This excellent lentil soup is filling, delicious and so versatile – more sausage or none, add greens, top it with cheese, pesto or fresh herbs. Adapted from Cooking Light.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium or 1/2 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1/4 to 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced (or substitute your favorite – see notes)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup dried green or brown lentils (red ones get mushy), rinsed and picked over
- 3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
- Salt, to taste (try 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, depending on saltiness of tomatoes and broth)
- Black pepper, to taste (try 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Parmesan rind (simmer with soup)
- A few handfuls spinach leaves (add at end of cooking)
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (add at end of cooking)
- Pesto, for serving, a spoonful per bowl
- Parmesan or romano cheese, for serving
- Chopped parsley, cilantro, or basil, for serving
- Heat oil over medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add onion, celery, carrot and bay leaves. Cook a few minutes to soften.
- Add broth, canned tomatoes, water, lentils and brown rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if soup gets too thick. Add sausage and simmer until meat is heated through.
- Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste (add a teaspoon of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar if your tomatoes taste flat). Serve with grated parmesan or romano cheese, a dollop of pesto, or a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
- If you are substituting an uncooked sausage, eg Italian sausage, remove meat from casing and cook it in the pot first, breaking the meat apart with a spoon or spatula. Add the chopped vegetables and proceed according to recipe.
- Use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version.
- Brown rice substitutions: white rice (add to soup 25 minutes after lentils) or barley. Or skip the grains and add potatoes or greens.
Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.