Dried brown lentils hold their shape after being cooked, so this soup is a good one to make ahead. The spinach will lose its vibrant color, though, so either add it when reheating the soup or make your peace with the darker color. Here's a supersimple soup tip: Simmering with whole thyme sprigs infuses flavor without your having to strip those little leaves off the stems; simply remove the sprigs before serving.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped carrot
2/3 cup chopped celery
8 ounces sweet pork Italian sausage, casings removed
6 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
6 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
9 ounces fresh baby spinach
Est. added sugars 0g
How to Make It
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion, carrot, and celery; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add sausage; cook, stirring often, until crumbled and no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add stock, lentils, thyme, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and spinach; cook, stirring constantly, until spinach wilts, about 1 1/2 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
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I am always on the lookout for a recipe that I can take to work all week and that will be satisfying. This fit the bill! Lots of flavor, was filling and made a perfect amount to eat for a few days and even have a little left over to freeze. I made a few modifications: reduced olive oil to 1 tbps, swapped thyme sprigs for a dried oregano, marjoram, basil mix, reduce stock to 4 cups and added 3 cups of water and swapped pork sausage for chicken. I also reduced the serving size from 8 to 6 to up the serving size from 1 cup to 1.5. The other swaps I made allowed for the increased portion without changing the nutritional info too much (at least per myfitnesspal.com). Last, it was some easy chopping and all went into one pot. Doesn't get easier than that!
I didn't think I liked lentils but this combination made me want to try them again and I'm glad I did. Very herby and comforting. Used green lentils and they definitely took longer to become tender. Soaked up the remnants with a side of crusty bread. Will add to my regular rotation.
Just made this tonight and really enjoyed it! I didn't realize it specified sweet Italian sausage, and I bought hot Italian sausage instead. I made a few adjustments because of that, but I think this soup would be great either way. To complement the flavoring of the hot Italian sausage, I added in a few tsp of minced garlic at the end of sauteeing the vegetables. I also added in about a tbsp of tomato paste at the end of cooking the sausage before adding the broth. Like the previous reviewer, I found it took a little longer for the lentils to become tender (30 min of simmering for me), and ended up adding an additional 2 cups of chicken stock to make up for the liquid lost. I added a little bit of crushed red pepper with the salt and black pepper before mixing in the spinach. I served with parmesan and parsley on top, and with some ciabatta bread. Very quick, easy, and delicious - and full of lots of good veggies!