January 26, 2011

lentil soup

Let me start by saying, I should not like this recipe.

It has lentils and generally speaking, I am not a lentil person.

It has sausage, and I believe I've mentioned several times before that sausage makes me nervous.

Aesthetically speaking, this is not a particularly pretty soup. It's gray. I've tried to disguise that fact with a chiffonade of spinach and some finely grated parmesan cheese, but the bottom line is gray is not a happy food color. Gray food tends to bring back bad memories of your junior high cafeteria.

All that to say, against all odds, I love, love, love this soup. It's in my top three favorite soups of all time, and that's saying something.

Lentil Soup

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt - or less, depending on the saltiness of your chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 cup finely sliced spinach
grated parmesan cheese

In a large stockpot, brown and drain sausage and set aside. In the same pan, saute carrot, onion and celery in butter and olive oil till they start to soften. Add lentils and chicken stock. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes, until lentils and vegetables are tender. I usually add about a cup of water at this point as a lot of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated. Add mustard, vinegar (both are vital to this recipe) and salt. Stir in cream and heat through.

Garnish with spinach and parmesan cheese, and you've got yourself a perfect meal for a cold winter's night.

Ina's Parmesan Crackers are the perfect accompaniment to this soup.

My sister is my Parmesan Cracker supplier, sending me a box every Christmas, so I've never actually made these myself. Sister adds an additional two tablespoons of butter to the recipe, as the dough tends to be pretty dry. She also highly recommends baking them on a Silpat so they don't stick to the baking pan. Oh, and she cuts the pepper back to 1/4 teaspoon.

They are a savory slice of shortbread heaven.

Make some today!

But only if you want to.

I don't want to be bossy.


  1. Your soup looks yummy! We have a favorite lentil soup recipe that is VERY similar to yours. My crew was just saying the other night how we should try italian sausage in ours instead of kielbasa. I might just give it a try now.

  2. That soup looks fabulous... not gray at all. I'm not a lentil fan either but I may have to give this one a try.

    And those crackers, oh my gosh do those look good. Although I must admit, I've never heard of anyone ADDING butter to one of her recipes! She really is the butter queen and I'm guessing that is why every recipe she has tastes so out of this world. I'm afraid to try them since I would probably want to make them weekly, and the world would end up in a butter shortage.


  3. Soup looks marvelous; I do like those ingredients so one step ahead already. Will look forward to making.

  4. I love lentils and that soup looks DELICIOUS! I am making Apple Walnut Lentil Loaf from the Clean Food cookbook tonight!

  5. My husband LOVES lentil soup and sausage, so I will have to try it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. okay so you know how when you read and the lines get crossed? ya, i read the first 2 lines of the recipe mixed, and cam eup with a pound of butter. said out loud, well no wonder she likes it! ha...had to reread it. sounds yummy!

  7. Being a soup fanatic....this sounds and looks fabulous! I cannot wait to make it, since I just got back from Paris TO MORE SNOW...will be looking for some great ideas to make some good meals. We all love lentil soup here so looks like this will be on the menu tomorrow!

  8. I share your sentiments on lentils and that gray food area - but this looks divine, and healthy! Your garnishes are perfect. Thanks for posting...

  9. Well, I must say, you did an excellent job of making that soup look delicious in the photo! I love lentil soup, but mine is a bit different; can't wait to try your version. I'd love you to add it to my Bean Soup Exchange - I consider lentils a bean even though they're probably not. They're dried round things, right?


    And have you tried "turkey" Italian sausage? I either use that or I often buy Italian Sausage from a guy who raises grass fed beef - I trust these more than the pork varieties from the store. The crackers are similar to a family favorite I make with sharp cheddar and cayenne pepper. I'll have to try your parmesan twist on them! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I adore lentil soup so will try yours for sure. And those crackers? What are you trying to do to me! I haven't gotten rid of my Xmas pounds yet! (But I shall have to try them.)

  11. I'm actually eating a bowl of leftover bean soup (with lentils and sausage) as I'm reading this. Those parmesan crackers look amazing. Gotta love Ina.

