|This Spicy Sausage, Lentil, and Tomato Soup may be my favorite lentil soup ever!|
Today I woke up to snow on the ground, which makes me especially happy that I have some of this Spicy Sausage, Lentil, and Tomato Soup in the freezer. I made this a couple of times to get the recipe just right, upping the the amount of spices, sausage, and tomatoes and decreasing the lentils in the final version, and this might be the best lentil soup I've ever made. Of course, I love, love, love lentil soup, which isn't a bad thing at all since they're one of The World's Healthiest Foods. If you're someone who's still undecided about lentils, I challenge you to try this soup and I'm betting you'll become a lentil fan!
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil, then saute celery and onions for about 5 minutes, until they're just starting to brown. Then add garlic and saute about 1 minute; then add dried spices and saute 1 minute more. (Forgot to take another photo after the dried spices were added, oops!)
Put the onion mixture into the soup pot, heat 2 tsp. more olive oil and saute the turkey Italian sausage until it's nicely browned, then add sausage to the soup pot.
Deglaze the pan with 2 cups of the chicken stock, scraping up all the browned bits of sausage, then add this to the soup pot.
Add the rest of the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, dried lentils, and bay leaves to the soup pot and let the soup simmer on low for about one hour.
Here's how the soup looked after an hour, with the lentils cooked enough that they are soft when you bite into one.
When the soup has cooked one hour (or when lentils are soft) remove about 1/3 of the soup and puree it with an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. (I used my immersion blender in this giant 8 cup glass measuring cup, which was easy. Be careful with the hot soup if you use a food processor or blender.)
Add the pureed soup back into the pot and cook for 30-45 minutes more, until the soup is as thick as you'd like it. (It will thicken more the longer you cook it.)
Here's how my soup looked after simmering about 40 minutes more. It's not the most photogenic soup I've made, but definitely one of the best tasting!
Spicy Sausage, Lentil, and Tomato Soup
(Makes about 6-8 servings, recipe adapted from Sausage and Lentil Soup at The Joy of Soup.)
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1 onion, chopped small
1 cup finely diced celery
1 T minced garlic (or less, but I like a lot of garlic in this)
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried Greek or Turkish oregano (or regular oregano will work, but don't use Mexican oregano)
1 tsp. ground fennel seed (optional, but this really adds to the flavor)
5 links (19.5 oz.) hot turkey Italian Sausage (check the label to find turkey Italian sausage with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
8 cups chicken stock (or use 5 cans chicken broth; 14.5 oz. can, and freeze the extra 8 oz.)
3 cans petite dice tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz. can)
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
2 dried bay leaves
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil, add chopped onion and celery and saute until it's just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute 1 minute more, then add red pepper flakes, dried thyme, dried oregano, and ground fennel seed and saute 1 minute more. Put onion mixture into large soup pot.
Add 2 tsp. more olive oil, squeeze turkey sausage out of casings and saute until the sausage is nicely browned, breaking it apart with a metal turner as it cooks. (You may need a bit more olive oil if you don't use a non-stick pan.) Add browned sausage to soup pot, then deglaze the pan with 2 cups of the chicken stock, scraping the browned sausage bits off the bottom of the pan, and add that to soup pot.
Add the rest of the chicken stock, diced tomatoes and juice, dried lentils, and bay leaves to the soup pot. Heat soup until it's barely boiling, then reduce heat and simmer on low for about 1 hour or until lentils are soft when you bite into one.
When lentils are soft, remove about 1/3 of soup mixture and use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to puree the mixture until it's very smooth, about 2 minutes. (Be very careful with the hot soup if you use a food processor or blender.)
Add pureed mixture back into the soup left in the pot, stir to combine, and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes more, until soup is as thick as you'd like it. (The longer you cook it the thicker it will get.) Taste soup, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley if desired.
This soup freezes well, so you might want to make a double batch and freeze some for lunches to take to work.
South Beach Suggestions:
Dried beans and lentils are a low-glycemic ingredient that's approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but for phase one the serving size is limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Since this soup has a generous amount of sausage and tomatoes in proportion to the lentils, you can have a larger serving than you could for some bean soups, but I would still limit the portion size to a small bowl for phase one.
More Lentils Soups I'd Also Love:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Inspired by Farmgirl's Lentil Soup from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Armenian Red Lentil Soup from Soup Chick
Syrian Vegetarian Red Lentil Soup from Herbivoracious
Algerian Lentil Soup from 64 Sq. Ft. Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)