Want the ultimate comforting soup for a chilly day? This hearty Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale is perfect for when all you want to do is wrap yourself up in some comfies and just enjoy a good, hearty bowl of flavorful goodness!
"I have made similar recipes many times, but this one is THE BEST!"
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
Spicy Italian sausage. Earthy lentils. Vegetables like onion, celery and carrots in a spicy, tomatoey broth with kale. Oh my!
Dried lentils are something I always have on hand. I love them! They make for an inexpensive meal or addition to a meal at any time of year. They also work in salads and you can use them in almost any way you would rice or quinoa.
Besides being versatile, they're good for you! They're loaded with plant protein and iron.
Sausage and lentils are a match made in culinary heaven and in a soup they're culinary magic!
This hearty Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale also freezes and reheats beautifully!
How to make Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale:
- Italian Sausage: Use mild or spicy depending upon your tolerance. Can also substitute turkey or chicken Italian sausage.
- Brown Lentils: Brown lentils are the most common type of lentil which is widely available at most grocery stores near the dried beans and rice. They cook fairly quickly--20 to 25 minutes. You can substitute green lentils but allow an additional 20-25 minutes cooking time. I don't advise using red lentils because they break down too much after being cooked.
- Kale: I used regular green curly kale, but any type of kale can be used. You can substitute other leafy greens such as spinach or Swiss chard.
- Start by inspecting the lentils. See my tips below on how to do that.
- Cook the lentils separately before adding them to this soup. Place the lentils in a saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Cook a half hour or until the lentils are tender.
- When the lentils are cooked, drain, rinse to cool then drain again. Set aside.
- Brown the sausage over medium-high heat then transfer to a plate.
- Reduce heat and saute chopped onion, carrots, celery until tender.
- Add garlic, the cooked sausage, beef broth and canned diced tomatoes.
- Add dried basil and oregano and let it simmer away.
- Add the kale and simmer until it wilts.
- Transfer the lentils back to the pot and heat through.
- Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and add crushed red pepper flakes for a kick if desired!
If you prefer, you can always substitute turkey sausage or chicken sausage. If you do that, substitute the beef broth with chicken stock or chicken broth.
How to inspect lentils for debris:
One thing you always want to do when working with lentils is to look them over well for stones, twigs and odd-looking shriveled ones because those can be stone-like.
What I do is:
- Place a small amount--about ¼ cup--on a plain white paper plate. A white surface makes debris easier to find.
- Look them over for any odd things and discard.
- Then, gently fold the plate to guide them into your pot or into a bowl.
- Repeat with the remaining lentils.
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- The reason I like to cook lentils separately is because all the starch they give off can make a soup murky....and who wants that? Soups tend to thicken upon standing, especially those with anything starchy in them like lentils. Cooking them separately will help prevent that. Also, anything acidic like the tomatoes or the salty broth in this recipe may cause your lentils to take longer to cook.
- A soup-making tip I've learned over my years as a personal chef is to let the soup "rest" approximately 15 to 20 before serving. It's going to be unbearably hot anyway, so let those flavors meld and get to know each other a little bit.
Stay well and enjoy this delicious, hearty Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, absolutely! You may wish to switch out the beef broth for chicken or vegetable broth if using turkey or chicken Italian sausage. You could also substitute ground meats such as beef, turkey or chicken but the flavor will be much milder.
It's optional. You don't need to but if you want them to cook faster, soaking them is fine.
Yes, you can! If you have time, I would soak the lentils first to remove some of their starch. Brown the sausage, combine all the ingredients then cook on low for 7-8 hours.
More great lentil recipes you'll love!
Check out all my soups at: Soups and Stews Recipe Index.
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Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale Recipe
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage links - casings removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large onion - chopped
- 2 large carrots - chopped
- 3 stalks celery - chopped
- 6 cloves garlic - chopped
- 6-8 cups beef broth - as needed
- 1 can (28-ounce) petite diced tomatoes - or 2 (14.5-ounce) cans, undrained
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 large bunch curly kale - stems removed and coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes - to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Inspect the lentils for any debris. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lentils and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot.
- Add the sausage and brown well until almost cooked through (will continue to cook in the soup.) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Return pot to medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
- Add the carrot and celery and continue to cook another 5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
- Add the garlic, stir briefly or until fragrant.
- Add the beef broth, tomatoes, dried herbs and sausage.
- Simmer uncovered 15 minutes. Add the lentils and kale and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Season to taste with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper.
- Turn off the heat and let stand 10-15 minutes.
- Substitute turkey sausage or chicken sausage for pork sausage. If you do that, substitute the beef broth with chicken stock or chicken broth.
- You can also use ground meats such as chicken, turkey or beef but the flavor will be milder.
- Substitute spinach or Swiss chard for the kale if desired.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
This sounds delicious. But, can I use canned lentils instead of cooking dry?
Hi, Aly, Thanks for your question. Yes, you absolutely can. Just drain and rinse them well and add them near the end. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!