and bean chilis, this alternative might be a good one for you!

Just like with any soup, substitutions are easy and encouraged! The version below includes bell pepper and broccoli, but you could swap celery for the pepper and I’ve done mushrooms instead of broccoli.

Lentil Soup12

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Vegetables

Serves 6-8. Total cooking time (including prep and stopping for games of Candyland or to nurse a baby) = 1.5-2 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground uncooked Italian sausage (sweet or spicy, chicken sausage or turkey sausage works too)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 10 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (using less stock and making up the difference with water works, too)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils (I use these Red Split Lentils from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cups broccoli, roughly chopped

Lentil Soup03Lentil Soup Ingredients

A note about Italian sausage: I use Sweet Chicken Italian Sausage from Trader Joe’s, which comes uncooked in casing (like bratworst). When I’m ready to add it, I just squeeze the ground meat out of the casing directly into the pot and break it up with a spoon just as I would regular ground meat. 

A note about Trader Joe’s: Absolutely nothing sponsored here. It’s just my go-to grocery store. 🙂

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat
  • Add garlic, stir until fragrant (1 minute)
  • Add chopped onion and stir frequently until soft (3-5 minutes)
  • Add sausage and cook until just beginning to brown, breaking it into small pieces as you stir
  • Stir in carrots, bell pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine with meat and onions; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften (5-7 minutes)
  • Add liquid, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (25-30 minutes). Add additional stock or water as necessary.
  • Bring soup back up to a boil and add the lentils. Cook according to package instructions (most lentils cook in about 45 minutes; however I use split red lentils, which cook much faster) until lentils reach desired firmness.
  • Stir in broccoli at the very end, about 5-10 minutes prior to lentils being fully cooked

Lentil Soup10
Lentil Soup Recipe

A note about consistency: Lentils soak up a lot of liquid. I like lentil soup thick, like a stew or chili, but if you prefer a more brothy soup, you could add additional liquid (broth or water) when you return the soup to a boil before adding the lentils. Soup will thicken considerably as the lentils cook.

Serve as is, or top with parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, or another favorite soup topping.

Enjoy!

PS – Here’s a printer friendly version of the recipe below – if you need it! 

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Vegetables
Serves 8
A hearty, healthy lentil soup using Italian sausage and vegetables. Cooks in less than 2 hours.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  3. 1 lb ground uncooked Italian sausage (sweet or spicy, chicken sausage or turkey sausage works too)
  4. 1 small onion, diced
  5. 3-4 carrots, chopped (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  6. 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  7. 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/4 tsp pepper
  10. 10 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (using less stock and making up the difference with water works, too)
  11. 1 1/2 cups dried lentils (I use these Red Split Lentils from Trader Joe’s)
  12. 2 cups broccoli, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat
  2. Add garlic, stir until fragrant (1 minute)
  3. Add chopped onion and stir frequently until soft (3-5 minutes)
  4. Add sausage and cook until just beginning to brown, breaking it into small pieces as you stir
  5. Stir in carrots, bell pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine with meat and onions; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften (5-7 minutes)
  6. Add liquid, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (25-30 minutes). Add additional stock or water as necessary.
  7. Bring soup back up to a boil and add the lentils. Cook according to package instructions (most lentils cook in about 45 minutes; however I use split red lentils, which cook much faster) until lentils reach desired firmness.
  8. Stir in broccoli at the very end, about 5-10 minutes prior to lentils being fully cooked
A note about Italian sausage
  1. I use Sweet Chicken Italian Sausage from Trader Joe’s, which comes uncooked in casing (like bratworst). When I’m ready to add it, I just squeeze the ground meat out of the casing directly into the pot and break it up with a spoon just as I would regular ground meat.
A note about consistency
  1. Lentils soak up a lot of liquid. I like lentil soup thick, like a stew or chili, but if you prefer a more brothy soup, you could add additional liquid (broth or water) when you return the soup to a boil before adding the lentils. Soup will thicken considerably as the lentils cook.
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2 Comments

  1. Joyce Day
    • Sarah Powers