Sausage Lentil Soup Recipe

4.65 from 70 votes
1 hour 20 minutes
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Want the ultimate comforting soup for a chilly day?  This hearty Sausage Lentil Soup recipe with kale is perfect for wrapping yourself up in comfortable clothes and enjoying a good, hearty bowl of flavorful goodness! Don’t miss my Sausage Spinach Tortellini Soup for more flavorful goodness!

“I have often made similar recipes, but this is THE BEST!”

Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale in white Dutch oven, two spoons, two gray bowls and bread on gray napkin.

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 like 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; in a soup like this Sausage Lentil Soup with kale, they’re culinary magic!

Makes great leftovers! This hearty Sausage Lentil Soup recipe also freezes and reheats beautifully!

One bowl of Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale with gray napkin and lentils scattered about.

How to Make Sausage Lentil Soup:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Sausage Lentil Soup recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Italian Sausage: Use mild or spicy, depending upon your tolerance. You can also substitute turkey or chicken Italian sausage. If you do that, use chicken or vegetable broth instead of beef broth.
  • Brown Lentils: Brown lentils are the most common type of lentil widely available at most grocery stores near dried beans and rice. They cook reasonably quickly–20 to 25 minutes. You can substitute green lentils but allow an additional 20-25 minutes of cooking time. I don’t advise using red lentils because they break down too much after cooking.
  • Petite Diced Tomatoes: Petite diced tomatoes are about half the size of diced tomatoes. Although the sausage lentil soup will be more chunky, you can substitute diced for petite diced. Another option is to use kitchen shears to chop the diced tomatoes more finely, which you can do right in the can.
  • Kale: I used regular green curly kale, but any kale can be used. You can substitute other leafy greens such as spinach or Swiss chard.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • 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 for 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.
Cooked Italian sausage in white Dutch oven.
  • Reduce heat and saute chopped onion, carrots, and celery until tender.
Cooked onions, celery and carrot in white Dutch oven being stirred with white spoon.
  • Add garlic, the cooked sausage, beef broth, and canned diced tomatoes.
  • Add dried basil and oregano and let it simmer away.
Ingredients for Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale in white Dutch oven before being cooked.
  • Add the kale and simmer until it wilts.
  • Transfer the lentils back to the pot and heat through.
Finished Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale in white Dutch oven.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, and add crushed red pepper flakes for a kick if desired!
Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale in white Dutch oven with bread, two spoons and lentils scattered about.

That’s it!

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 1/4 cup–on a plain white paper plate.  A white surface makes debris easier to find.
  • Look them over for any odd things and discard them.
  • Then, gently fold the plate to guide them into your pot or into a bowl.
  • Repeat with the remaining lentils.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • I like to cook lentils separately 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, like lentils.  Cooking them separately will help prevent that.  Also, anything acidic, like the tomatoes, or salty, like the broth in this recipe, may cause your lentils to take longer.
  • 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 will 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 Lentil Soup!

Three bowls of Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale with bread on gray napkin.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use turkey or chicken Italian sausage instead of pork?

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 substitute ground meats such as beef, turkey, or chicken; however, the flavor will be much milder.

Do you need to soak lentils before cooking?

It’s optional. You don’t need to, but soaking them is fine if you want them to cook faster.

Can I make lentil soup in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can! If time allows, 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 to 8 hours.

Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale in gray bowl with spoon resting on the edge.

Serve this Sausage Lentil Kale Soup with:

More great lentil recipes you’ll love!

Check out all my soup recipes at  Soups and Stews Recipe Index.

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Sausage and Lentil Soup with Kale - Overhead shot of three bowls of the soup on teal background

Sausage Lentil Soup Recipe

4.65 from 70 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Want the ultimate comforting soup for a chilly day?  This hearty Sausage Lentil Soup 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!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Soups and Stews
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 475 kcal


  • 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.
MAKE AHEAD:  This Sausage Lentil Soup is great to make ahead.  Cool thoroughly and refrigerate.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Place the Sausage Lentil Soup in airtight containers in the number of servings desired.  Freeze for 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave.  Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Serving: 6 | Calories: 475kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 1491mg | Potassium: 939mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 6296IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 5mg

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.

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4.65 from 70 votes (59 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Love this soup. I pared it down to almost half because it requires at least a 5 quart Dutch oven and mine is only 3 1/2 quarts. Otherwise my only addition was Parmesan rind which I think added to the taste.
    Up next. Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs.

    1. Hi, Yvonne, Thanks so very much and so happy you enjoyed! Parmesan rinds definitely add to the flavor so good call!! Appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a family favorite. I make it when I’m expecting out-of-town family but don’t know their exact after 5 pm arrival time. It keeps beautifully and satisfies hungry travelers. I’ve adapted the recipe for the slow cooker with great results.

  3. 5 stars
    I made a double batch of this recipe with more of the vegetables added. My family loved it, and my father, who is a health nut just raved about it. I did let it simmer on low for a couple of hours. I made it the day before, so it was perfect. Just kept on warm until the family came over.

    1. 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!