  12. Excellent use of the term 'chiffonade.' I'm going to use that now whenever I make soup. For the record, I am both a lentil and a sausage person. And I think this will be the dinner plan for tonight.

    Phew - just in time! Thanks!

  13. I'm definitely going to have to give this recipe a try! It sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thanks so much for posting this! I am trying hard to use more dry beans in our diet. They are so cheap, and good for us too. It just hard to find recipes that we all like. I am going to give this one a try! Have anymore?

  15. Thank you! My mom gave me a pre-packaged lentil and barley soup mix, and now I have some ideas for some fresh ingredients to add to it to make it taste less store-bought and more homemade!

  16. Because I am now addicted to your delish chicken soup (!), I will have to give this one a try this weekend. That's become my favorite thing-- to make a big pot of soup on the weekends. Thanks, Teresa. :)

  17. Doesn't look gray to me....this soup looks great, delicious, wonderful, homemade yummy!!!!! I LOVE soup, this will be my next new recipe to try!

  18. I just posted a recipe too!
    I honestly don't know if I've ever tried lentils. I am a soup person though so if you say it's good, I'll trust ya! Maybe I'll try it someday. The rest of my family, unfortunately, is not too into soup, especially my son who won't touch it. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Oh, my! That looks FABULOUS! I see Amy has a good source of sausage -- I avoid pork, too, and for now I've been using grass-fed beef that I make into a "sausage" by adding spices:
    1 lb. beef
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
    1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (I use sucanat)
    1 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    For best results, mix together and refrigerate overnight... but I often just throw it all in the pan and brown it together.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Well i must ask - what are your two other favorite soups that make that top 3 list?!? I'm a huge soup girl and would LOVE to know the other great ones! this one looks delish if only i liked or ate sausage lol.

  21. I LOVE lentil soup and I am in agreement with all your reasons why I shouldn't. The crackers look great,but,alas I am lazy. Maybe your sister would want to send me some. NO. Yeah, that's what I figured.

  22. Ooh...I think that soup looks fantastic!! And the crackers..yum!! Just what I might need on a cold January day:):)

  23. Ha ha, so true: "sausage makes me nervous." I hear you on that one! That soup does look yummy! I've been eating a corn chowder for two days and have been in soup heaven! I left you a comment on my blog, I am not sure my Blackberry has a timer, I just use the alarm setting. So I'll set the alarm to go off in 20 minutes if I'm cooking something for that long. Maybe it does have a timer, I should read my book! I'm guessing they figured an alarm is good enough.

  24. I was sold at "add cheese". No gray warning needed. I'll have to try it. We just got buried again and some soup sounds great.

  25. This is a followup- made the soup and it was fabulous and so satisfying! Thanks for the recipe. You must try myBeef Bourguignon recipe that I am posting today on my Paris post...trust me you will LOVE it, and seems like you enjoy, like me cooking. It was soo great, my boys loved it and very satisfying! (no lentils or sausage...either)

  26. I love lentils and sausage--so I know I would love, love, love this soup too :) Yummy

  27. Oh thank you for posting this! I tried making lentil soup the other night for the first time EVER and while it was really good, it was too similar to another recipe I have (for Beef and Barley soup...weird, huh?) I wanted to try something different and I do believe this is it. We'll be trying this on Saturday. :)

  28. I came across your blog while surfing today and I stopped as soon as I saw lentil soup. My family is from Scotland and lentil soup is one of my favorite's. You mnetion the gary-ish color of the soup. I didn't think your soup looked gray but in a lot of organic markets you will find organic red lentils, which are actually orange and they make a great colored soup, they are the only lentils my Mum uses. Just thought I'd share. :)


  29. I'm with Jennifer - I was going to suggest red lentils. They are beautiful AND yummy!

  30. I just made this and it was every bit as good as you said! My family loved it!!

  31. This looks so wonderful and your pictures are stunning!!! Great blog.

  32. I discovered your blog just last week and am ABSOLUTELY in love with the brightness and creativity of it all ... I gathered the ingredients for your Lentil Soup and made it for supper tonight. Simply WONDERUL, filling, warming ... the perfect soup for a winter night. Now watch out, no lentils are safe here on out! :)
    Many thanks in Churubusco, Indiana