It’s easy to get in a rut when it comes to meal planning. One way I try to avoid this rut is exploring new recipes from a variety of sources. I love to ask family or friends for their favorite recipes because it gives me meal ideas I otherwise might not have thought of. I received this sausage and lentil soup recipe from my sister a couple weeks ago. I made a few changes to the recipe such as swapping out the pork sausage for turkey sausage, omitting the garlic oil as it was an extra step that I didn’t think was necessary and replacing the Pecorino Romano cheese for Parmesan because it’s what I had on hand. This is an easy soup to prepare and can be made in an Instant Pot if you are short on time. This hearty soup pairs perfectly with a slice of whole grain bread or roll and a salad for a satisfying winter meal!
Haven’t tried lentils before? Lentils are legumes or edible seeds that are full of fiber, protein and many heart healthy vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and iron. They come in a variety of colors from red to green and are usually found in the dried beans section at your local grocery store. Make sure to rinse and sift your lentils before cooking to remove any hidden stones or debris that may be present.
Sausage Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 large links (about 8 ounces) of mild Italian turkey sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery ribs, sliced or diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- Kosher salt
- A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup red or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups water
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
- Grated Parmesan cheese to finish
On the stove: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to generously coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water (6 cups is, conveniently, a little less than 2 empty 28-ounce cans, so you can get any tomato pulp you missed), more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side.)
When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.
In an InstantPot or electric multicooker: Proceed as written above, using the sauté function on high (I find this to be like medium-high on a stove) to cook the sausage and then vegetables. Once you’ve added the remaining ingredients, including dried lentils, lock the lid and set to high pressure for 15 minutes. Let it naturally release for at least 10 minutes (or longer, if you have time), to help keep the vegetables intact. You can manually release the rest. Use the sauté function on high again to bring it back to a simmer (this should be take no time at all) and add the greens; cook until wilted.
Both methods: To finish, divide soup among bowls, then top with fresh Parmesan, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge or freezer for up to 6 months.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
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