- 12 oz. Italian sausage, cut into slices (I use turkey Italian sausage but you can use a traditional pork sausage, or even seasoned veggie crumbles)
- 1-1/2 cups dried lentils, picked over and rinsed briefly
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- one large russet potato, chopped (I leave on the peel for more nutrition)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
cheap eats - the comfort food edition
it's time to put on a big, comforting pot of hot lentil & sausage soup!
I literally do not eat soup in warmer weather; being someone who is fussy about seasonal foods, temperatures and the like, I can't just sit down to a hot steaming bowl of soup when it's 90 degrees outside. But in the fall, that all changes, I can't get enough warming, homey soup!
Lentil soup is one of my favorite comfort foods, especially when it's prepared with spinach for added flavor, vitamins and iron. Since lentils do not require soaking it's actually very quick to prepare and so full of fiber, high in protein, and low in fat. And, the price is right too; a bag of dried lentils costs around $1.50 and will make so many delicious main dishes in less time than it takes to go out and grab a big, fattening, artery-clogging burger and fries.
Begin by browning the sausage slices in a large soup pot; turkey sausage and veggie crumbles will yield little or no extra fat so you will probably have to add a bit of olive oil after browning in order to cook the onion and garlic.
Cook onion and garlic until wilted then add the lentils, broth, spinach and seasonings. Bring to a medium boil then turn down to a medium-low simmer. Partly cover and simmer for about 45 minutes; taste seasoning and correct if necessary (the amount of thyme and basil you use will depend on the seasonings in the sausage, and the amount of salt you need will be determined by the broth used).
Add the chopped potato and cook until potato is tender (another 20 to 30 minutes or so). Serve steaming hot with crusty French bread and butter. A sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese is a nice touch for the soup, or some crispy homemade garlic croutons.
Makes about six servings.