This hearty lentil soup with spinach and sausage recipe includes baby carrots, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, Italian sausage, and spinach. As lentils are rich in taste and hold their shape well when cooked, this soup is no doubt a perfect choice for a sumptuous weekend dinner.
What Is a Lentil?
Lentils are a member of the legume family and belong to the same group as beans and peas. Their lenticular seeds grow in pods (usually two seeds per pod).
Lentils originated in Asia and North Africa, and are now mainly produced in Canada and India. To date, they are a common pantry item and also one of the oldest cultivated legumes in the world.
Lentils are known for their delicate and earthy taste, making them the first choice for various dishes. They’re budget-friendly, cook quickly, and require no soaking— you can easily mix lentils into curries, soups, stews, or sauces.
Is Lentil Soup Healthy?
In every 100 grams of lentils, you’ll get 352 calories, 10.7 grams of fiber, 24.63 grams of protein, and only 1.06 grams of total fat.
Lentils are a high-quality, plant-based protein source. They’re extremely low in fat and rich in fiber.
Lentils have both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as complex carbohydrates, which can release glucose slowly and stably. The glycemic index of lentils is very low, only 32±5, making them an excellent aid for weight loss.
Thanks to their high soluble fiber content, lentils can help stabilize blood sugar, reduce blood cholesterol, and prevent constipation and other digestive issues.
Lentils are also a nutritious, versatile, and easy-to-use meat substitute. They contain other nutrients that include calcium, iron, folic acid, and many vitamins and minerals.
Types of Lentils
Lentils are sold both canned and dried. While canned lentils can be used for quick salads or side dishes, dried ones are more suitable for soups and stews.
1. Brown Lentils
Brown lentils are the most common variety. Their color usually ranges from khaki brown to dark black, and come with a mildly earthy taste.
Brown lentils easily maintain a good shape during cooking and are suitable for hot casseroles, soups, and stews. They also work well in vegetarian burgers or vegetarian patties.
Brown lentils are like the all-purpose legume. They are commonly used in North America as either a main ingredient or thickening agent.
2. Red Lentils
Generally, the color of red lentils ranges from golden yellow to orange and red. These slightly sweet and nutty legumes are common in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine such as daal.
Due to their “split” nature, this type of lentil disintegrates during cooking. When the skin of the red lentils cracks, it quickly decomposes and becomes a paste.
This is how they’re used as a thickener in soups, pureed vegetables, stews, casseroles, or any other puree dishes. Whenever you want a thick, soothing paste, red lentils will be a perfect choice.
3. Green Lentils
Green lentils are very similar to brown lentils, but have a more intense taste. They vary in size and color, ranging from light or spotted green to green slate with hints of blue and black.
Like red lentils, green lentils tend to split and fall apart when cooked. They are known for the best texture and flavor of all the lentils, which make them the most expensive.
Because of their peppery taste, green lentils are particularly effective in salads, or can be used as a warm side. Among the lentil varieties, green lentils take the longest to cook (about 45 minutes).
Lentil Soup Ingredients
Usually, a bowl of dried lentils equals about two and a half cups cooked. Don’t skip rinsing and sieving the lentils before cooking, or else small stones or crumbs might not be removed completely.
If you like a lighter-tasting soup, consider using chicken or turkey smoked sausage, or kielbasa. To make it more economical, use leftover diced ham instead of sausage.
For a vegetarian soup, skip the sausage and use salt-free vegetable soup. If you need greater depth, adding a spoonful of white miso will help.
Spinach starts losing its bright color after exposure to room temperature. So, it’s best to add it to the soup in the last minutes to maintain its color.
How to Make Lentil Soup
This lentil soup with spinach and sausage recipe adapts a simple cooking method with the engagement of fresh produce and takes a few simple steps to make.
Sear the sausage in olive oil in a cast-iron skillet.
Sauté onions and garlic.
Add lentils, thyme, and bay leaves.
Add the chicken broth.
Add the sausage.
Add the spices
Scoop out into serving bowls and enjoy hot.
What Else Goes with Lentil Soup?
Lentil soup with spinach and sausage can be made in big batches since the rest can be saved for the next day. It pairs wonderfully with many other ingredients, as suggested below.
Cooking lentil soup with chicken can reduce the amount of sodium and also makes it remarkably lighter in taste.
This lentil soup with spinach and sausage can be enjoyed with freshly baked cornbread or southern buttermilk biscuits. You can also pair it with crispy French bread.
Recipes Similar to This Lentil Soup with Spinach and Sausage
- Instant Pot Bean Soup Recipe
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup Recipe
- Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice Recipe
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Lentil Soup with Spinach and Sausage Recipe
- 3 oz smoked sausage chopped
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 3 oz onion chopped
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 2 oz baby spinach
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil divided
- 4 oz crimini mushrooms
- 3 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- Cut 3 oz smoked sausage links. Sear them for 3 minutes with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
- In a cast-iron skillet, sauté 3 oz onion and 1 tsp garlic with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until the onions turn transparent.
- Add 4 oz crimini mushrooms and keep stirring for 3 minutes.
- Add the 3/4 cup lentil, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf. Stir.
- Add the 3 cups unsalted chicken broth. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the sausage slices, and let simmer for an extra 5 minutes.
- Incorporate 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper to the soup.
- Add 2 oz baby spinach. Turn off the heat after 2 minutes.
- Serve hot.
1. Is Lentil Soup Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, this lentil soup with spinach and sausage can promote weight loss.
Lentils have both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as complex carbohydrates, which can release glucose slowly and stably. The glycerol blending index of lentils is very low, only 32±5, which is an excellent aid for weight loss.
2. Is Lentil Soup Gluten-Free?
Yes, this lentil soup with spinach and sausage is gluten-free.
3. How Long Does Lentil Soup Last?
Lentil soup with spinach and sausage is suitable for meal prep. You can easily make the soup in advance and save it for the next lunch.
Simply store the leftovers in a container, seal it tightly, and put it in the fridge. Microwave it to reheat whenever you’re ready to serve again.
4. Can You Freeze Lentil Soup?
Yes, lentil soup can be frozen. This recipe produces servings for four, so you can store smaller portions of it in the fridge for later consumption.
As sausages can freeze well, you can also consider using half of the sausage first, and save the other half to cook a fresh batch of soup later.