When winter weather gets frightful, few things are more delightful than a cozy fleece cardigan + hot bowl of homemade soup! I’ve been actively trying to incorporate more fiber (for digestive health) and leafy greens into my everyday diet, so this hearty lentil soup is a no-brainer. Lentils are low in calories and fat, yet packed with good stuff like fiber, protein, folate, and iron. When simmered with veggies, spices, and a little (optional but highly recommended) chicken sausage, it yields this delicious 1-pot meal that also makes great leftovers (and freezes well)! Tip: I like using lidded mason jars to easily transport soup and stews for weekday lunches.
This is another recipe that you can easily customize by switching up the meat, broth, or the type of veggies (think diced celery, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc). Since I used store-bought chicken sausage and broth, the seasoning levels will vary compared to other types of meat or homemade broth. I always taste after simmering and add additional seasoning, if necessary.
Lentil Vegetable Soup
Ingredients (yields 5-6 servings), in the order of which they’re added:
- 2 links of chicken sausage out of the casing, or about 1/2 lb of meat (I love using 1 link hot Italian + 1 link sweet Italian chicken sausage from the Whole Foods meat counter)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can (14 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1.5 cups dry lentils** (I usually use green lentils; no need to soak beforehand)
- 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 cups homemade or a 32oz box low-sodium broth (I use Pacific or Whole Foods low sodium beef broth for this soup)
- 1 cup water
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika / red pepper (start with less if it’s a spicier red pepper)
- Salt & pepper at the end to taste, if necessary
- 1 package baby spinach
- Juice of half a lemon; wedges for garnish
**Note: 1.5 cups lentils results in a thicker stew, as pictured. For a soupier consistency, I reduce this to 1 cup dry lentils and add a little more veggies, if desired.
Step 1: In a large pot, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Lightly brown the chicken sausage (crumbled out of the casing, or chopped if your’e using pre-cooked chicken sausage). Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Step 2: Add in all the remaining ingredients except spinach and lemon juice. Stir well, then simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes until carrots are tender.
Step 3: After simmering, add some salt & pepper to taste, if necessary. Stir in spinach and lemon juice at the end and immediately turn off the heat to avoid over-wilting the spinach. It might look like a lot at first, but a full package of spinach will mix in easily. Serve and enjoy!
Let me know if you give this a try! I’ve been loving all of your Thai eggplant photos!
P.S. Lunar New Year is coming up – I’ll be making my shrimp & pork dumplings with garlic chive!