This hearty lentil soup with spinach and sausage recipe includes baby carrots, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, Italian sausage, and spinach. As lentils are rich-tasting and hold in shape very well when cooked, this soup is no doubt a perfect choice for a sumptuous weekend dinner.
What Is a Lentil?
Lentil is a member of the legume family and belongs to the same group as beans and peas. Its lenticular seeds grow in pods— usually, there are two seeds per seed.
Lentils originated in Asia and North Africa, and are now mainly produced in Canada and India. To date, it is a common pantry and also one of the oldest and cultivated legumes in the world.
Lentils are known for their delicate and earthy taste, making them the first choice for various dishes. It’s budget-friendly, cooks quickly, and requires no soaking— you can easily mix lentils into any 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. It is extremely low in fat and rich in fiber.
Lentils have both soluble and insoluble fiber and complex carbohydrates, which can release glucose slowly and stably. The glycemic index of lentils is very low, only 32±5— making it an excellent aid for weight loss.
Thanks to being high in soluble fiber, lentils can help stabilize blood sugar, help reduce blood cholesterol, prevent constipation, and many digestive issues.
Lentils are also a nutritious, versatile, and easy-to-use meat substitute. It also contains other nutrients: calcium, iron, folic acid, and many vitamins and minerals.
Types of Lentil
Lentils are sold in two forms: canned and dried. Canned lentils can be used for ready-to-eat salads or side dishes, while dried ones are suitable for soups and stews.
1. Brown Lentils
Brown lentils are the most common variety. Their colors usually range from khaki brown to dark black and also come with a mildly earthy taste.
Brown lentils easily maintain a good shape during cooking and are very suitable for hot salads, casseroles, soups, and stews. They also work well in vegetarian burgers or vegetarian patties.
Brown lentils are like all-in-one lentils. They are commonly used in North America as either a main ingredient or thickening agent.
2. Red Lentils
Generally, the colors of red lentils range from golden yellow to orange and red. These slightly sweet and nutty red lentils are very common in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Red lentils are used to brighten dishes and provide a sweet nutty flavor. You can easily find red lentils in Indian curry dishes such as daal.
Due to their “split” nature, this type of lentils will disintegrate when cooking. When the skin of the red lentils cracks, it will quickly decompose and become 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 they are more intense in taste. They vary in size and color— ranging from light green or spotted green to green slate with hints of blue and black.
Similar to brown lentils, green lentils tend to split and fall apart when cooked. They are known for the best texture and flavor of all lentils, which make them the most expensive type.
Because of the peppery taste, green lentils are particularly effective on salads and can be used as a warm side. Among all the lentil varieties, green lentils take the longest time to cook — about 45 minutes.
Lentil Soup Ingredients
Usually, a bowl of dried lentils produces about two and a half cups of cooked lentils. Do not skip the rinsing and sieving of 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 more 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
Step 1: Sear the sausage
Cut the sausage links. Sear the sausages for 3 minutes with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Drain and allow them to cool down before slicing them.
Step 2: Stir-fry the veggie mix
In a non-stick saucepan, stir onions and garlic with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until the onions turn transparent. Add mushrooms and keep stirring for 3 minutes.
Step 3: Stir-fry the veggie mix
Continue to add the lentils, thyme, bay leaves, and basil to the saucepan. Stir.
Step 4: Add chicken broth
Add chicken broth to the saucepan. Let simmer for 20 minutes and then add the sausage slices. Let simmer for extra 5 minutes.
Step 5: Season
Continue to add salt, ground black pepper, and spinach. Turn off the heat after 2 minutes.
Step 6: Serve.
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 added ingredients as suggested below.
Using either low-fat turkey sausage or leftover diced ham instead of sausage is recommended. Cooking lentil soup with chicken can reduce the sodium amount 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.
Lentil Soup with Spinach and Sausage RecipePrint RATE
- 3 oz smoked sausage
- 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
- 4 oz crimini mushrooms
- 3 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
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- Cut the sausage links. Sear the sausages for 3 minutes with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Drain and allow them to cool down before slicing them.
- In a non-stick saucepan, stir onions and garlic with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until the onions turn transparent. Add mushrooms and keep stirring for 3 minutes.
- Continue to add the lentils, thyme, bay leave, and basil to the saucepan. Stir.
- Add chicken broth to the saucepan. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the sausage slices, let simmer for extra 5 minutes.
- Continue to add salt, ground black pepper, and spinach. Turn off the heat after 2 minutes.
- Serve hot.
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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 and 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 them tightly, and put 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 well. This lentil soup with spinach and sausage recipe produces servings for four, so you can store smaller portions of it in the fridge for later use.
As sausages can freeze well, you can also consider use half of the sausage first and save half to cook a fresh batch of soup later.