This one-hour soup is surprisingly simple to make, considering how much satisfying flavor it delivers. Lentils, a nutritional powerhouse full of fiber; make a hearty winter soup when combined with a little bit of sausage and a lot of vegetables.
1 (3 3/4-ounce) link hot Italian pork sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
1 cup sliced celery
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 cups water
4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup lower-sodium tomato sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 (4-inch-long) thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 (16-ounce) package dried lentils
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
Shaved fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
How to Make It
Remove casing from sausage. Heat a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage to pan, and cook until browned; stir to crumble. Add onion, celery, and carrot; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds.
Stir in 7 cups water and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaves). Bring to a boil; stir in lentils. Return to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Stir in spinach; cover and cook 2 minutes or just until spinach wilts. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Ladle soup into bowls, and, if desired, sprinkle evenly with cheese.
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