Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage

January 24, 2010 § 3 Comments

Well, the weather certainly has been frightful this past week–wet, dreary, cold, windy. Flooding on the streets, cars getting stuck, power lines down, road closures. So what better to combat all these weather woes than a hearty soup to warm the soul?

The Mister picked this recipe out from a Bon Appetit I had lying around. He’s gotten in this habit of late to flip through cooking magazines and books laying around. His way of contributing to my food passion, I think. So, off to the grocery store we went to pick up the ingredients.

I decided to go to Henry’s for bulk lentil. Hmm, they had green and red lentils but no brown which the recipe calls for. I was going to get the green since I didn’t know much about red lentils but the Mister wanted to try it. It wasn’t until after we got home that the Mister looked up red lentils and told me that they tend to get mushier than green or brown lentils. Noted–adjust cooking time accordingly. So with constant percussion of the rain in the background, I set off to make the soup.

If you compare my soup to Bon Appetit’s picture of the soup, very different. The variation was due to the red lentils, I suspect. Certainly added to the orange color, which I thought was very pretty. My version also appears to be much thicker, almost stew-like. The only thing we didn’t like was the parsnips. For some reason, the parsnips I’ve bought recently have been extremely pungent, certainly more than to our liking. If I was to use red lentils again in this dish, I would leave out the parsnips or grate it instead of cubing it. If I use green or brown lentils, I will substitute parsnips for potatoes.

We really enjoyed the flavor of this soup. The spicy Italian sausage added so much flavor and I particularly liked the wilted spinach, more so than the Mister. A steaming bowl of this soup certainly helps cut through the chill.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit 

Easily serves 4 people as main course.


1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, without casing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 large celery stalks, chopped
1/4 tsp each of dried basil, marjoram, oregano, sage (or 2 tsp of dried Italian seasoning)
1/2 lb red lentils
2-3 quarts low-salt chicken broth
5 oz package baby spinach leaves


Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage using a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Add onion, carrots, parsnips, celery, and Italian seasoning blend to drippings in pot. Cook until onion is translucent and vegetables begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.

Rinse lentils in a fine mesh strainer and add to pot, stir to coat. Add broth. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes for red lentils (about 20 minutes for brown or green lentils).  Stir occasionally and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if soup is too thick.

Add sausage to soup and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach and cook another 2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Serve with some yummy crusty bread.


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