Lentils are a budget-friendly nutritious food that keep for a long time in the pantry and provide a base for so many different flavors. Unlike beans, they don’t require any soak time, which makes them super convenient for meals in a hurry.
Recently I had some odds and ends in the refrigerator I needed to use up, which is a perfect time for soup! (It was also cold outside, which is another good excuse to make soup.) I had a bag of lentils, a little less than a pound of pork sausage, and some veggies. Perfect!
This is a hearty, tasty and very easy lentil soup. It may not even require a trip to the grocery store. In fact, you don’t even have to follow the recipe exactly. If you don’t have one of the ingredients, you can leave it out or use its nearest substitute. But you’ll likely have most of the ingredients on hand.
Start by chopping an onion and a couple of carrots. Mince some garlic or grab the garlic powder from your pantry. If you have a stalk of celery, this would be good too, but I didn’t have any, and the soup was delicious even without it. Next, scrub a few russet potatoes and peel, then chop.
Brown your ground pork sausage over medium heat in a large soup pot on the stove. When it’s done, assess your grease situation: if you have about a tablespoon or so, you’re good. If there’s a lot more grease, you’ll want to drain some of it off, and if there’s less than a tablespoon, you might want to add just a bit of oil and let it heat up to sauté your vegetables.
Toss your onion, carrots, garlic and celery into the soup pot and stir occasionally while they get tender. If the sausage starts to get too brown, you may want to turn the heat down to medium/low or you’ll have to stand there stirring it the whole time so it doesn’t burn. The vegetables will take around five minutes to cook, and it should smell awesome at this point – especially if everyone is hungry!
While the onion and carrots are cooking, round up some canned tomatoes. Diced, stewed, or whole canned tomatoes will all work equally well, although if you use whole canned tomatoes, you’ll want to break them up a bit in the pot so they’re in smaller pieces. (You can use fresh tomatoes, but if you’re making sausage lentil soup in the winter time, canned tomatoes are easier to come by.)
Next, rinse a cup of dry lentils and add them to the pot with the tomatoes and two quarts (8 cups) of water or chicken broth. I used the eight cups of water plus 4 chicken bouillon cubes. If you do the same, make sure not to add salt to the soup. Those cubes are practically made of salt.
Drop in a bay leaf and let the soup come up to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Finally, add your chopped, peeled potatoes and cook until they are tender, which will be 10-15 minutes, depending on how small you chopped them. (Smaller dices of potato will cook more quickly than large ones.)
Before serving, you can taste it to see if it needs any salt or pepper. It would be great served with crackers or slices of crusty buttered bread.
Sausage Lentil Soup
Warm, hearty, easy on the budget and just plain easy, this delicious sausage lentil soup recipe is a perfect way to get dinner on the table with just a few pantry staples.
- 1 lb. ground pork sausage
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or 2 tsp. garlic powder)
- 1 cup dry brown or green lentils
- 1 can stewed tomatoes, 15 oz.
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 2 or 3 medium russet potatoes (or equivalent amount of red or yellow potatoes)
- 2 quarts water or chicken broth
- 4 cubes chicken bouillon (optional, and only needed if you aren't using liquid broth)
- Brown ground pork in a large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add onion, carrots, garlic and stir occasionally until tender
- Rinse lentils under cool water
- Add lentils, tomato, bay leaf, and water or bouillon to the soup pot; bring to a boil then lower heat and cover; simmer for about 20 minutes (Check the cooking instructions on your lentil package and adjust time as necessary for the brand of lentils you're using.)
- Add chopped potatoes, stir, and cover, cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with buttered crusty bread or crackers.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 1599mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 21g
Nutritional values are estimates only and provided here for your convenience.