When I made this Lentil and Sausage Soup, it was delightfully easy and its flavor impressive. Surprised by numerous recipes calling for “just throw everything in the pot” once the sausage browned; I struggled a little with not layering the flavors, skeptical of great taste with so little effort. Melding a few promising recipes into one, this soup proved worthy of a regular spot on the menu rotation. Nothing fancy, just down right delicious.
Lentils boast a beautiful range of autumn colors to choose from; I selected yellow for a bright, appetizing soup. Green and brown lentils are more common and equally as tasty, but tend to make soups look muddy or cloudy. Its humble ingredients will never outshine Lobster Bisque or Cream of Asparagus for culinary elegance, however, Lentil and Sausage Soup delivers a flavorful and satisfying meal without a lot of fuss.
Lentil and Sausage Soup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage — removed from casings (link chicken sausage is great too)
1 medium onion — chopped
2 stalks celery — chopped
3 medium carrots — chopped
1 orange bell pepper — chopped
4 cloves garlic — minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes — or more, to taste
1 teaspoon basil — or 1/4 cup fresh basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme — or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 cups dry lentils
1 medium zucchini — chopped
28 ounces diced tomatoes — undrained
6 cups chicken stock
1 piece parmesan rind
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
In a large pot, brown sausage in olive oil. Removed from pan and drain sausage on paper towels. In the same pot, saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper until vegetables are softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, salt and spices, cook until fragrant.
Mix in the remaining items, except the parsley, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
Stir in parsley and simmer about 10 minutes before serving. Remove Parmesan rind and serve with freshly grated Parmesan and crusty bread.